Jobs wanted

By on March 1, 2021

first_imgDecember offers a built-in reprieve from the harsh economic buffeting of recent years. Stores slash prices, customers shop, and boom-time cheer returns. This holiday season, however, many Americans are still hoping for the basic gift of a job. For the third straight year, the nation is likely to ring in New Year’s Day with an unemployment rate above 9 percent.A succession of federal bailouts — of large banks, financial services companies, and the auto industry — has shown that, in dire cases, the government will act as a bank of last resort. But for many American workers, an employer of last resort is hard to find.“What if we thought of people as too big to fail?” asked Alexander Keyssar, Matthew W. Stirling Jr. Professor of History and Social Policy at Harvard Kennedy School (HKS).“What if we thought of people as too big to fail?” asked Harvard Kennedy School Professor Alexander Keyssar. Justin Ide/Harvard Staff PhotographerIt’s a provocative question, and one that professors, researchers, and others at Harvard are working to address. But fixing America’s long job slump will require more than just government intervention, they say. Getting people back to work also will take creative solutions from business, nonprofit, and higher education leaders.And Harvard analysts say that fixing the more insidious causes of lingering unemployment — everything from rising inequality to inadequate education to dwindling blue-collar jobs — will require attention beyond the 2012 election cycle, where the topic has become a dominant campaign issue.Their innovative suggestions include guaranteeing the unemployed access to job-training programs; pushing business and academic initiatives to foster competitiveness and bypass political stalemate; planting deep geographic and educational roots in communities to spur creativity and stability; and jump-starting the huge but languishing housing market.Counting the uncountedThe history of formally counting the unemployed began in Harvard’s home state in the 1870s. But the way that employment was then measured bears little resemblance to the monthly figures trumpeted in headlines now, said Keyssar, author of “Out of Work: The First Century of Unemployment in Massachusetts.”The first surveys relied on federal and state census data to gauge the percentage of people unemployed at any point in the previous year. Between 1880 and 1930, about 20 to 35 percent of Americans were jobless for some period each year, according to Keyssar — a number that sounds catastrophically high to the modern ear. Even before the Great Depression, routine periods of unemployment were a fairly normal part of blue-collar workers’ lives.“Those early numbers were actually more useful if you wanted to understand the impact of unemployment on a society or a labor force,” he suggested.Because of the recent recession, the number of Americans who have been unemployed at some point in the past year is again near 20 percent, he estimated. One unsettling likely reality is that blue-collar workers may never again enjoy the job security and prosperity they had in the mid-20th century, when unions were strong and industry giants like American automakers reigned supreme.But with the help of innovative policies, Keyssar believes, workers can bounce back into jobs more quickly.Policies tying layoffs to guaranteed entry to job training programs would help less-skilled workers to transition, he said. (Of course, traditional education helps, too. The unemployment rate for workers with college degrees is half that of their non-degree-holding counterparts.) Stronger union protections would help to reverse the trend of declining benefits and job security in working-class occupations in service and manufacturing, he added.The federal government should prioritize funding for unemployment benefits, which are worth much less in most states than they were decades ago, Keyssar said.Talking to the job creatorsSome American jobs are indeed lost for good. But a key to replacing them lies in understanding where the American economy is most competitive and where it can become more so. With that in mind, Harvard Business School (HBS) Dean Nitin Nohria recently kicked off the U.S. Competitiveness Project, a yearlong initiative designed to take the pulse of America’s business leaders.“The bad news is that answers are unlikely to come from Washington in the short term,” said Jan Rivkin, Bruce V. Rauner Professor of Business Administration at HBS. “The good news is, they don’t have to,” he added. Jon Chase/Harvard Staff PhotographerThe goal isn’t just to study the issue, but to mobilize the business community, policymakers, and academics to promote the cause of competitiveness.“Much of the public discourse is about what the government should do,” said Jan Rivkin, Bruce V. Rauner Professor of Business Administration at HBS, who is running the project with Michael Porter, Bishop William Lawrence University Professor. But as Congress and the president remain gridlocked on providing major economic fixes heading into the 2012 elections, Harvard’s business experts are taking their case directly to the community they study.“We’re asking business leaders to reflect on what their roles and responsibilities are” for stimulating the economy and creating jobs, Rivkin said. “There’s also a role for the academy to generate new ideas for public debate.”“The bad news is that answers are unlikely to come from Washington in the short term,” Rivkin added. “The good news is, they don’t have to.”In October, HBS sent a survey to its alumni to gauge their thoughts on America’s competitiveness and how to improve it; more than 10,000 responded, according to Rivkin. The project is now examining preliminary data from the survey, which it will make available to researchers around HBS and Harvard.But thinking about competitiveness means more than just figuring out how to attract and grow companies. The hard part, Rivkin said, is doing that while maintaining wages and living standards for American workers.Invest in places, as well as peopleWhile it’s difficult to estimate the number of American jobs that have been offshored in recent years, a 2009 analysis by Rivkin and his students found that between 21 and 42 percent of U.S. work could be performed abroad. Nonetheless, Rivkin’s research has shed light on the importance and the benefits of investing in American workers.“There’s been a tendency to underestimate the hidden costs of offshoring,” he said. In addition, U.S. companies often “underestimate the benefits of staying in one place and putting down roots.”One example he cites often is Corning Inc., the scientific and industrial products manufacturer, and its eponymous hometown, Corning, N.Y. The city of 11,000 near the Pennsylvania border is now “one of the best places to make breakthrough products in the world,” Rivkin said, thanks to the company’s investment in the local school system, community colleges, and town infrastructure.“Corning operates in something like 60 countries around the world, but it has managed to turn a small town into a hotbed of innovation,” Rivkin said. “If you just move from city to city to whatever town gives you the lowest labor cost, you’ll never develop that.”American business should look to emulate such fruitful examples, said Joseph Bower, HBS’s Baker Foundation Professor and co-author (along with Harvard faculty Lynn Paine and Herman Leonard) of the new book “Capitalism at Risk: Rethinking the Role of Business.”Bower and his co-authors visited business leaders in Asia, Latin America, Europe, and the United States and found that, across the globe, companies worried about similar problems, including maintaining jobs and a healthy consumer economy as living standards rise. (An estimated 800 million people worldwide will join the ranks of the middle class by the year 2030.)“In emerging nations, there are hundreds of millions of people who are in effect outside the system, and in some places companies have actually been very good at devising ways at getting people into the system,” Bower said.U.S. companies could adopt those strategies at home, he added, by investing in solutions that target education deficits, environmental damage, and rising health care costs in the communities where they operate.“You have to step up,” Bower said. “We’re not talking about corporate social responsibility here. We’re talking about companies devising ways of doing sustainable business.”Housing still countsOne area that government could help to jump start, however, is the lagging housing market. At its pre-recession height, new home building accounted for roughly 17 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), according to Nicolas Retsinas, a senior lecturer at HBS, a lecturer at the Graduate School of Design (GSD), and director emeritus of the Joint Center for Housing Studies. Housing now accounts for only 13 percent of GDP.“For the past 50 years, we’ve been spoiled; housing has been considered the bedrock of society,” Retsinas said. “It’s still foundational, but now that foundation has cracks.”Of the 800,000 foreclosed properties now on the market, only 300,000 are owned by the government, according to Retsinas. If the government agreed to sell more foreclosed homes to developers in bulk, the homes could be converted to rental properties — a good way to stimulate the remodeling and rental markets that have already shown a tendency to recover more quickly than the market for new homes.Focus on the familyAs the United States copes with long-term unemployment, analysts said it’s also important to ramp up social supports. Unstable finances can create unstable families, said Kathy Edin, a professor of public policy and management at Harvard Kennedy School who studies marriage and family structure in low-income communities. Photo by Martha StewartAs the United States copes with long-term unemployment, analysts said it’s also important to ramp up social supports. Unstable finances can create unstable families, said Kathy Edin, a professor of public policy and management at HKS who studies marriage and family structure in low-income communities.As blue-collar jobs vanish, white, working-class communities in particular have seen an increase in divorce rates, as have what Edin calls “fragile families” — cohabiting couples raising children outside of marriage, who face a higher probability of splitting up. Edin said that increasingly complex family structures can put financial pressures on families and on single parents, while creating emotional pressures on children, compounding the cycle of poverty.“If you can’t give couples some foothold on economic stability, you’re just going to increase divorces,” Edin said. There is some evidence that “modest economic investments in couples’ economic lives can increase disadvantaged couples’ stability pretty dramatically,” Edin said.Many low-income couples whom Edin has studied would rather raise their children in a two-parent family, she said, but are reluctant to marry if they’re not financially stable. “I think we can do a lot to help them do that — not by preaching, but by simply giving them the tools to stay together.”A role for nonprofitsAs the economic doldrums drag on for many, charitable donations and government supports sag. So nonprofit organizations — especially those helping the unemployed and the poor — are adjusting to “the new normal,” and in many cases have to do more with less.“This isn’t a short-term crisis that [nonprofits have] to get used to,” said Jim Bildner, a senior research fellow at the Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations. “It is a more profound strategic challenge,” exacerbated as nonprofits and foundations find themselves filling gaps in the societal safety net that historically were filled by government. Housing, shelters, food pantries, and other critical services are increasingly displaced to the nonprofit sector, he said.To meet these challenges effectively, he added, many nonprofits are narrowing their focus and focus on their core functions. But they also have a role to play in helping the jobless to get back on their feet.“Where nonprofits can be particularly effective is in helping change the conditions that surround the unemployed [by offering] job training and other supportive services that make future employment opportunities more likely,” he said. Traditional social service nonprofits aren’t the only organizations feeling the pinch to help the unemployed. Churches are stretched thin, too.“Twenty years ago, people felt churches would be the kind of organizations that will pick up the slack when the safety net starts to have holes in it,” said Dudley Rose, lecturer and associate dean of ministry studies at Harvard Divinity School. “From the beginning we overestimated the resources that congregations have.”Mainline Protestant churches have been declining in the United States for decades, Rose said. “The idea that churches are going to step in and pick up the social safety net is probably pie in the sky.”What religious leaders can do, besides offering spiritual guidance and support, Rose said, is to organize the faithful around economic issues the way some groups have organized around social issues such as abortion in past decades.“What we’ve seen in recent times is a much louder voice from the religious right,” he said. Churches that fall to the left may be ripe for a revival, Rose said.Grassroots movements such as Occupy Wall Street and its local offshoots (including Occupy Harvard) have already attracted adherents who believe social and economic justice to be core tenets of their faiths’ good works. The Greater Boston Interfaith Organization, for example, has worked extensively with Occupy Boston.“I think there’s a lot of room to claim moral high ground there and to become more active,” Rose said.“The sky has not fallen”Despite the dearth of jobs and the other persistent economic problems facing the nation, however, many Harvard experts still expressed optimism about the country’s long-term prospects.“The economy retains enormous strength,” Rivkin said. “The sky has not fallen. There are pieces that are dangling.”last_img read more

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Poor workers trying to feed families jailed, abused in coronavirus lockdowns

By on October 19, 2020

first_imgRaju, a vegetable vendor in New Delhi, said a policeman struck him on his back and calves repeatedly – despite his attempts to explain that selling food was an essential service exempted from lockdown rules.”He would not listen. He just kept beating me. So, I quickly turned around and limped back home,” said the vendor who declined to give his full name. “My bruises are still visible.”Indian opposition lawmaker Shashi Tharoor has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, urging the government to rein in police brutality, saying it showed the country’s law enforcement “in a very poor light”.Modi asked the nation’s poor for forgiveness for the hardship caused by the lockdown after it began on March 25, when the government also announced a $22.6 billion economic stimulus plan to provide cash and food handouts to the poor.Cages, hot sun In the Philippines, informal workers like rickshaw drivers were also among some 20,000 people arrested for violating curfews, said Manila-based urban poor campaign group Kadamay.”They would rather catch the virus outside than dying from hunger at home,” said Gloria Arellano, the charity’s chairwoman.”There are people who are just drinking water to survive. We will see more urban poor, this is already happening.”President Rodrigo Duterte warned violators of coronavirus lockdown measures last week that they could be shot for causing trouble after media reports of protests in Manila about insufficient government food aid.Curfew violators have been confined to dog cages and made to sit under the midday sun as punishment, advocacy group Human Rights Watch said.Its researcher Carlos Conde said government measures like cash subsidies to cushion the blow were inadequate for many low-income and informal workers who have no savings or insurance.”These daily wage earners and their families, they live a hand-to-mouth existence,” Conde said from Manila.”The government is facing social upheavals like this if they do not meet the needs of poor Filipinos, particularly if they continue to arrest and lock up those who are out on the streets to find food,” he added in emailed comments.The United Nations has warned the coronavirus pandemic could trigger a global economic crisis, destroying up to 25 million jobs if governments do not shield workers from the impact. “They have been hit hard not only due to the economic factor, but now also got trapped and entangled in such a legal quagmire,” Pillai, who is giving the men free legal assistance, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone.Labor rights activists across Asia have criticized strict lockdowns to contain the flu-like virus – which has infected about 1.3 million people and caused more than 70,000 deaths globally – for their impact on vulnerable workers.Social media has been flooded with videos of baton-wielding police in India beating people, including migrant workers and rickshaw pullers, for breaking a three-week lockdown, as well as making them do squats and deflating their tires.New Delhi’s police spokesman has denied that officers used excessive force and said they were trying to ensure people followed rules. Topics :center_img Poor workers have been arrested and beaten by police for trying to put food on the table during coronavirus lockdowns, prompting warnings on Tuesday of social upheaval if aid is not delivered.In Malaysia, two men who usually earn about 100 ringgit ($23) a day fixing roofs have been jailed for three months after they were caught fishing for food in violation of an official stay-home order, sparking a public outcry.”Police told them to leave. They said they have to fish to feed their family – they don’t have a job now, they have no money,” said their lawyer Balakrishna Balaravi Pillai, adding the men were jailed because they could not afford to pay a fine.last_img read more

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Undocumented students talk about their struggles

By on September 17, 2020

first_imgOscar Garcia, an undocumented student whose parents brought him from Mexico to the United States, told a crowd Monday that the Senate’s failure in December to pass the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act might mean he has to leave the school he loves, since he is not eligible for federal financial aid.Obstacles · Felix Gutierrez, a journalism professor at USC’s Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism, talked about the challenges undocumented students face. – Laura Walsh | Daily Trojan “It would break my heart to leave the Trojans, but it’s an inevitability sometimes,” Garcia said. “Sometimes you have to do things you don’t want to do.”The Latino Student Assembly hosted a panel Monday titled, “America: Where Dreams are Voted On” at the Ronald Tutor Campus Center to inform audience members of the struggles undocumented Californian students could have escaped with the passage of the DREAM Act, which would have provided a pathway to citizenship for students whose parents are illegal immigrants.“Being an undocumented student means a lot of things.  I really wanted to travel abroad, but I couldn’t do that — can’t do that,” said Sofia Campos, an undocumented immigrant and co-chair of  the Improving Dreams, Equality, Access and Success group at UCLA.Besides being unable to afford university housing and having to commute two hours to school every day, Campos finds it nearly impossible to receive a college education.“Our financial means are really limited,” Campos said. “We cannot receive federal aid, state aid and most scholarships are unavailable to us.”Victor Narro, a professor of law at UCLA, said there are many misconceptions about undocumented students.“We hear misinformation about the nature of the contribution of the immigrant,” Narro said.Felix Gutierrez, a journalism professor at the Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism, said employment is the key. He noted that, even if passed the DREAM Act might not have done enough.“Unless you twin the DREAM Act with employment opportunities, it will not fufill its potential and people will not contribute to society,” Gutierrez said.Students and professors came out of the meeting with positive feelings.“I feel that I am really blessed and I really want to help keep making changes,” said Stephanie Barajas, a freshman majoring in theatre.For supporters who feel similarly, Campos has helped promote the California DREAM Act, an initiative that does not address legalization but could help to provide deserving students with access to institutional aid.“This is something we do believe is possible now,” Campos said. “The governor has come out and supported it, we just need to make sure we get the petitions to his desk and we hold him accountable to sign the bill.”An earlier publication of this article misidentified Oscar Garcia, a sophomore from Mexico. The Daily Trojan regrets the error and has corrected the text above to reflect the accurate information.last_img read more

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Week 13 Yahoo Fantasy Football: NFL DFS picks, lineup advice for GPP tournaments

By on August 27, 2020

first_imgWeek 13 Rankings:Quarterback | Running Back | Wide Receiver | Tight End | D/ST  | KickerYahoo Fantasy Football: Week 13 NFL DFS tournament lineupQB Aaron Rodgers, Packers vs. Cardinals ($31). The season-long stats say the Cardinals are a tough matchup for QBs, but Philip Rivers sure didn’t have a problem with them last week. It’s always nice to be able to pick on sinking ships late in the season, especially when they’re on the road facing a team that has to win. Rodgers hasn’t had a three-TD game since Week 5, so he’s overdue for a monster performance. Arizona has allowed multiple passing TDs in each of the past three games (Chiefs, Raiders, Chargers), so at least Rodgers has a fairly high floor.RB Aaron Jones, Packers vs. Cardinals ($26). Jones has scored five times in his past three games, totaling 257 rushing yards on 43 carries. Perhaps more important, at least for our purposes since we have Rodgers at QB, is that he also has 11 receptions for 111 yards in that span. Arizona entered Week 12 allowing the third-most fantasy points per game (FPPG) to RBs and were promptly shredded by three different Chargers’ backs. Jones will be a chalky pick this week, but he’s well worth his price.RB Lamar Miller, Texans vs. Browns ($19). This price seems far too low, perhaps because it was set before Monday night’s game. (Update: And then promptly had a 97-yard TD run.) Miller hasn’t had fewer than 13 touches in a game this season, and in his four games prior to Week 12, he averaged 12.7 fantasy points in standard leagues. You could argue Miller’s ceiling isn’t exceptionally high, but against the Browns, who allow well over 23 FPPG to RB, he has more upside than you think.WEEK 13 DFS GPP LINEUPS: FanDuel | DraftKingsWR Davante Adams, Packers vs. Cardinals ($33). You can’t go wrong with Adams, who is the fifth-most expensive WR ($5 off the positional ceiling) but could produce the most points in any given week. He’s scored or had at least 133 yards in all but one game this year. Arizona entered Week 12 allowing the eighth-fewest FPPG to WRs, but a closer look at the numbers reveals they’ve allowed a touchdown to WR1s in six straight games. That list includes Brandon LaFell and Marquise Goodwin. Adams should be able to torch them as Rodgers’ only trusted pass-catcher.WR D.J. Moore, Panthers @ Buccaneers ($23). This might be chasing points, as Moore has turned in two good games in a row, but with 15 catches (17 targets) for 256 yards and a score in that span, it seems clear he’s the top option in Carolina. Even if Devin Funchess returns this week, Moore has all kinds of upside against a hapless Bucs pass defense that entered Week 12 allowing the third-most FPPG to WRs.​WEEK 13 DFS CASH LINEUPS: Yahoo | FanDuel | DraftKingsWR Kenny Golladay, Lions vs. Rams ($21). This is a great price for a proven No. 1 receiver in a highly favorable matchup. In the three games in which Marvin Jones hasn’t finished (two of which he didn’t play at all), Golladay is averaging 6.3 receptions, 12 targets and 93.7 yards while scoring two touchdowns. The Rams have allowed 200-yard games by No. 1 receivers (Michael Thomas, Tyreek Hill) in two of the past three games, so Golladay has a sky-high ceiling.TE Kyle Rudolph, Vikings @ Patriots ($15). It’s actually a bit disappointing Rudolph had his best game since Week 3 last Sunday night, as now more people might targeting him in DFS contests. His seven-catch, 61-yard performance didn’t sway us, though — this pick is all about the matchup. New England is allowing the fourth-most FPPG to TEs, and that includes six TDs in the past seven games. The Vikings have a lot of mouths to feed on offense, but this is a good spot for Rudolph. It was a classic “good-but-not-great” performance from last week’s Yahoo GPP lineup,  with Baker Mayfield, Melvin Gordon (in little more than a half), Nick Chubb, and Antonio Callaway combining for nine TDs and doing their damndest to make up for Elijah McGuire, C.J. Uzomah, Chris Godwin, and the Jaguars D/ST no-showing in favorable matchups. Such is life, and we’re aiming to bounce back with some studs and value sleepers for our Week 13 NFL DFS tournament picks.A Packers onslaught will need to lead the way. We’re betting on a must-win matchup against the foundering Cardinals to spark the Packers, and we’re also going with a bunch of high-upside (and in some cases, underpriced) one-offs in favorable matchups. A couple of our WRs and our TE offer risk, but that’s not uncommon with what we see in the DraftKings perfect lineup every week. If we’ve hit on the right ones, it will really pay off. MORE WEEK 13 DFS: Values | Stacks | Lineup BuilderFLEX John Brown, Ravens @ Falcons ($17). This is obviously a risky pick, as Brown has only two catches in Lamar Jackson’s two starts and fewer than 30 yards in five of the past six games. But he saw a team-high seven targets last week, and he figures to see a decent amount this week against Atlanta’s leaky pass defense. Brown is too risky for cash games, but he’s the type of low-owned player who could put a GPP lineup over the top if he hits on one of his signature big plays.D/ST Tennessee Titans vs. Jets ($14). The Titans have by far the best matchup among the “cheap” D/STs. You know the Jets will throw at least one INT, and regardless of who starts, the potential is there for more.last_img read more

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