Today’s News & Commentary — April 4, 2019
Six women have sued the law firm Jones Day for pregnancy and gender discrimination. The former associates claim that the firm’s “fraternity culture” benefits male attorneys to the detriment of women, who are routinely excluded from the best assignments and denied promotions and pay raises. The pregnancy discrimination claims are the latest in a series of such suits against some of the country’s largest and most influential employers, and comes as the legal industry continues to struggle with diversity at its highest ranks.
The U.S. construction and agricultural industries are alarmed by the tight labor market and fears that restrictive immigration policy will only exacerbate the problem. The low unemployment rate has started to raise wages, and employers now need to find another source of cheap labor. In 2016, immigrants made up 1 out of 4 construction workers, and 7 out of 10 agricultural workers were born in Mexico. As the Trump administration moves to severely restrict the flow of migrants over the southern border, these industries worry that they may be unable to sustain production, leading to price hikes and shortages.
The manufacturing industry, once a rosy spot on the Trump administration’s economic record, has begun to falter. After adding jobs for 19 months in a row that total over 500,000 jobs since Trump’s inauguration, the industry added just 4,000 jobs in February, its weakest performance in a year. Tariffs, slow growth in China and Europe, and the fading impact of last year’s tax cuts have contributed to the slowdown, and the political risks to Republicans and President Trump are clear, after Trump made manufacturing growth a key selling point via Twitter and at his rallies.