New California government workers will hear from union representatives almost as soon as they start their jobs under a state budget provision bolstering labor groups as they prepare for court decisions that may cut into their membership and revenue. Unions would gain mandatory access to new employee orientation sessions in schools, cities and in state government through one of two labor-friendly provisions that lawmakers inserted into the state budget last week without much debate. The second provision bans public agencies from releasing the personal email addresses of government workers, creating a new exemption in the California Public Records Act. Those email addresses are basic information that could be used in anti-union campaigns.
In a pair of affluent coastal California counties, the canary in the mineshaft has gotten splayed, spatchcocked and plated over a bed of unintended consequences, garnished with sprigs of locally sourced economic distortion and non-GMO, “What the heck were they thinking?” The result of one early experiment in a citywide $15 minimum wage is an ominous sign for the state’s poorer inland counties as the statewide wage floor creeps toward the mark. Consider San Francisco, an early adopter of the $15 wage. It’s now experiencing a restaurant die-off, minting jobless hash-slingers, cashiers, busboys, scullery engineers and line cooks as they get pink-slipped in increasing numbers. And the wage there hasn’t yet hit $15. As the East Bay Times reported in January, at least 60 restaurants around the Bay Area had closed since September alone.
Governor Tom Wolf signed a bill Monday, making it the ninth state to replace the pension with a "hybrid" retirement plan. It goes into effect in 2019.
The new plan combines elements of a traditional pension and a 401(k)-style account.
Overall, new workers will contribute more of their salary, work longer, and likely receive a smaller payout in retirement than under the current system, according to a report from the state's Independent Fiscal Office.
But Pennsylvania's pension system is currently one of the most underfunded in the country and is in need of reform. The bill had bipartisan support.
Although the share of industrial jobs has shrunken from 10.5% of all nonfarm employment in 2005 to 8.5% today, manufacturing continues to have an outsized influence on regional economies, as is spelled out in the latest paper from the Center for Opportunity Urbanism. This stems in large part from the industrial sector’s productivity gains since 2001 -- almost twice as much as the economy-wide average, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics -- and it has a far higher multiplier effect (the boost it provides to local job and wealth creation) than virtually any other sector. Manufacturing generates $1.40 in economic activity for every dollar put in, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, far greater than the multiplier generated by business services, information, retail trade or finance.
Economists have long been puzzling over why productivity has downshifted over the past decade, often blaming waning technological innovation for the pullback. New research, though, points to an overlooked culprit: the shortage of credit to many companies that followed the financial crisis. . . Tight credit conditions and balance-sheet vulnerabilities could be responsible for as much as one-third of the productivity slowdown in advanced economies following the 2008 global financial crisis, according to an International Monetary Fund research paper by Gee Hee Hong, Romain Duval and Yannick Timmer. This slowdown has swept across nations like Japan, the U.S. and France.