Today’s News and Commentary – January 24
New numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that union membership in the U.S. held steady last year at 11.3% of the workforce, reports the L.A. Times. The statistics varied widely from state to state, with nearly one-quarter of workers in New York State reporting belonging to a union, but only 3% of workers in North Carolina.
Business leaders quoted in the New York Times argue that a resurgence of apprenticeships may be one way to tackle the crisis of youth unemployment. Apprenticeships, internships, and technical training programs are needed to replace an aging generation of skilled workers, according to the CEOs quoted in the article.
The L.A. Times reports that Wal-Mart has created a $10 million fund to support innovation and grow new U.S. manufacturing jobs. Details of the program will be announced in March, but it will take the form of grants to universities and think tanks. The grants will support efforts to break down the obstacles to a resurgence in manufacturing.
Columnist Paul Krugman in the New York Times argues that our economic policy needs to address the connection between jobs and inequality, while the Times‘ Floyd Norris looks at the link between unemployment rates and federal reserve policy.