News & Commentary

November 16, 2017

A new report from U.C. Berkeley’s Labor Center studied the effect of 51 policy measures, collectively labeled “California Policy Model” addressing workers’ rights, environmental issues, safety net programs, taxation, infrastructure, and more, from 2011 – 2015.  The report found that among other things, wages for low-wage workers rose, wage inequality declined modestly, and the state was successful in being on track for meetings its 2020 carbon emission goals.  The full report is here.

Employment in the UK fell by 14,000 in the recent quarter, the most since 2015.  Since the announcement of Brexit, the growth of Britain’s economy has slowed and is now half the rate of growth of Germany’s economy.  Uncertainties about policies like tax withholding has caused companies such as Formula E, the electric car racing series, to look to leave to other countries like France and Monaco.

According to a Bureau of Labor Statistics report released in late October, the largest two categories of fastest-growing jobs in the U.S. are home health and personal care aides.  These jobs require workers to care for people who cannot care for themselves.  But as the average income of an aide is $21,000, 55% of health aides subsist on incomes below 200%.  Roughly 9 of 10 caretaker positions are held by women and nearly half identify as black or Latino.  The Los Angeles Times reports.

Cities in the U.S. and abroad have begun to experiment with universal basic income (UBI).  Concerns that UBI payments would incentivize recipients to not seek employment have motivated experiments in Finland and Spain to provide UBI in the same amount as unemployment benefits, cutting through tedious application processes and freeing up individuals’ time to search for jobs.  Kenya’s pilot study, done with Give Directly, is expanding to a $16,000 program in 120 villages.  The New York Times reports.


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