Streams

 

Jobs

WNYC News

How A Bloated Wall Street Can Hurt Growth

Monday, July 16, 2012

A too-big financial sector can cause chronic problems, especially for research-dependent industries, concludes an analysis by two economists.

Comment

WNYC News

Outsourcing Companies Top List of Firms Applying for H-1B Visas

Monday, July 16, 2012

It’s the top complaint of one of the city’s fastest growing industries: tech companies can’t find enough engineers and computer programmers for their growing businesses.

Comments [23]

WNYC News

Bronx Residents Flock to Apply for Low-Wage Fresh Direct Jobs in Queens

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Fresh Direct is opening a new headquarters in the Bronx in 2015, but residents of the borough aren't waiting around for the new facility to get a foot in the door.  

Comments [13]

Transportation Nation

Interstate? Close Enough

Thursday, July 12, 2012

John Thompson, Polk County Judge and Chairman of the Alliance for I-69 Texas, presents an Interstate 69 sign to Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (photo:  i69texasalliance.com)

A new riddle for you: when is an Interstate not an Interstate?

For decades, the criteria for designating new or improved roads as Interstate Highways were fairly straightforward. The Federal Highway Administration would certify “that the segment (a) is built to Interstate design standards and (b) connects to the existing Interstate System.” In short, Interstates had to be Inter-state.

But not any more. With the signing of MAP-21 last week, the law has been changed to do away with requirement (b) and allow disconnected pieces of floating “Interstate”—as long as the segment is “planned to connect to an existing Interstate System segment” in the next 25 years.

This might seem like a strange, even absurd, tweak to make, especially as part of such a contentious bill. But the provenance of the language makes its purpose clear. The change in definition was initially written as a special exception for Interstate 69, the so-called “NAFTA Highway, which has been in the works for twenty years. Congressman Blake Farenthold, a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison introduced matching bills last spring in their respective houses. Both are Republicans, but the entire Texas delegation supported the measure in lockstep.

Exceptions already existed to the standard Interstate designation. The non-contiguous states and territories of Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico all have quasi-Interstates that were funded through the Interstate program despite the fact that they don’t meet the normal design criteria and, more obviously, will never connect to the rest of the system (unless we invade British Columbia and build some very impressive tunnels). But the new rule change is notable in that its reason for being is psychological, not geographical.

Existing freeway sections on I-69 route in Texas. Illustration / i69texasalliance.com

In practical terms, the relaxed criteria will allow Texas to erect Interstate 69 signs on about eighty miles of improved highway in the Lower Rio Grand Valley border region, despite the fact that these segments don’t actually connect to other Interstates. This new designation, local officials and businessmen believe, will enhance economic development opportunities, because developers, employers, and freight companies perceive an “Interstate” differently from a U.S. Highway, even if that U.S. Highway is built to Interstate standards.

This “Interstate” branding has been an obsession among the business community in the growing Lower Rio Grande Valley region, which bears the burden of being the largest metropolitan area in the country with no Interstate highway. Back in the mid-1990s, lobbyists for the Interstate 69 coalition (including Tom Delay’s brother Randy) won legislative approval to post “Future Interstate 69 Corridor” signs along U.S. 59, U.S. 281, and U.S. 77, from Texarkana through Houston and down to the Mexican Border.

The Interstate 69 project (about which I wrote a book) is the largest new construction project since the original interstate system, and has not been without controversy. Some states—such as Indiana, Arkansas, and Louisiana—are building Interstate 69 as a greenfield highway through untouched farms and forests. (And for about seven years, when Interstate 69 was part of Rick Perry’s Trans-Texas Corridor scheme, Texas was planning to do the same.) But other states—such as Kentucky and Texas—chose to upgrade existing highways to Interstate standards.

This is not the first time the rules have been changed to get Interstate 69 signs up faster. Last fall, the Federal Highway Administration made an exception and designated thirty-eight miles of the Western Kentucky Parkway as I-69, even though the road was not up to Interstate standards. Kentucky State Senator Dorsey Ridley told the Henderson Gleaner that the red white and blue signs held more magic than any actual roadwork could. “This will move economic development in a way people don’t realize,” he said “simply by putting up a shield called I-69.” Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez agreed, saying in a statement that "these improvements will create jobs now and encourage development in the future."

It’s a sign of our times—pardon the pun—that our public servants hope to create jobs by rebranding roadways, and that a reauthorization bill that failed to increase funding for real physical transformations to our infrastructure nevertheless lowered standards to allow more superficial transformations.

Now if we can just get the definition of “High Speed” rail down to 45 mph...

 

Matt Dellinger is the author of the book Interstate 69: The Unfinished History of the Last Great American Highway. You can follow him on Twitter.

Read More

Comments [1]

The Takeaway

Follow Friday: Employment Report and the Higgs Boson Particle

Friday, July 06, 2012

Friday on The Takeaway means a chance to look back at this week’s big stories. Talking about the new employment numbers, Anderson Cooper, the Higgs Boson particle and more are Jeff Yang, Charlie Herman, and Lisa Randall.

Comments [1]

Listen to Lucy

Don’t aim for the top unless you feel lucky

Monday, June 25, 2012

Don’t aim for the top unless you feel lucky

Comment

WNYC News

Message to Vets: Wall Street Wants You

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Military men and women leaving service are working their military skills into resumes and cover letters as they search for work. Several dozen attended a job fair on Wall Street Thursday, sponsored by financial firms, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.

Comment

The Takeaway

You'll Need A License For That

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Today, about 30 percent of Americans’ jobs require licenses: hair dressing, interior design, earth drilling, even floristry in some states. It’s a percentage that’s on the rise. Professional licenses can promote high standards and excellence in health and safety. But in our turbulent economy, where the unemployed turn to the service industry for work, regulation is often a burden. 

Comments [2]

Transportation Nation

Buoyed by Auto Industry, Swing State Employment Relatively Bright

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

President Obama at an Auto Plant Earlier this year (photo: Barack Obama.com)

The layers of irony could scarcely be denser.  Buoyed in part by automobile hiring, employment in swing states looks far better than the nation as a whole, providing a possible path to victory for President Barack Obama, who bailed out the big three auto manufacturers with a clothespin on his nose.

In Michigan, Ohio, Indiana and Missouri, the auto industry has been adding jobs at rapid clip,  according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  So that even though things were really bad in those states, they're now less bad.  Which is good news for the President.

"We know that this thing is going to be super tight," said a senior Democratic official.  "But we are absolutely of the belief that the swing states jobs numbers will be determinative in the fall."

By now, the national narrative is well known.  May's employment numbers were meh, signalling a heap of trouble for the President.  "He is the underdog," opined NPR's Mara Liasson, who then ticked off things that could only make the electoral picture worse for the Democrats:  the Euro crisis, the Chinese economy, etcetera. That pretty much sums up the conventional wisdom.

Except.

In the swing states, things are markedly better than they were two years ago, and in many of them, the employment picture is a whole lot brighter than the nation as a whole.

Take Michigan and Ohio.   According to April data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, both of those key states have "statistically significant unemployment rate changes" over April of last year. (May data won't be out until the end of next week.)  Ohio's rate is down 1.4 percent from last year, Michigan's is down 2.2 percent.

And even though Michigan's unemployment rate, at 8.3. percent, is a tick over the national average, that doesn't much matter, according to Howard Wial, a Brookings Institution Fellow who focuses on regional economic development. "Look at the direction, not the level," Wial admonishes.  "That's as well established as any fact on jobs and the elections."

Ohio is also helped along by natural gas drilling, as is Pennsylvania.  In Iowa and New Hampshire, the unemployment rate sounds like the 1990's -- 5.1 percent in Iowa, 5.0 in New Hampshire.

Even in states like North Carolina, Nevada and Florida, unemployment is trending downwards, though it's still higher than the national average. Unemployment is also dropping in Arizona and Wisconsin.  In Virginia it's just 5.6 percent.

"There have been three industry sources of growth over the last year or so," Wial says.  "The auto industry, information technology, and energy."

All located disproportionately, in swing states.

 

 

 

 

 

Read More

Comment

It's A Free Country ®

Buoyed by Automobile Hiring, Energy, & Tech, Swing State Employment Picture Outpaces Nation's

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

The layers of irony could scarcely be denser.  Buoyed in part by automobile hiring, employment in swing states looks far better than the nation as a whole, providing a possible path to victory for President Barack Obama, who bailed out the big three auto manufacturers with a clothespin on his nose.

Comments [1]

The Takeaway

Outlook for U.S. and Global Economies May Be Grim Following Weak Jobs Report

Monday, June 04, 2012

Following a weak employment report on Friday and continued grim news out of Europe, some worry the United States economy may be on pace for another slowdown.

Comments [1]

The Brian Lehrer Show

Today's Jobs, Tomorrow's Economy

Friday, June 01, 2012

Today's May jobs report shows a slowing recovery and a rise in unemployment to 8.2% Dan Gross, columnist and economics editor at Yahoo! Finance, discusses the report, and how the US is trying to rework its economy for future success. His new book is Better, Stronger, Faster: The Myth of American Decline . . . and the Rise of a New Economy.

Comments [29]

The Takeaway

Is the Recession Redefining American Masculinity?

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Economists consider workers between 25 and 54 to be in their prime, and fewer of them are working than at any point since 1948. That means America’s workforce is going through a dramatic shift. And so is the definition of the family breadwinner.

Comments [3]

The Takeaway

It's Not All Bad: Stories From Past Guests Who've Escaped Unemployment

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

After losing their jobs, some Americans have been able to rebuild their careers after slight adjustments to their job descriptions.

Comments [1]

The Brian Lehrer Show

Positive Economic Indicators: Found a Job?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Have you found a new job? Charlie Herman, WNYC business editor, reports that New York City added more jobs in the last four months than it had since the 1950s. Call in or post here with your positive economic indicators.

Comments [6]

The Leonard Lopate Show

The New Geography of Jobs

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

U.C. Berkely economist Enrico Moretti examines the factors reshaping America’s labor market—from globalization and income inequality to immigration and technology—and how these shifts are affecting our communities. His book The New Geography of Jobs draws on a wealth of stimulating new studies to outline policies that may address the social challenges that are arising.

Comments [20]

WNYC News

City's Tech Boom Leads to Hiring Crunch for Engineers

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

New York City has the nation’s fastest growing tech sector — and there are now more than 1,000 web-based technology start-ups in the city. But these signs of success are also harbingers of a problem: a snowballing demand for scarce engineers.

Comment

The Takeaway

What Obligations Does College Have to the Post-Collegiate Life?

Thursday, May 10, 2012

One of the most heated debates about education these days largely revolves around the fallout of the recession: with higher unemployment and fewer jobs available, many are quick to blame college education for its lack of practical applications in the workforce. But is this fair? Liz Coleman, President of Bennington College, is trying to reorient what we expect of education, and how that relates to employment.

Comment

The Takeaway

Listeners Respond: Advice for College Graduates

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

We had a great response to today's conversation about this year's crop of college graduates. Check out this collection of responses from viewers, who called, texted, and posted advice for those facing the job market for the first time.

Read More

Comments [1]

The Takeaway

College Grads Still Face Bleak Job Prospects

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

May is the start of college graduation season, when the nation’s bright and ambitious college seniors step out into the workforce — or hope to. But last week’s job numbers show job growth is still weak, and many soon-to-be college grads may find themselves dealing with bleak prospects for the time being. Aaron Smith, co-founder and executive director of Young Invincibles, is on the last stop of a 21-state bus tour holding roundtable discussions with young people to brainstorm solutions to youth unemployment.

 

Comments [18]