Opinion: What Will Finally Lift Wages for Middle Earners

The civilian labor-force-participation rate peaked in the 1990s, and has been falling steadily ever since. There are many factors that have been driving this lower, including demographics. The gender differential is noteworthy: For men, labor-force participation began moving steadily lower right after World War II around 1948; for women, it peaks around 1999, started drifting […]

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Construction Is Holding Back the Economy

But there’s a big problem with the U.S. construction industry — it costs way too much to build things. Productivity in construction has stagnated throughout much of the world. But in the U.S. it has done particularly poorly. In terms of value added per worker, construction-industry productivity has fallen by about a third since 1970. […]

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Opinion: The Massachusetts Tax-Cut Miracle

From 1977 through 2012 (the most recent year for which the Tax Foundation, a business-friendly think tank, has calculated tax-burden data), the state and local tax burden faced by Massachusetts residents fell from 12.3 percent of income to 10.3 percent. That may not sound like much of a decline, but over that period only three states — Alaska, North Dakota and South Dakota — saw bigger decreases. Massachusetts, which had ranked among the top three or four states for tax burden in the late 1970s and early 1980s, has since 2000 oscillated around 12th place. . . . Massachusetts hasn’t just created more jobs, it has apparently created better jobs, with per capita personal income rising from below that of the rest of the Northeast in 1980 to 11.6 percent higher in 2016.

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How Trump Can Make Apprenticeships a Hit

YouthForce NOLA, a partnership of political, business and education leaders in New Orleans, places 1,200 high-school seniors from local public high schools in paid internships in fields such as software development and advanced manufacturing. Businesses work with school administrators to ensure students receive practical, skills-based classroom instruction. The goal is to help students obtain professional credentials for high-wage jobs that don’t require bachelor’s degrees. (YouthForce NOLA was the recipient of $5 million in grants from Bloomberg Philanthropies.)

Another successful model is the state-run Apprenticeship Carolina program in South Carolina, which serves as an intermediary between businesses, workers and educational institutions. It matches employers with the state’s technical colleges, who tailor classes to meet the companies’ needs, and handles most of the paperwork (companies have to register their apprenticeship programs with the federal and state governments). Employers are responsible for paying apprentices’ wages and mentoring them on the job. Since 2007, more than 25,000 South Carolina workers have completed apprenticeships; the number of companies participating in the program has increased from 90 to 880.

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Opinion: States Where the Economy Isn’t Struggling to Recover

The U.S. economy isn’t growing very fast these days. Some state economies are, though! The fourth-quarter state gross domestic product data, out Thursday from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, has Texas, Utah, Florida and Washington leading the way, all with annualized real GDP growth of more than 3 percent in the fourth quarter. Also growing at faster than 2.5 percent: the District of Columbia, California, Idaho and Oregon.

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Silicon Valley Should Worry About Housing, Not Visas

Silicon Valley tech companies have good reason to be concerned about President Donald Trump’s plans to review the H-1B visa program, which has been crucial in providing them access to foreign labor. It wouldn’t be such a big deal, though, if they didn’t put their offices in such expensive places.

The valley’s biggest employers each host thousands of workers under the H-1B program, designed to help employers hire skilled overseas labor when qualified Americans are not available. At Facebook Inc. alone, more than 15 percent of employees hold such visas. Yet the tech industry doesn’t have a skills shortage so much as a shortage of employees who can afford to live within commuting distance of their jobs. . . . no matter how high employee wages go, the limited housing supply leaves the region unaffordable for a large number of workers.

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The U.S. Job Recovery Is a Global Laggard

It’s often said that the U.S. has recovered more strongly from the last recession than most other developed nations. Data on jobs, though, suggest that’s not quite true. . . As of June, the G-7 as a whole had recovered almost completely, while the U.S. was only 60 percent back from its lowest point . . .

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Editorial: Eric Schneiderman Vs. Exxon Mobil

Regulating emissions is a job for politicians — and they’re failing. That’s frustrating, and in the absence of effective government action, there’s an added moral obligation on companies to act. Even so, engaging in scientific research and public advocacy shouldn’t be crimes in a free country. Using the criminal law to shame and encumber companies that do so is a dangerous arrogation of power.

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