US Policy Changes Vol.46 (Employment Vol.5 – Trade, Paid leave, Minimum wage, Income)

Here are articles on employment, trade, paid leave, minimum wage, income, et al. Excerpts are on our own.

How the ‘Losers’ in America’s Trade Policies Got Left Behind – The U.S. has not figured out how to help people whose jobs were outsourced overseas. Can the problem be solved? (10/19/2016) | @AlanaSemuels @TheAtlantic
… Though TAA is one of the government’s most robust retraining and support programs, it has not been very successful in helping those who lose jobs in manufacturing move on to equally lucrative careers. Though TAA has helped people receive training by providing them tuition, counseling, and information about educational opportunities, “those impacts had not yet translated into labor market gains during the four-year period following job loss,” a study by Social Policy Research Associations and Mathematica Policy Research for the Department of Labor found. …
… “It’s not just that TAA isn’t working. It’s that the entire portfolio of labor-market adjustment policies in the U.S. isn’t working,” Chad Bown, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, told me. …
…Kermit Kaleba, the federal policy director of the National Skills Coalition… “Training doesn’t create jobs, training provides opportunities while there are jobs,” Kaleba told me. “If a factory closes down, that doesn’t mean there’s a set of corresponding work opportunities.”
…the low likelihood that workers will relocate. That fact that Americans don’t just pick up and move from economically depressed areas to booming ones—like they did during the Dust Bowl—has puzzled economists for decades. One study, from the American Economic Journal, has found that low-skilled Mexican-born immigrants move in response to labor demand, yet low-skilled American-born people do not. …
…areas losing lots of jobs see less demand for housing, and home values fall. Workers who may still be paying off mortgages suddenly find they are underwater, meaning they owe more on their homes than their homes are worth. …
… If trade creates winners and losers in our economy—and many people passively win by gaining access to cheaper products from overseas—isn’t there an obligation to compensate the losers in some way? Giving up on them because retraining hasn’t yet proven to be successful seems short-sighted…
… “In theory, the winners should repay the losers, but we don’t in our country,” Timothy Smeeding, a professor of public affairs at the University of Wisconsin-Madison…
…the writer Henry Olsen…
As my colleague Derek Thompson has written, Americans are moving less than they did in the past. This coincides with the rise of an American populace discontent with the opportunities that exist where they are. …

What could really help the working class? Paid leave. (12/13/2016) | Eleanor Krause and @isawhill @BrookingsEcon
… During his campaign, Trump proposed 6 weeks of paid leave for mothers. This is the first time a Republican presidential candidate has included paid leave in his policy platform. … But as usual, the policy design matters a lot.
ACCESS TO PAID LEAVE IS LOWEST FOR LOW-WAGE WORKERS
The federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for these purposes. But FMLA only covers large employers and their full-time employees – less than 60 percent of the labor force. …
TRUMP’S PROPOSAL IS A START, BUT COULD BE IMPROVED
Include fathers.
Offer more than 6 weeks.
Use the payroll tax system, not UI.
Build in job protection.
LET’S GET IT (MOSTLY) RIGHT THE FIRST TIME.

How Trump could unintentionally raise the minimum wage in your city (11/29/2016) | Harry J. Holzer @FortuneMagazine @BrookingsEcon
… But it is even less likely that Trump, who is so strongly committed to rolling back regulations of labor (and other) markets, would push for any such increases. …
… A 2014 report by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) found that increases in the minimum wage of up to $10 an hour would generate only very modest employment losses for youth and unskilled adults.
…the Fight for $15 campaign has actually achieved its goal of a $15 minimum wage…in several states and large cities, including Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, and Washington DC. …
… There are simply too many unskilled workers in many localities who will not be formally hired at these wages, according to the 2014 CBO report, even if the wage increase is phased in slowly. …
The numbers of unskilled individuals hired informally and paid in cash in these localities will likely rise over time if minimum wage increases are implemented. …
… In DC, employers across the river in Arlington, Va. will still pay $7.25 when the wages in the capital rise to $15; the incentives for employers of many low-wage workers to migrate to northern Virginia will become very large…
… For instance, fast-food restaurants and coffee bars will likely use many more robots a decade from now than they would with lower minimum wages; and hotels are likely to more rapidly move to optional room cleaning overnight. …

Middle America’s malaise helped Trump to victory, but he has no cure (11/28/2016) | @RichardvReeves @BrookingsEcon
…the areas where people are turning to oxycodone are also the ones that turned to Trump. Trump out-performed Mitt Romney in counties with the highest levels of premature mortality, according to our own analysis. …
…people are “tired of having chief executives make 300 times what they do, while 52 percent of all new income goes to the top 1 percent.” …
… Scott Winship @FREOPP…concludes that “there is little empirical support for the idea that ‘it was the economy, stupid’.” … Many white men, especially those of modest education, feel as if they are being overtaken and left behind. “It’s relative status, stupid!”
…@KathyJCramer has been conducting a series of in-depth interviews with people in rural Wisconsin…
… “They say, it used to be the case that my dad could do this job and retire at a relatively decent age, and make a decent wage. We had a pretty good quality of life, the community was thriving. Now I’m doing what he did, but my life is really much more difficult.”
These men, and many women too, compare their lives to a world in which men like them—perhaps their own fathers—could get a decent-paying job, be considered the automatic “head of the household,” and always know, at some deep level, that they were superior to people with darker skin. … …the gender gap in median wages has narrowed.
And of course we’ve had a black President since 2008. As James Baldwin warned almost half a century ago, “the danger, in the minds of most white Americans, is the loss of their identity…The black man has functioned in the white man’s world as a fixed star…
… Even if he succeeds in reducing trade competition—which is fairly unlikely—any impact on the lives of mid-Western whites will be small, and slow in coming. Women are not returning to the kitchen, or standing by their man just because they have to. …
… In the long run, the only cure is for whites, and especially white men, to change their expectation that high status, along with a decent-paying job, will be delivered to them merely by virtue of their race and gender.
Loss of relative status is painful, no doubt. But it is the inescapable price of equality. … Trump is a temporary painkiller… ..J.D. Vance…

On the new Chetty-bomb that only half of Americans are better off than their parents (12/8/2016) | Dimitrios Halikias and @RichardvReeves @BrookingsEcon
… riting with David Grusky, Maximilian Hell, Nathaniel Hendren, Robert Manduca, and Jimmy Narang, Professor Raj Chetty has just produced a stunning research finding…
THE RUSTBELT RUSTS UP
…the analysis paper does chime with another important paper released this week by the equally impressive team of Thomas Piketty, Emmanuel Saez, and Gabriel Zucman, showing that market incomes for the bottom fifty percent of earners have remained completely flat over the last half century.
INCOME INEQUALITY IS DRIVING DOWN ABSOLUTE MOBILITY MORE THAN SLOW GROWTH
… In the “high-growth” counterfactual, absolute mobility rates would be 62 percent, 12 percentage points higher than they are today. In the “more equal” counterfactual, absolute mobility rates would be 80 percent, 30 percentage points higher than they are today. …

America’s male employment crisis is both urban and rural (12/5/2016) | @berubea1 @BrookingsMetro
… Economists such as David Autor have chronicled how increasing Chinese imports over the past two decades produced long-term economic dislocation in many of these communities. Anne Case and Angus Deaton uncovered alarming evidence that mortality rates have risen among white Americans with lower levels of education, paralleling a rapid increase in drug overdoses largely concentrated in non-urban areas.
139 primary cities anchor the nation’s 100 largest metropolitan areas…
81 high-density suburban counties surround or abut many of these cities…
157 mature suburban counties represent the next era of metropolitan development…
344 emerging suburban and exurban counties lie at the fringe of major metro areas…
567 small metropolitan counties comprise metropolitan areas outside the 100 largest…
658 micropolitan counties are part of census-defined micropolitan areas centered on smaller cities and towns with populations between 10,000 and 50,000 people…
1,318 rural counties form the rest of the U.S. map…
Rates of work among prime-aged men are below average in both cities and smaller, less urbanized communities.
Employment rates among men fell dramatically in smaller communities, but rose in cities.
Big cities remain home to more out-of-work prime-aged men than other types of communities.
First…these places share an important interest in improving the availability and quality of jobs. …
Second, while jobs are certainly a shared priority for cities and rural areas, their divergent trend lines in employment opportunity merit reflection. …
…“agglomeration” is increasingly the route to employment opportunity… …strengthening connections between larger and smaller places through infrastructure investment and shared economic development strategies. Such efforts could unite economic leaders in cities and their surrounding rural areas in older industrial states, if state lawmakers choose not to pit those interests against one another. …