Today’s News and Commentary — October 4, 2016

Published October 4th, 2016 -  - 10.04.161


The Department of Labor published a notice and comment concerning the proposed reinstatement of the Contingent Worker Supplement. The CWS will provide data on jobs and workers in jobs that are structured to last a limited period of time, as well as information on workers in alternative employment arrangements, including independent contractors, on-call workers, temporary help agency workers, and workers provided by contract companies The reintroduction of the CWS represents the DOL’s latest effort to get a handle on just how big the gig economy is.

Washington D.C. police and the union for rank and file officers settled a dispute that will result in a $9 million payment to officers. In 2009, a federal arbitrator ruled that a program dubbed All Hands on Deck violated the pay an work schedule provisions of the labor contract. Under the program, Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier had the authority to cancel leave and order that all officers patrol for two or three day weekends during peak crime periods. Neither side disclosed how much will be paid to individual workers.

Conor Shen at Bloomberg offers an explanation for why wage growth remains low despite what looks like near full employment. Among the reasons are the commonly cited skills gap between supply and demand and a geographical mismatch between opportunities and candidates. But more interestingly, Shen suggests we can draw comparisons to the housing bubble before the recession.
NAFTA has become extremely unpopular this election season, but unwinding it would come at a huge cost says the New York Times. The article outlines just how integrated the economics of the United States, Canada, and Mexico have become. And though the thousands on manufacturing jobs left the United States, most economists agree that the net result has been positive for American workers.

In a bit of futurology, the New York Times Room for Debate column presents some different approaches for how to deal with the effects of increasing automation. The proposals range from increasing taxes on the wealthy to advocating for a universal basic income.

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