Saturday, December 31, 2016

Labor Line

September 2016___________________________________

Labor line has job news and commentary with a one stop short cut for America's job markets and job related data including the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

This month's job and employment summary data are below. This month's inflation data is below.

The Establishment Job Report and Establishment Job Details for data released September 2, 2016.

American Job Market The Chronicle

Current Job and Employment Data

Jobs
Total Non-Farm Establishment Jobs up 151,000 to 144,598,000
Total Private Jobs up 126,000 to 122,385,000
Total Government Employment up 25,000 to 22,213,000

Employment Note
Civilian Non-Institutional Population up 223,000 to 253,620,000
Civilian Labor Force up 407,000 to 159,287,000
Employed down 420,000 to 151,517,000
Employed Men up 48,000 to 80,548,000
Employed Women up 458,000 to 70,969,000
Unemployed down 13,000 to 7,770,000
Not in the Labor Force down 184,000 to 94,333,000

Unemployment Rate stayed the same at 4.9% or 7,770/159,287
Labor Force Participation Rate was up .1% to 62.8%, or 159,287/253,620

Prices and inflation measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for all Urban Consumers was up .1 percent for 2015.

The September CPI report for the 12 months ending with August, shows the

CPI for All Items was up 1.1%
CPI for Food and Beverages was up .1%
CPI for Housing was up 2.6%
CPI for Apparel was up .3%
CPI for Transportation including gasoline was down 4.0%
CPI for Medical Care was up 4.9%
CPI for Recreation was up .9%
CPI for Education was up 2.7%
CPI for Communication was down .9%

This Month's Establishment Jobs Press Report

NOT SO GOOD

The Bureau of Labor Statistics published its September report for jobs in August. The labor force increased by a modest 176 thousand in August after last month's much bigger increase, except this month 79 thousand remained unemployed, increasing the unemployment count to 7.849 million. Again this month the employment increased by enough, 97 thousand, to offset the increase in the unemployed to keep the unemployment rate steady at 4.9 percent for August. The labor force participation rate also held steady at 62.8 percent.

The seasonally adjusted total of establishment employment was up 151 thousand for August. The increase was a total of 126 thousand more private sector jobs combined as 150 thousand more private sector service jobs, 24 thousand fewer goods production jobs, and an increase of 25 thousand government service jobs.

All three goods production sectors lost jobs in a total loss of 24 thousand jobs, a poor performance. Natural resources jobs were off 7 thousand, another loss in a string of 23 months of continuous decline. The job losses in natural resources came primarily in support activities for mining, down 5.2 thousand jobs. Construction dropped 6 thousand jobs in a reversal after last month's increase. Non-residential building construction and heavy and engineering construction were the big losers. Heavy and civil engineering construction lost 6.5 thousand jobs while residential building construction gains offset non-residential construction losses for a net loss of 3.1 thousand jobs.

Manufacturing lost 14 thousand jobs with durable goods jobs down 16 thousand, which offset a gain of 2 thousand jobs in non-durable goods manufacturing. Transportation equipment did poorly, off 6.4 thousand jobs after last month's increase; motor vehicles were off 5.6 thousand jobs. No sector had an increase in durable goods; only food processing did well in non-durable manufacturing with 4.5 thousand new jobs.

Government service employment picked up 25 thousand jobs with 24 thousand more jobs in local government, but no new jobs in state government and a thousand new jobs at the federal level. The Federal jobs increase was a 2.8 thousand increase in Postal Services jobs, now at 612.5 thousand, offset by losses in other federal jobs. Local government, excluding, education had 11.7 thousand more jobs.

The rest of government job gains were in education. Local public schools added a seasonally adjusted 11.7 thousand jobs with the state adding another 3 hundred. Private education jobs were up with 2.3 thousand new jobs brining total employment for public and private education to 13.878 million jobs, up 14.3 thousand for August.

Health care had the biggest increase of jobs among private service with 36 thousand new jobs for August, less than last month. Three sub-sectors had gains. Ambulatory care added 12.9 thousand jobs; hospital services were up again with 10.7 thousand new jobs, and social services were up 21.7 thousand jobs, with the individual and family services sub-sector up 16.6 thousand jobs, an unusually large increase; nursing and residential care lost 9.2 thousand jobs;. The August growth rate in health care employment was 2.26 percent, below the long-term trend of 2.46 percent, even though health care had the biggest job gains for August.

Trade, transportation and utilities services added 34 thousand jobs for August, around the average gain for the last year and a half and a little better than last month. Wholesale trade had 3.9 thousand of the new jobs while retail trade added 15.1 thousand. Transportation services added 14.9 thousand jobs with most of the new jobs in courier and messenger services and warehousing and storage services; couriers and messengers added 4.0 thousand jobs; warehousing and storage added 4.3 thousand jobs. Utilities were off 8 hundred jobs.

Leisure and hospitality added 29 thousand jobs for August. Arts, entertainment and recreation picked up a net of only 700 jobs. Amusements, gambling and recreation had 5.6 thousand new jobs, but it was only enough to offset other arts and entertainment losses. Food services jobs at restaurants added 34 thousand jobs, more than the net total for leisure and hospitality, but accommodations dropped 5.3 thousand jobs to lessen the net gain.

Professional and business services had 22 thousand more jobs, a small gain and much less than last month. The professional and technical service sub sector picked up 20.1 thousand jobs, management of companies added 1.4 thousand jobs with administration and support services up a net of 3 hundred jobs.

Among professional and technical services only management and technical consulting services with 7.3 thousand new jobs and computer systems design and related services with 6.1 thousand new jobs had significant job gains. Among administrative and support services temporary help services lost 11.9 thousand jobs. Small gains elsewhere were only enough for a net gain of 300 jobs in administrative and support services, a sector that usually adds jobs.

Information services had 4 thousand new jobs for August. Publishing added 2.8 thousand jobs along with small gains in broadcasting and other information services, but losses in telecommunications limited the net gain to 4 thousand jobs. Financial activities had a better than normal month with 15 thousand new jobs as part of continuing monthly gains. Finance and insurance added 14.4 thousand of the jobs with securities and investments and insurance leading the way. Real estate added 5.4 thousand new jobs offset by losses of 4.7 thousand jobs in rental and leasing services.

The category, other services, was up 7.1 thousand jobs for August where repair and maintenance, services dropped 3.2 thousand jobs, but personal and laundry service added 3.6 thousand gains and non-profit associations another 6.7 thousand for a net increase of 7.1 thousand.

The August establishment employment did not repeat the recent months of above average gain. Instead jobs floundered with a gain of only 151 thousand compared to 255 thousand for last month. Goods production dragged down modest service production gains. Service sector gains came in the same sectors as last month only generally smaller. The annual growth rate for August was 1.25 percent compared to 1.72 percent growth for the 12 months just ending. I hear upbeat newscasters talking about a good job market, but I don't believe it and nothing in the August data suggests they're right and I'm wrong.

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August Details

Non Farm Total +151
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported Non-Farm employment for establishments increased from July by 151 thousand jobs for a(n) August total of 144.598 million. (Note 1 below) An increase of 151 thousand each month for the next 12 months represents an annual growth rate of 1.25%. The annual growth rate from a year ago beginning August 2015 was +1.72%; the average annual growth rate from 5 years ago beginning August 2011 was +1.82%; from 15 years ago beginning August 2001 it was .61%. America needs growth around 1.5 percent a year to keep itself employed.

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Sector breakdown for 12 Sectors in 000's of jobs

1. Natural Resources -4
Natural Resources jobs including logging and mining were down 4 thousand from July at 679 thousand jobs in August. A decrease of 4 thousand jobs each month for the next 12 months would be an annual growth rate of -7.03 percent. Natural resource jobs are down 124 thousand for the 12 months just ended. Jobs in the 1990's totaled around 770 thousand. Job growth here will be small compared to America's job needs. This is the smallest of 12 major sectors of the economy with .5 percent of establishment jobs.

2. Construction -6
Construction jobs were down 6 thousand from July with 6.640 million jobs in August. A decrease of 6 thousand jobs each month for the next 12 months would be an annual growth rate of -1.08 percent. Construction jobs are up 199 thousand for the 12 months just ended. The growth rate for the last 5 years is +3.64%. Construction jobs rank 9th among the 12 sectors with 4.6 percent of non-farm employment.

3. Manufacturing -14
Manufacturing jobs were down 14 thousand from July with 12.305 million jobs in August. A decrease of 14 thousand jobs each month for the next 12 months would be an annual growth rate of - percent. Manufacturing jobs were down for the last 12 months by 37 thousand. The growth rate for the last 5 years is -1.37%; for the last 15 years by
-1.84%. In 1994, manufacturing ranked 2nd but now ranks 6th among 12 major sectors in the economy with 8.5 percent of establishment jobs.

4. Trade, Transportation & Utility +34
Trade, both wholesale and retail, transportation and utility employment was up 34 thousand from July at 27,373 million jobs in August. An increase of 34 thousand each month for the next 12 months would be an annual growth rate of + 1.49 percent. Jobs are up by 395 thousand for the last 12 months. Growth rates for the last 5 years are +1.72 percent. Jobs in these sectors rank first as the biggest sectors with combined employment of 18.9 percent of total establishment employment.

5. Information Services +4
Information Services employment was up 4 thousand from July at 2.782 million jobs in August. An increase of 4 thousand each month for the next 12 months would be an annual growth rate of + 1.73 percent. (Note 2 below) Jobs are up by 29 thousand for the last 12 months. Monthly employment in information services gyrates month to month and has been doing so for more than a decade. Information jobs reached 3.7 million at the end of 2000, but started dropping, reaching 3 million by 2004, but now creeps up to the 2.8 million range. Information Services is a small sector ranking 11th of 12 with 1.9 percent of establishment jobs.

6. Financial Activities +15
Financial Activities jobs were up 15 thousand from July at 8.317 million in August. An increase of 15 thousand each month for the next 12 months would be an annual growth rate of + 2.17 percent. Jobs are up 167 thousand for the last 12 months. (Note 3 below)This sector also includes real estate as well as real estate lending. Financial Services has been growing slowly with many months of negative growth. The long term growth rates are now at a 5 year growth rate of +1.56 percent, and a 15 year growth rate of +.33 percent. Financial activities rank 8 of 12 with 5.8 percent of establishment jobs.

7. Business & Professional Services +22
Business and Professional Service jobs went up 22 thousand from July to 20.284 million in August. An increase of 22 thousand each month for the next 12 months would be an annual growth rate of +1.30 percent. Jobs are up 542 thousand for the last 12 months. Note 4 The annual growth rate for the last 5 years was 3.14 percent. It ranks as 2nd among the 12 sectors now. It was third in May 1993, when manufacturing was bigger and second rank now with 14.0 percent of establishment employment.

8. Education including public and private +14
Education jobs went up 14 thousand jobs from July at 13.860 million in August. These include public and private education. An increase of 14 thousand jobs each month for the next 12 months would be an annual growth rate of +1.24 percent. Jobs are up 103 thousand for the last 12 months. (note 5) The 15 year growth rate equals +.88 percent, slower than the national average. Education ranks 4th among 12 sectors with 9.6 percent of establishment jobs.

9. Health Care +36
Health care jobs were up 36 thousand from July to 19.229 million in August. An increase of 36 thousand each month for the next 12 months would be an annual growth rate of +2.26 percent. Jobs are up 577 thousand for the last 12 months. (note 6) The current month was below long term trends and less than growth from a year ago when the annual growth rate was +2.98 percent. Health care has been growing at +2.45 percent annual rate for the last 15 years, a rate greater than the national rate. Health care ranks 3rd of 12 with 13.3 percent of establishment jobs.

10. Leisure and hospitality +29
Leisure and hospitality jobs went up 29 thousand from July to 15.576 million in August. An increase of 29 thousand each month for the next 12 months would be an annual growth rate of +2.24 percent. Jobs are up 418 thousand for the last 12 months. (note 7) The 5 year growth rate is 3.06%. More than 80 percent of leisure and hospitality are accommodations and restaurants assuring that most of the new jobs are in restaurants. Leisure and hospitality ranks 4th of 12 with 10.8 percent of establishment jobs. It moved up from 7th in the 1990's to 5th in the last few years.

11. Other +7
Other Service jobs, which include repair, maintenance, personal services and non-profit organizations went up 7 thousand from July to 5.698 million jobs in August. An increase of 7 thousand each month for the next 12 months would be an annual growth rate of +1.48 percent. Jobs are up 76 thousand for the last 12 months. (note 8) Other services had +1.17 percent growth for the last 5 years. These sectors rank 10th of 12 with 3.9 percent of total non-farm establishment jobs.

12. Government, excluding education +13
Government service employment was up 13 thousand from July to 11.878 million jobs in August. An increase of 13 thousand each month for the next 12 months would be an annual growth rate of +1.27 percent. Jobs are up 68 thousand for the last 12 months. (note 9) Government jobs excluding education tend to increase slowly but surely with a 15 year growth rate of +.16 percent. Government, excluding education, ranks 7th of 12 with 8.2 percent of total non-farm establishment jobs.

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Sector Notes___________________________

(1) The total cited above is non-farm establishment employment that counts jobs and not people. If one person has two jobs then two jobs are counted. It excludes agricultural employment and the self employed. Out of a total of people employed agricultural employment typically has about 1.5 percent, the self employed about 6.8 percent, the rest make up wage and salary employment. Jobs and people employed are close to the same, but not identical numbers because jobs are not the same as people employed: some hold two jobs. Remember all these totals are jobs. back

(2) Information Services is part of the new North American Industry Classification System(NAICS). It includes firms or establishments in publishing, motion picture & sound recording, broadcasting, Internet publishing and broadcasting, telecommunications, ISPs, web search portals, data processing, libraries, archives and a few others.back

(3) Financial Activities includes deposit and non-deposit credit firms, most of which are still known as banks, savings and loan and credit unions, but also real estate firms and general and commercial rental and leasing.back

(4) Business and Professional services includes the professional areas such as legal services, architecture, engineering, computing, advertising and supporting services including office services, facilities support, services to buildings, security services, employment agencies and so on.back

(5) Education includes private and public education. Therefore education job totals include public schools and colleges as well as private schools and colleges. back

(6) Health care includes ambulatory care, private hospitals, nursing and residential care, and social services including child care. back

(7) Leisure and hospitality has establishment with arts, entertainment and recreation which has performing arts, spectator sports, gambling, fitness centers and others, which are the leisure part. The hospitality part has accommodations, motels, hotels, RV parks, and full service and fast food restaurants. back

(8) Other is a smorgasbord of repair and maintenance services, especially car repair, personal services and non-profit services of organizations like foundations, social advocacy and civic groups, and business, professional, labor unions, political groups and political parties. back

(9) Government job totals include federal, state, and local government administrative work but without education jobs. back

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Notes

Jobs are not the same as employment because jobs are counted once but one person could have two jobs adding one to employment but two to jobs. Also the employment numbers include agricultural workers, the self employed, unpaid family workers, household workers and those on unpaid leave. Jobs are establishment jobs and non-other. back

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Monday, September 26, 2016

Donald Trump on Coal Mining Jobs

Donald Trump on Coal Mining Jobs

Lately I heard Candidate Trump blaming the Democrats for the loss of jobs in coal mining. Since he does not believe in global warming it follows that enforcement of clean air regulations for coal fired electric plants makes people like Hillary Clinton responsible for these job losses.

Maybe not.

Back in the early 1920’s just under 800,000 worked as coal miners in the coal industry. It was a time when inter city transportation came entirely from the use coal burning, steam locomotives. It was a time when nearly everyone used coal for home heating. It was a time when the steel industry needed mountains of coal. It was early in the mechanizing use of high productivity machinery.

It was also the beginning of the mordant and mournful decline in coal mining jobs. By 1990 the coal industry employed 136 thousand in surface and underground mining of bituminous coal and anthracite coal. Steam locomotives are gone; few heat their homes with coal; the steel industry uses scrap in electric furnaces. By the end of 2000 jobs were down to 71.6 thousand; by the end of 2010 they recovered to 84.3 thousand; by the end of 2015 the coal industry was down to 60.7 thousand jobs; by August 2016 jobs were 52.4 thousand.

Just over 64 percent of the jobs in coal mining are in construction, extraction and material moving occupations and five of these occupations are partly to mostly specialized to the coal industry. These five are continuous mining machine operators, mine cutting and channeling machine operators, roof bolters, loading machine operators in underground mining and shuttle car operators.

All employed in these occupations operate highly productive mining machinery; they do not use a pick and shovel. For example, 90 percent of shuttle car operators work in the coal industry. The median wage reported for 2015 was $55,320 and that wage has increased faster than inflation since 2008, right after the Obama administration took office. Given the specialized nature of the work it would be next to impossible for laid off shuttle car operators to find a similar job in another industry and similarly for the other four occupations mentioned above.

Other occupations in the coal industry in management, finance, construction, maintenance and repair have employment in many industries and those losing these jobs in the coal industry can seek employment in many other industries just like the rest of us. Since the end of 2008 the five specialized coal mining occupations have lost an average of 859 jobs a year through 2015.

It is worth mentioning that employment in oil and gas extraction and support activities for oil and gas extraction have increased in the years of the Obama presidency from 2008 to 2015 by 27.1 percent, or an additional 102.2 thousand jobs, more than the loss of coal industry jobs. Even if we assume the last eight years of decline in coal demand results solely from clean air regulations applied to coal fired power plants, there is no need to weigh clean air against the loss of jobs in this instance. It doesn’t matter what Trump says or does; coal employment will not be going up, no matter how dirty the air.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Jobs as Chefs

Chefs and Head Cooks

Standard Occupational Classification #35-1011 Chefs and Head Cooks

SOC Definition - Direct the preparation, seasoning, and cooking of salads, soups, fish, meats, vegetables, desserts, or other foods. May plan and price menu items, order supplies, and keep records and accounts. May participate in cooking. Also known as: Executive Chef; Pastry Chef; Sous Chef

Chefs and head cooks are classified as food preparation and serving related occupations with the majority working in the accommodations and food services industry. For chefs and head cooks 45.1 percent work in full service restaurants, another 7 percent at limited service eating places like cafeterias, grills and buffets, snack and non-alcoholic beverage bars, 10.6 percent in accommodations including traveler accommodations, casino hotels, RV parks and recreational camps, and 6.0 in the amusement, gambling and recreation industry. Education employs 1.5 percent and hospitals about .9 percent and private households 4.9 percent as self-employed chefs.

National employment as chefs and head cooks was 129,370 in 2015. Jobs are up since 2000 when jobs were 122,860. The annual average job increase equals 434 per year since 2000 at a growth rate of .34 percent. The Bureau of Labor Statistics is forecasting job growth for chefs and head cooks of 1,130 per year through 2024 at a growth rate of .85 percent a year.

Job openings make a better measure of new hiring than job growth. Job openings are job growth and the number of net replacements. Net replacements are people who permanently leave an occupation for another occupation or retirement and must be replaced before there can be job growth. Job openings for chefs and head cooks are forecast to be 3,000 a year through 2024.

The recently updated BLS Education and Training Classification assignments list high school diploma or equivalent skills as necessary for entry into jobs as chefs and head cooks. However, percentages from survey data are published for chefs and head cooks showing an educational distribution where 29.2 percent have a high school degree, 17.6 percent have less than a high school degree, 22.5 percent some college, but no degree, 16.9 percent have an associates degree, 12.3 percent have BA degrees, and 1.6 percent have an advanced degree. Five years of experience in a related occupation is considered necessary to a chef or head cook but on-the-job training should not be necessary for new hires.

The National Center for Education Statistics reports degree data for America’s colleges and universities. There were 1,138 BA degrees granted in personal and culinary arts in 7 programs in June 2012, the last year of complete degree data. These include baking and pastry arts-baker-pastry chef , culinary arts-chef training, restaurant, culinary, and catering management, and meat cutting-meat cutter. Degrees are up from 2006 when 736 finished similar degrees.

The basic wage data from the BLS occupational employment survey includes a wage distribution. Averages are not used much in wage data. A few high wages pull up the average and make it unrepresentative. Instead a distribution range of wages is published with the 10th, 25th, median, 75th, and 90th percentiles of wages. A 10th percentile wage means 10 percent working in this job have wages equal to or less than the 10th percentile wage and so on. Annual wages are converted to hourly wages by dividing annual wages by 2080

The entry wage for the national market in the 10th percentile for chefs and head cooks is reported as $23,150 in 2015. The 25th percentile wage equals $30,840. The median wage is $41,500, the 75th percentile wage equals $57,110 and the 90th percentile wage is $74,170.

The wages of chefs and head cooks have kept up with inflation for the last decade. For example, to have the buying power of the 2006 median wage of $34,670 in 2015, the chefs and head cooks wage would need to be $40,408.09. In stead it was $41,500, a 2.70 percent increase in the real wage for those 9 years.

Some employers pay a salary to their chef employees in lieu of an hourly wage in order to avoid paying overtime at time and a half. For an employer to pay a salary and be exempt from overtime pay the employee must be paid at least $23,660 a year, or $455 a week, and meet the definition of their work defined in the regulations of the Fair Labor Standards Act as amended. The regulations have always included managerial, professional and educational occupations.

When the Fair Labor Standards Act regulations were revised in 2004 by the Bush administration a new list of specific occupations was included as exempt. Chef was on the list. I have given the regulations that define the work of a chef that an employer needs to meet to pay a salary and be exempt from overtime pay if they pay at least $23,660 a year.

Overtime exemption defined for Chefs---Chefs, such as executive chefs and sous chefs, who have attained a four-year specialized academic degree in a culinary arts program, generally meet the duties requirements for the learned professional exemption. The learned professional exemption is not available to cooks who perform predominantly routine mental, manual, mechanical or physical work.

It is common for employers to title and define someone’s employment to fit the overtime exemption definitions, but it can be exploitive, sometimes bluntly so. If a salary is set close to the 10th percentile wage of $23,150 or less it is a real abuse, but less so the closer pay gets to the median of $41,500.

The Obama Administration has raised minimum salary required for exemption from overtime from $23,660 to $47,467. If a chef’s salary is below $47,467 then his employer will have to pay time and half for overtime beginning December 1, 2016 to be in compliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act. The only way to avoid paying overtime by paying a salary will be to pay an annual salary more than $47,467.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Jobs in Public Relations

Public Relations Managers and Public Relations Specialists

Standard Occupational Classification #11-2031 Public Relations Managers
Standard Occupational Classification #27-3031 Public Relations Specialists

SOC Definition for Public Relations Managers #11-2031 -- Plan and direct public relations programs designed to create and maintain a favorable public image for employer or client; or if engaged in fundraising, plan and direct activities to solicit and maintain funds for special projects and nonprofit organizations. Also known as: Fundraising Director, Public Information Director, Publicity Director

SOC Definition for Public Relations Specialists #27-3031 – Engage in promoting or creating good will for individuals, groups, or organizations by writing or selecting favorable publicity material and releasing it through various communications media. May prepare and arrange displays, and make speeches. Also known as Account Executive, Communications Director, Communications Specialist, Corporate Communications Specialist, Media Relations Specialist, Public Affairs Specialist, Public Information Officer, Public Information Specialist, Public Relations Coordinator or Specialist

Respond to requests for information from the media. Write press releases or other media communications to promote clients and an organization's accomplishments, agenda, or environmental responsibility. Establish or maintain cooperative relationships with representatives of community, consumer, employee, or interest groups. Coach client representatives in effective communication with the public or with employees. Update and maintain content posted on the Web. Prepare or edit organizational publications, such as employee newsletters or stockholders' reports, for internal or external audiences. Coordinate public responses to management incidents or conflicts.


Public Relations Managers are classified as managerial occupations with 24.2 percent working in the non-profit Religious, Grantmaking, Civic, Professional, and Similar Organizations, 16.6 percent working in Junior Colleges, Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools, 8.2 percent working in Advertising, Public Relations, and Related Services, 9.3 percent working in Management of Companies and Enterprises and a scattering of small percents in many industries.

For Public Relations Specialist are classified as Arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media occupations with 21.6 percent working in Religious, Grantmaking, Civic, Professional, and Similar Organizations, 9.5 percent working in Junior Colleges, Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools, 14.9 percent working in Advertising, Public Relations, and Related Services, 7.3 percent working in hospitals and social assistance, 6.9 percent working in state and local government, excluding education and hospitals and a scattering of small percents in many industries.

National employment as Public Relations Managers was 60,380 in 2015. Jobs are down since 2000 when jobs were 68,000. The annual average job decrease equals 508 per year since 2000 at a growth rate of -.79 percent. The Bureau of Labor Statistics is forecasting job growth for Public Relations Managers at 470 per year through 2024 at a growth rate of .69 percent a year.

National employment as Public Relations Specialists was 218,910 in 2015. Jobs are up since 2000 when jobs were 128,570. The annual average job increase equals 6,023 per year since 2000 at a growth rate of 3.61 percent. The Bureau of Labor Statistics is forecasting job growth for Public Relations Specialists at 14,900 per year through 2024 at a growth rate of .60 percent a year.


Job openings make a better measure of new hiring than job growth. Job openings are job growth and the number of net replacements. Net replacements are people who permanently leave an occupation for another occupation or retirement and must be replaced before there can be job growth. Job openings for Public Relations Managers are forecast to be 610 a year through 2024.

Job openings make a better measure of new hiring than job growth. Job openings are job growth and the number of net replacements. Net replacements are people who permanently leave an occupation for another occupation or retirement and must be replaced before there can be job growth. Job openings for Public Relations Specialists are forecast to be 2,620 a year through 2024.

The recently updated BLS Education and Training Classification assignments lists BA degree skills as necessary for entry into jobs as Public Relations Manager. However, percentages from survey data are published for Public Relations Managers showing an educational distribution where 49.2 percent have a BA degree, 23.6 percent have advanced degrees, 13.9 percent some college, but no degree, and almost 5.6 percent have an associate’s degree. High school skills were sufficient for 7.6 percent who work here and .6 percent have less than a high school degree. Previous experience is considered unnecessary, but moderate on-the-job training is expected to be necessary for new hires.

BA degree skills are necessary for Public Relations Specialists. Percentages from survey data are published for Public Relations Specialists showing an educational distribution where 56.2 percent have a BA degree, 22.4 percent have advanced degrees, 11.2 percent some college, but no degree, and almost 4.3 percent have an associate’s degree. High school skills were sufficient for 5.4 percent who work here and .6 percent have less than a high school degree. Previous experience is considered unnecessary, but moderate on-the-job training is expected to be necessary for new hires.


The National Center for Education Statistics reports degree data for America’s colleges and universities that can be compared with job growth and openings. Relevant BA degree programs include Public relations/image management, advertising, political communication, health communication, public relations, advertising and applied communications specialties. There were 11,126 BA degrees granted in the 5 programs in public relations, advertising and applied communications in June 2013, the last year of complete degree data. These are up slightly from June 2011 when they were 10,027 and June 2012 when they were 9,948. There were also 1,004 MA degrees granted and 11 Ph.D degrees granted in June 2013. The ratio of relevant BA degree to openings equals 3.44, or 11,126/(610+2620), assuring more than three qualified candidates to fill job openings.

The basic wage data from the BLS occupational employment survey includes a wage distribution. Averages are not used much in wage data. A few high wages pull up the average and make it unrepresentative. Instead a distribution range of wages is published with the 10th, 25th, median, 75th, and 90th percentiles of wages. A 10th percentile wage means 10 percent working in this job have wages equal to or less than the 10th percentile wage and so on. Annual wages are converted to hourly wages by dividing annual wages by 2080

The entry wage for the national market in the 10th percentile for Public Relations Manager is reported as $56,890 in 2015. The 25th percentile wage equals $76,000. The median wage is $104,140, the 75th percentile wage equals $147,590 and the 90th percentile wage is $187,200.

The wages of Public Relations Manager have kept up with inflation for the last decade. For example, to have the buying power of the 2008 median wage of $89,430 in 2015, the Public Relations Manager wage would need to be $98,448.40. In stead it was $104,140, a 5.78 percent increase in the real wage for those eight years.

The entry wage for the national market in the 10th percentile for Public Relations Specialist is reported as $31,690 in 2015. The 25th percentile wage equals $41,520. The median wage is $56,770, the 75th percentile wage equals $78,340 and the 90th percentile wage is $110,080.

The wages of Public Relations Specialist have kept up with inflation for the last decade. For example, to have the buying power of the 2008 median wage of $51,280 in 2015, the Public Relations Specialist wage would need to be $56,451.23. In stead it was $56,770, a 0.56 percent increase in the real wage for those eight years.



Wednesday, June 8, 2016

The New Overtime Rules and the Deceptive Response

The New Overtime Rules and the Deceptive Response

New overtime rules for the Federal Labor Standards Act (FLSA) will begin December 1 of this year. Current overtime rules only apply to someone paid a salary equal to or less than $23,660 a year or to someone paid an hourly wage, a decision entirely at the discretion of the employer. FLSA rules calls for pay at a rate of time and a half for hours over forty hours a week. Over time pay gives employers the incentive to hire additional people rather than pay overtime; two people working sixty hours a week equals three people working forty hours a week.

The current overtime pay exemptions date from August 23, 2004 following a substantial revision of Fair Labor Standards regulations by the Bush Administration. The revision added lots of new language that made it easier to exempt executive, administrative and professional employees from overtime pay as long as they work for a salary above $23,660.

The new rules are sometimes called white-collar rules because exemptions to overtime pay have never applied to “manual laborers or other ‘blue collar’ workers who perform work involving repetitive operations with their hands, physical skill and energy.” For example, with the current white collar rules an employee can be denied overtime pay if employed in a bona fide executive, administrative or professional capacity and compensated by salary at a rate of not less than $455 per week ($23,660 a year) exclusive of board, lodging or other facilities, whose primary duty is the performance of office or non-manual work directly related to the management or general business operations of the employer or the employer's customers and whose primary duty includes the exercise of discretion and independent judgment with respect to matters of significance.

On December 1 the minimum annual salary requirement for overtime pay goes up to $47,476, but does not change the regulations like the one paraphrased above. The new minimum is high enough that some employees previously exempted from - denied - the right to overtime pay will be entitled to it.

Opponents

Business owners, managers and those who identify with business owners and managers will not like the change. It will raise wage costs and lower profits; the changes redistribute income to wage earners at the expense of individual business profits. The people who do not like the policy do not generally mention how much easier it was to avoid paying overtime after the Bush administration revisions of 2004, or how stagnant wages reduce buying power and limit economic growth.

The Department of Labor estimates the new rules will apply to 4.2 million people and if overtime pay raises buying power enough to increase total spending, more production and sales will increase collective business profits. In that way the rules might improve the economy for the larger society but individual businesses will have higher net profits if they can get essential work done by avoiding over time pay.

Opposition comments published in the newspapers (Washington Post, May 21, 2016, “The potential pitfalls of new overtime rule”) and the Internet avoid confronting the redistribution issue or the abuses so common to overtime. The Washington Post article cites the ominous proviso offered by unnamed business groups that “ what workers will probably see a lot less of is flexibility on the job.” … “As an employer, you will have to think about how much time did the person really work … It’s a headache and because it’s a headache, the employer’s first reaction is going to be: ‘No, you can’t work from home. Sorry.’ ”

Beware the deception. Compliance with the FLSA already requires tracking hours worked, whether they are at an office or work from a remote computer. The first sentence of the Fair Labor Standards Act requires that all hours of work will be compensated. Executive, administrative and professional occupations are exempt from overtime pay, but they are entitled to regular pay for work over forty hours a week. Flexibility for salaried people should not turn overtime hours into free work. People who get pressured into working fifty and sixty hours a week who get paid a full time salary based on legally designated full time workweek of forty hours giveaway overtime hours for free.

The Washington Post article cites a lawyer who suggests “some employers may choose to bump workers above the salary threshold, avoiding the problem entirely. But many employees will probably be “re-classified” as hourly workers at which time the number of hours they work might be limited or carefully monitored and tracked.” That translates to some employees can expect reprisals to convince them the new rules are bad for them, as well as business.

These new rules offer modest help to a modest share of working people living on their wages. It is a conservative change, albeit in the right direction, to reduce income inequality. It highlights class conflicts between working people and business owners. Business fights every effort to improve wages as they have here even to the point where low wages are so low they drag down the economy and reduce economic growth. These are new rules, but it’s an old battle.










Saturday, April 16, 2016

Taxes, Preferences and Privileges

If two people or two families have the same income but pay different income taxes, it is worth asking why? The 2015 federal income taxes have much higher tax rates for wage income than dividend income or capital gains. For a new college graduate fortunate enough to find a job earning a salary of $40,000, their income will be taxed as wages with federal tax liability of $3,973.75, assuming the standard deduction and one exemption.

If the $40,000 wages were taxed as dividends are taxed they would have paid nothing; no federal income tax at all. That is because a single tax payer can earn up to $47,750 of dividend income, or capital gains, or a combination, and after allowing for the $4,000 exemption and the standard deduction of $6,300 there is no tax on the remaining taxable income of $37,450.

If two college graduates find $40,000 a year jobs, marry and file a joint return on their $80,000 wage income they will pay $7,987.50 in federal taxes. If the $80,000 wages were taxed as dividends are taxed they would have paid nothing; no federal income tax at all. That is because a married couple with no children can earn up to $95,500 of dividends, capital gains or a combination, and after allowing for two $4,000 exemptions and the standard deduction of $12,600 there is no federal income tax on the remaining taxable income of $74,900.

Dividends or capital gains for an individual filer have no tax up to $47,750 of taxable income but only a 15 percent tax rate above that for dividend and capital gains. While zero tax makes for great savings a 15 percent tax rate saves at least 10 percent and up to 24.9 percent on tax rates compared to the tax rates on wage income above $47,750.

For an individual filer with $75,000 of wage income their federal tax will be $11,968.75, assuming one exemption and the standard deduction. If the income was $50,000 of salary and $25,000 of dividends, their tax drops to $9,806.25, a saving of $2,162.50. If the couple above each earned $35,000 salaries and $10,000 of dividend income their tax would drop from $7,987.50 to $6,487.50, a saving of $1,500.

A tax advantage for dividends and capital gains gives wage earners an incentive to save and invest in stocks: better to earn some of that tax free income. Tax free dividends favors older people with more years to save, but the law applies to everyone and so amounts to a preference for dividend income over wage income. I would call it a preference for dividend income rather than a privilege because everyone has the chance to adopt their personal finance to take advantage of the preference. It’s not always that way.

Some of the wealthy and the well placed have the ability to define their income. Wage earners get a w-2 form and have to pay tax on wages. Corporate Boards and corporate officers have the ability to define their pay in non-wage types of stock option arrangements to avoid the w-2 and convert income to be reported on Form 1099. The privileged have the ability to opt for the 15 percent tax rate instead of the 36.9 percent tax rate that applies to taxable wages at or above $464,850.

A million dollars of wage income for a married couple with a joint return and standard deduction pays a federal income tax of $319,865.44, but only $135,675.00 for 1099 income a saving of $184,190.40. I hear people say wealth has its privileges, but wealth creates the privileges for a selected few who use their tax privileges to perpetuate an upper class and the growing income inequality.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Only One Thing Can Save Us

Thomas Geoghegan, Only One Thing Can Save Us: Why America Needs a New Kind of Labor Movement, (New York: The New Press, 2014), 244 pages, $25.95.

Labor lawyer and union attorney Thomas Geoghegan has returned with another book that starts with a question. “Do you think labor will ever come back?” Geoghegan never answers yes or no, but as the title suggests, he argues the economy and the middle class will never do well if the labor movement does not revive.

The book has twelve chapters divided into three sections. The six chapters in the first section identify and discuss a variety of specific problems that plague the labor movement and the middle class.

We learn early the author is sixty-five years old and thinking how much longer he will have to work to keep living in the disappearing middle class. The stories and discussion in Chapter One introduce matters Geoghegan takes up later in detail. Include in this list the Democratic party that does so little for labor; that more education alone will not reduce inequality; that Senate filibuster rules and gerrymandering U.S. House districts help prevent labor law reform; that organized or unorganized labor should consider a variety of hit-and run political style strikes and disruptions. And most important America has to restore the labor movement to keep what’s left of the middle class.

Chapter two, entitled “There’s No Middle Class,” suggests the low and stagnate wages eroding the middle class result from deliberate policies of business. Management expects to hire and fire at will without regard for the effect on the middle class. Discussion compares practices and attitudes at American companies like Boeing and Caterpillar with business operations in Germany. In the U.S. innovation comes only from the top; in Germany it also comes from the bottom.

In Chapter three Geoghegan declares labor too weak to fight, at least with the old and conventional methods. Too many legal and constitutional limitations along with too much hostility in bad press generate fear or indifference in the working class. Here he describes building a labor movement that targets short-term strikes and disruptions.

Geoghegan continues with the disruption argument in Chapter four by writing about the 2012 Chicago teachers strike. This chapter is the first of two lengthy discussions of Chicago’s public education, which comes up again in Chapter nine. Georghegan lives in Chicago and he was the attorney for the Chicago teachers union for two years before the strike so readers get a detailed discussion of education and labor abuses by Democrat Rahm Emanuel and his cronies. He concludes strikes today must be political strikes, as opposed to demands for economic negotiations. With disruption and publicity the Democrats might get embarrassed enough and nervous enough to actually do something for labor.

In Chapter five Geoghegan offers a personal story from his run for the U.S. House in a Chicago district. He tells readers only 11 thousand votes were cast for the winning candidate when there were more union members than that who could have given him a victory. Here he blames labor leaders when the rank and file split their vote or didn’t vote at all; he hopes they will stop fretting about right to work states and confront reality. He makes the charge that organized labor acts at times like a bunch of elite academics.

Next lawyer Geoghegan becomes economist Geoghegan by discussing John Maynard Keynes book, General Theory of Employment Interest and Money. The General Theory is not a general theory at all, but a theory of special cases. The book was published in 1936 in the middle of worldwide depression, but economists still insisted economies operate as self-regulating markets where unemployment would be temporary until lower wages and interest rates restore full production and employment. Keynes identified potential conditions where markets fail and do not work. He cautioned falling wages might not restore full employment for decades, or ever.

Geoghegan uses several of Keynes special case discussions to warn readers that America’s ever bigger personal debt, government debt, and foreign debt are symbols of today’s market failures. Geoghegan expects the failures to continue unless the labor movement recovers to restore middle class buying power.

Part Two entitled Education and Democracy has three chapters. Here Geoghegan ask why demoralize the party base by pushing college education as a savior for the working class? Census data show about 35 percent of adult Americans have a BA degree or above and Bureau of Labor Statistics data show only about 25 to 26 percent of Americans jobs need college degree skills. By acting like college degrees will solve the country’s problems, Obama and the Democratic Party ignore and disenfranchise 65 percent of the working class. The Democratic base votes Republican and Geoghegan argues they will continue unless the Democrats work to restore the labor movement in the way the government built the labor movement in the great depression.

Chapter eight reviews the educational principles of John Dewey, an early twentieth century writer and educator. Dewey believed schools in a democracy should teach children to act collectively as part of a community. Successful education gives children the confidence to extend democracy everywhere into politics, work, schools, and neighborhoods. Chapter nine looks at the dismal record of employee participation and democracy in the workplace and at the growing demand by corporate America to privatize the schools.

Part III has three chapters of hope and policy. Geoghegan begins this section by declaring labor must come back as something different if it can come back at all. The new labor movement needs to involve members who can and will do more for themselves and with less dues revenue.

Then he makes three proposals for change. The first suggests amending the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by adding to the list of discrimination from race, creed, color, age, and gender with the phrase “and on the basis of union membership.” The legal differences of labor law and civil rights law get a thorough review and evaluation. Here there is excellent discussion of Martin Luther King’s efforts to link civil rights with the goals of organized labor and end the legacy of slavery.

The second proposal wants to end the filibuster rule, which Geoghegan thinks of as the “ultimate” labor law in that historically it assured the defeat of Congressional efforts to end slavery, the ultimate system of cheap labor. More recently it was used to defeat labor law reform and to neutralize labor law enforcement by blocking nominees for the National Labor Relations Board. Here discussion becomes a speculative conversation of problems and possibilities with an emphasis on hope.

The third proposal wants to change corporate law, which is broken because there is no stockholder influence, nor input from employees that work in a dictatorship. Geoghegan recommends that states require corporations to have elected work committees to monitor compliance with labor law and contracts, or to have employees serve on corporate boards to increase managerial accountability. Here the pros are assumed; cons do not exist in a discussion of political possibilities and the chances it can result.

That concludes Chapter ten, which brings two more proposals for change in Chapter eleven, entitled if “All Else Fails.” The two additional proposals are not overt legislation like those in Chapter Ten, but they amount to a change of attitude and practice by organized labor. The first proposal recommends that organized labor work toward more employee participation in managerial decision making. He describes German labor relations that include a thorough discussion of the UAW efforts to organize works councils in the VW plant at Chattanooga, Tennessee.

The second proposal in Chapter Ten suggests giving up on exclusive representation and organizing a minority in the workplace willing to pay their dues. Here Geoghegan raises a variety of political, legal and practical pros and cons. He parcels blame to the right wing that wants to bust organized labor, and to organized labor for getting complacent with the money from agency shop fees and exclusive representation. There is also some more dark discussion of Supreme Court rulings. Geoghegan finishes part III with a short Chapter Eleven confined to hope, as the title “Why We Live in Hope” implies.

The book has the elements of a serious academic tract but tilts away from academia in a chatty conversational voice, which could be unique. There is technical discussion of labor law. Also the book does not use references or supply a bibliography, although reference to some authors and titles appear in the text. The book does have an index.

Geoghegan likes to summarize the merits and demerits of back and forth conversations with peers, colleagues and friends. At one point he is having dinner with a friend in a Washington restaurant and the conversation turns to labor reform. He recounts the conversation, but his friend’s conclusions leave him in shock; he did not realize how few Democrats in high places are friends of labor.

He also likes to ask questions and sometimes doubts his answers as in “Of course, I’m being ridiculous” and go on to elaborate the complications. He likes to repeat controversial conclusions others tend to avoid and then to add another jab or two for good measure as when he mentions the GOP stole the 2000 election, and then adds but nobody cares.

Books like this need hope and this one has hope, but I also read his first book, “Which Side Are You On?” That book maps out the many problems for organized labor as of 1991 with a clear discussion of the elements of labor law and the problems of negotiating and administering collective bargaining contracts. He did that in much the same conversational style he uses now, but I do not recall lots of optimism in his earlier work. In the twenty-five years since 1991 labor, and organized labor, has continued in decline, but I feel relieved he did not measure hope then with hope now. I hope what’s left is not as small as it appears to be in 2016.