Today’s News & Commentary — November 21, 2017

Published November 21st, 2017 -  - 11.21.172


StreetsBlogUSA recaps a Demos study that recommends improving public transportation in order to address the racial gap in employment rates.  Car ownership tracks race, and, for instance, black workers in Detroit are 13 times more likely to commute via public transportation than their white counterparts.  As StreetsBlogUSA points out, the job mix generated by investment in transit infrastructure also favors black and Latino workers.

Tennessee’s unemployment rate is historically low, and the Wall Street Journal cautions against celebrating that fact: workforce participation is also trending down, which suggests that people have stopped looking for work.  The Journal proposes low education levels and opiod addiction as explanations.  Whatever its causes, this low unemployment rate hasn’t discouraged Tyson Foods, Inc., which already employs 5,000 in Tennessee.  Tyson added 300 jobs in August of this year and announced yesterday that it will open a new chicken processing plant and employ 1,500 more there by late 2019.

The Washington Post reports that sexual harassment in the restaurant industry is widespread and severe.  Interviews with victims, witnesses, researchers, and the advocacy group Restaurant Opportunities Center United illuminate the severity of the problem.  The Post identifies four factors that foster abusive behavior: a macho culture; the way tips disincentivize complaints against customers; the vulnerability of workers, especially young and undocumented workers; and prevalent alcohol and drug use.

For the first time in 25 years, a new vehicle assembly plant is set to open in the Detroit area.  Indian conglomerate Mahindra plans to produce the Roxor—an all-terrain utility vehicle—in Auburn Hills, Michigan.  This is an expansion of Mahindra’s existing work in southeastern Michigan, and it will create 400 new jobs by 2020.  As the company stated, “this is India outsourcing to America to get the talent we need.”

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