Today's News and Commentary — August 8
According to the Los Angeles Times, California’s robust job growth conceals a worrisome trend. While the state has recovered all of the jobs lost since the recession, most of the growth has been in the low wage sector; there are fewer mid-wage jobs paying between 15 and 30 dollars per hour available. Economists warn that “[m]iddle-wage stagnation can damage consumer spending, dent career mobility, stall home buying and exacerbate [the] poverty rate.”
The New York Times reports on working conditions for New York agricultural workers, many of whom work 14-hour days for an $8 per hour minimum wage and no overtime. Agricultural workers are excluded from many federal wage and hour and labor protections, and only a handful of states have instituted their own protections for farm workers. In New York, advocates for workers’ rights, facing stiff opposition from farmers’ groups, have thus far failed to pass legislation protecting agricultural workers.
According to the Associated Press, unionized workers at the Metropolitan Opera are in the midst of negotiations and hope to avoid a threatened lockout. Facing a budget shortfall, the Met has demanded that unions accept salary cuts of around 17 percent.
In international news, the Wall Street Journal reports on disappointing Canadian employment numbers, as the country added just 200 jobs last month. Over the last year, overall employment has increased by just 0.7 percent, and all of that growth has been in part-time work.