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Four Years Into Recovery, Low-Wage Work Dominates

May 1, 2014 Comments off

Four Years Into Recovery, Low-Wage Work Dominates (PDF)
Source: National Employment Law Project

York—Low-wage job creation was not simply a characteristic of the first phase of the recovery, but rather a pattern that has persisted deep into the nation’s rebound, a new report by the National Employment Law Project (NELP) shows.

Job growth remains concentrated in lower-wage industries, where employment now exceeds pre-recession levels by almost 1.9 million. Today, there are nearly 2 million fewer jobs in mid- and higher-wage industries than there were before the recession hit. The bottom-heavy growth in industries such as administrative and support services, food services, and retail, which pay median wages below $13 an hour, means that workers do not have the same opportunities they had prior to the recession.

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Super-Sizing Public Costs: How Low Wages at Top Fast-Food Chains Leave Taxpayers Footing the Bill

October 17, 2013 Comments off

Super-Sizing Public Costs: How Low Wages at Top Fast-Food Chains Leave Taxpayers Footing the Bill (PDF)
Source: National Employment Law Project
From press release (PDF):

The low-wage business model of the 10 largest fast-food chains in the U.S. costs taxpayers an estimated $3.8 billion per year, according to a new report by the National Employment Law Project. Industry leader McDonald’s, which alone employs an estimated 707,850 restaurant workers in the U.S., costs taxpayers the most – an estimated $1.2 billion per year, or twice that of any other company.

According to the report, taxpayer costs are driven by the business model of low wages, no benefits, and limited hours at the 10 largest fast-food companies, forcing employees to rely on public assistance in order to afford food, healthcare, and other basic necessities. An estimated 2.2 million restaurant workers are employed at the 10 largest fast-food companies, which include McDonald’s, Yum! Brands (owner of Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, and KFC), Subway, Burger King, Wendy’s, Dunkin’ Donuts, Dairy Queen, Little Caesars, Sonic, and Domino’s.

Flawed FBI Records Threaten Work Opportunities For Hundreds of Thousands of Job Seekers

July 30, 2013 Comments off

Flawed FBI Records Threaten Work Opportunities For Hundreds of Thousands of Job Seekers (PDF)
Source: National Employment Law Project

A record 16.9 million FBI criminal background checks were run for employment or licensing purposes in 2012 , a six-fold increase since 9/11 . But serious flaws in the FBI records are jeopardizing work opportunities for hundreds of thousands of job seekers every year, according to a new report from the National Employment Law Project.

The NELP report, entitled, “ Wanted: Accurate FBI Background Checks for Employment ,” estimates that 1.8 million workers a year are subject to FBI background checks that contain faulty or incomplete information, and 600,000 of those workers may be prejudiced in their job search because the positive outcome of their case is not reflected in the FBI record.

The report spotlights the FBI ’s failure to ensure that its records are accurate and complete. Arrests are recorded but the final disposition of cases often is not — a critical defect, given that one-third of felony arrests are ultimately dismissed and charges are frequently reduced. Much of the toll falls on workers of color, who are disproportionately represented in the criminal justice syste m and suffer the consequences of faulty FBI records in terms of job loss, hiring barriers, and financial hardship.

New Report: The Low-Wage Recovery and Growing Inequality

August 31, 2012 Comments off

New Report: The Low-Wage Recovery and Growing Inequality

Source: National Employment Law Project

This report updates NELP’s previous analyses of job loss and job growth trends during and after the Great Recession.

We find that during the recession (2008 Q1 to 2010 Q1), employment losses occurred throughout the economy, but were concentrated in mid-wage

occupations. By contrast, during the recovery (2010 Q1 to 2012 Q1), employment gains have been concentrated in lower-wage occupations, which

grew 2.7 times as fast as mid-wage and higher-wage occupations. Specifically:

  • Lower-wage occupations constituted 21 percent of recession losses, but 58 percent of recovery growth.
  • Mid-wage occupations constituted 60 percent of recession losses, but only 22 percent of recovery growth.
  • Higher-wage occupations constituted 19 percent of recession job losses, and 20 percent of recovery growth.

Moreover, the unbalanced recession and recovery have meant that the long-term rise in inequality in the U.S. continues. The good jobs deficit is

now deeper than it was at the start of the century:

  • Since the first quarter of 2001, employment has grown by 8.7 percent in lower-wage occupations and by 6.6 percent in higher-wage occupations.
  • By contrast, employment in mid-wage occupations has fallen by 7.3 percent.

Report: States Made Unprecedented Cuts to Unemployment Insurance in 2011

August 8, 2011 Comments off

Report: States Made Unprecedented Cuts to Unemployment Insurance in 2011 (PDF)
Source: National Employment Law Project

State lawmakers in 10 states used the 2011 session to push through a range of unprecedented cuts and new restrictions in their unemployment insurance programs, according to an analysis of state legislation released today by the National Employment Law Project. Some of the most severe cuts occurred in states hit hardest by unemployment and the recession.

Most states will require federal legislation to restore the solvency of their unemployment insurance programs, avoid sudden tax hikes on employers, and maintain the unemployment insurance programs for out-of-work Americans. President Obama included a proposal in his FY 2012 budget, and Senator Durbin introduced the Unemployment Insurance Solvency Act of 2011 (S.386) earlier this year. NELP issued a proposal in February.

NELP’s new analysis shows that in 2011, six states cut the maximum number of weeks that jobless workers can receive unemployment insurance to less than 26 weeks—a threshold that had served as a standard for all 50 states for more than half a century, until this year. Michigan, Missouri, and South Carolina cut their available weeks down to 20; Arkansas and Illinois cut down to 25; and Florida cut to between 12 and 23 weeks, depending on the state’s unemployment rate. Double-digit unemployment in Michigan, South Carolina, and Florida did not discourage lawmakers there from making the cuts.

Other states slashed weekly benefit amounts or instituted onerous eligibility requirements meant to discourage workers from applying for benefits. Indiana changed the formula it uses to calculate weekly benefit amounts so that the average unemployment check will drop from $283 to $220 a week. Starting in August, claimants in Florida must take a 45-question online skills-assessment before they can receive a first payment, and then must provide documentation that they have contacted at least five employers for each week they file for benefits.

+ Full Report

Discrimination Persists for Unemployed Job Seekers, New Report Finds

July 22, 2011 Comments off

Discrimination Persists for Unemployed Job Seekers, New Report Finds (PDF)
Source: National Employment Law Project

Unemployed workers continue to be excluded from consideration for job openings, a new report from the National Employment Law Project shows. The report coincides with the introduction in the U.S. House of Representatives of the Fair Employment Opportunity Act of 2011, a measure sponsored by Representatives Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut and Henry Johnson, Jr. of Georgia to create a level playing field for unemployed job seekers by prohibiting employers and employment agencies from screening out or excluding job applicants solely because they are unemployed.

“Unemployed job seekers continue to be excluded from work opportunities, and this disturbing and unfair practice appears to be more pervasive than previously thought,” said Christine Owens, executive director of the National Employment Law Project, who testified on the trend before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) earlier this year.

As documented in NELP’s report, “Hiring Discrimination against the Unemployed: Federal Bill Outlaws Excluding the Unemployed from Job Opportunities, as Discriminatory Ads Persist,” employers and staffing firms continue to expressly deny job opportunities to those workers hardest hit by the economic downturn, despite increased scrutiny and strong public opposition to the practice. An informal NELP survey of a number of heavily-trafficked job posting websites, including CareerBuilder.com and Indeed.com, found numerous job ads conspicuously stating that job seekers “must be currently employed.”

+ Full Report (PDF)

Lower-Wage Industries Lead First 12 Months of Job Growth

February 23, 2011 Comments off

Lower-Wage Industries Lead First 12 Months of Job Growth (PDF)
Source: National Employment Law Project

More than one million private-sector jobs were added to the U.S. economy during the last 12 months, but they are disproportionately concentrated in mid- and lower-wage industries, a new report from the National Employment Law Project finds.

The bottom-heavy growth in industries like temporary employment services, restaurants, retail, and nursing and residential care facilities, which pay median wages below $13 an hour, suggests that workers are not only encountering fewer job opportunities—they may also be seeing fewer well-paying jobs than before the recession.

+ Full Report (PDF)

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