Today’s News & Commentary — June 26, 2017
Today, President Trump meets with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the White House. Bloomberg reports that one of Modi’s top priorities will be to convince Trump to continue the H-1B visa program, which has let thousands of skilled Indian workers live in the United States while working for information technology companies. CNN notes that Trump has repeatedly accused American tech companies of using H-1B visas to replace U.S. workers with cheaper foreign workers, calling for a comprehensive review of the visa program in his April “Buy American, Hire American” executive order. Other critical topics of discussion include trade and climate change.
In yesterday’s municipal run-off elections, Italy’s center-right parties won big—scoring victories in more than 100 towns and cities. The results will likely put pressure on the center-left government ahead of national parliamentary elections set to take place in early 2018. Immigration, particularly anti-migrant sentiments, emerged as a theme in Italy’s border towns.
In a piece titled “Men Don’t Want to Be Nurses. Their Wives Agree,” the New York Times analyzed gender dynamics in labor-force participation rates. Despite the fact that a number of jobs in the health care sector are unfilled, the jobs report for May showed less than 63 percent of Americans participating in the labor force. Because many of the open jobs are in traditionally female occupations, men tend to face not only internal resistance, but also external resistance from their wives, potential clients, job recruiters, and female peers. Ofer Sharone, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst who has studied middle-aged white-collar professionals that have lost their jobs, offered one explanation: “Work is at the core of what it means to be a man, in a way that work is not at the core of femininity.”
The Guardian reports that British businesses are facing the biggest skilled labor-recruiting challenge that they have faced in a decade. A survey by Lloyds found that the majority of British companies are struggling to recruit the skilled labor they need, which is up from almost a third of companies in January. Three of the contributing factors are high employment, a fall in the value of the pound, and uncertainty about the future for EU nationals in the UK.
Finally, the New York Times published a story about Johnstown, Pennsylvania, an old steel town whose workforce has taken a second hit as retail stores struggle to adapt to online shopping. “Every time you lose a corner store, every time you lose a restaurant, every time you lose a small clothing store, it detracts from the quality of life, as well as the job loss,” said John McGrath, a professor of management at the University of Pittsburgh Johnstown.