News & Commentary

June 10, 2014

According to The Wall Street Journal, the chief executives of some of the nation’s largest company sent a letter to Congress to push for immigration reform. Some of the signatories include the top leaders of Coca-Cola Co., Exelon Corp., Tyson Foods Inc., and McDonald’s Corp. The corporate executives urged for a “practical solution” to undocumented individuals already here, saying that the U.S. “should provide them with an opportunity to come forward and earn their way onto the right side of the law.” While opponents of immigration reform suggest that the CEOs just wanted to drive down wages, the corporate executives maintain that a better immigration system is necessary for the workforce.

Some economics are challenging the theory that rapidly rising labor costs will necessarily cause an increase in inflation. Instead, they attribute inflation to increased profits. Looking at the period between the end of the Great Recession and the first quarter of 2014, labor costs have remained unchanged while profits earned per unit sold have risen almost 9% per year.

In mental health news, The LA Times reports that Americans who are “long-term unemployed” (unemployed for at least 27 weeks) face a heightened risk of depression. About 18% of long-term unemployed individuals said that they were depressed compared with 12.3% of short-term unemployed individuals, 8% of individuals who worked part-time, and 5.6% of individuals who worked full-time. Approximately 3.4 million Americans were long-term unemployed as of May 2014.

Only 14% of U.S. employers choose to offer paid paternity leave, according to a recent study by the Families and Work Institute. Under the Family Medical Leave Act, most fathers are eligible for up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave if they have worked in their jobs for at least a year. The Washington Post describes the U.S. as “one of the few developed economies that does not offer some kind of statutory paid leave.”



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