Tag Archive for 'U.S. Department of Labor'

ABC’s Mike Bellaman Appointed to Task Force on Apprenticeship Expansion for all Americans

Michael D. Bellaman, president and CEO of Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC), has been appointed by U.S. Department of Labor Secretary R. Alexander Acosta  to the Task Force on Apprenticeship Expansion, created by President Trump’s June 15 Executive Order 13801.

“I am excited to join Secretary Acosta’s task force to expand opportunities to citizens nationwide who want to live the American Dream while helping to build and rebuild our country,” said Bellaman. “As the president promised in his election night acceptance speech, every single American will have the opportunity to realize his or her fullest potential under his administration. That sentiment will drive this task force as we work to promote affordable education and rewarding jobs for all Americans.”

According to the order, the task force will submit to the president strategies and proposals focused on four areas:

  • Federal initiatives to promote apprenticeships;
  • Administrative and legislative reforms facilitating the formation and success of apprenticeship programs;
  • The most effective strategies for creating industry-recognized apprenticeships; and
  • The most effective strategies for amplifying and encouraging private-sector initiatives to promote apprenticeships.

The task force’s membership represents a wide range of American companies as well as trade, industry and educational groups. The task force comes at a critical time for industries like construction, which employs about 7.5 million people. By ABC’s estimates, the construction industry needs to hire 500,000 skilled workers to fill a backlog of existing jobs. That number could balloon to more than one million job vacancies if Congress and the president approve a $1 trillion infrastructure bill. Reducing barriers to meet the needs of the construction industry and America’s workforce is vital to fill this gap.

“This is an opportune moment for the next generation of American workers and a valuable step for the American economy,” Bellaman said. “Regardless of their access to higher education, all Americans deserve the chance to acquire a variety of skills that can lead to high-paying and fulfilling careers. I am ready to collaborate with my task force colleagues to recommend to the Trump administration the most effective strategies to expand apprenticeship opportunities for all Americans.”


Wells Fargo Reports That Nonfarm Employment Springs Forward in April

Nonfarm employment bounced back from its weather-induced March slowdown. Payrolls added 211,000 jobs in April and the unemployment rate fell to 4.4 percent. Hours worked and hourly earnings also rose solidly.

A Solid Report

Nonfarm employment rose by 211,000 in April and the unemployment rate fell to 4.4 percent. Net revisions to prior months’ data only deducted about 6,000 jobs, and the average gain for the past three months remains a solid 174,000 jobs. Job gains were fairly broad-based, with just over 60 percent of the industry groups surveyed by the BLS adding jobs in April. The overall quality of jobs being created improved, with a substantial acceleration in hiring for full-time positions and deceleration in part-time jobs.

The employment data through the first four months of this year have been significantly impacted by a number of seasonal influences. Unseasonably mild winter weather in the Northeast and Midwest allowed for construction activity to ramp up a little earlier than usual this year, leading to strong gains in construction jobs in January and February. With hiring rising earlier in the year, there was less of subsequent pick up this spring, leading to smaller-than-usual seasonally-adjusted gains in March and April.

The late Easter also wreaked havoc on employment data at retailers and in hospitality. Easter came at the end of the April survey week, which weighed on retail and hospitality employment in March and set the table for a strong bounce back in April, particularly in the hospitality sector, which added 55,000 jobs. About half the increase in hospitality jobs was in food services & drinking places. By contrast, retailers added just 6,000 jobs, reflecting store closings announced after this past year’s disappointing holiday shopping season and the loss of market share to online retailers.

Average hourly earnings rose 0.3 percent in April and are now up 2.5 percent year-to-year. Hiring in higher-paying industries grew more modestly. Construction added just 5,000 jobs and manufacturers added 6,000 jobs. Hiring in mining & logging rose by 10,000 positions, reflecting increased oil production. Healthcare & social services, professional & business services and financial services all posted solid gains in April. While average hourly earnings rose only modestly, total hours worked rose by a stronger 0.5 percent in April. Taken together, the two gains should produce solid income growth in April and help drive a rebound in consumer spending during the second quarter.

The unemployment rate fell to 4.4 percent in April, as household employment outpaced labor force growth. The labor force participation rate fell slightly during the month but the participation rate for prime-working age workers actually increased. The broader U-6 measure of unemployment fell to 8.6 percent, which in part reflects the recent shift toward more fulltime jobs being created relative to part-time positions. The improved mix of jobs being created should pull more job seekers into the labor force. The acceleration in full-time positions is also consistent with the recent acceleration in household formations and homeownership.

Source: U.S. Department of Labor, U.S. Department of Commerce and Wells Fargo Securities

4th annual National Fall Prevention Safety Stand-Down begins May 8

This year’s National Fall Prevention Safety Stand-Down, from May 8-12, encourages companies and workers to observe a pause during the workday for topical discussions, safety demonstrations, and training in hazard recognition and fall prevention.

The stand-downs should also provide an opportunity for employers and their workers to talk about hazards, protective methods and the company’s safety policies, goals and expectations. The length of a stand-down is up to the employer.

The lack of proper fall protection is the violation cited most frequently by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspectors. Joining OSHA in raising awareness about fall-related incidents are several partners, including the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and the Center for Construction Research and Training.

OSHA anticipates thousands of employers nationwide to participate in 2017. To guide their efforts, the agency is offering a National Fall Prevention Safety Stand-Down webpage with information on conducting a successful event, how to post local events, and additional educational resources in English and Spanish. Employers are encouraged to provide feedback after their events, and to obtain a personalized certificate of participation.

Also supporting the event are the National Occupational Research Agenda, OSHA-approved State Plans, state consultation programs, the American Society of Safety Engineers, the National Safety Council, the National Construction Safety Executives, the U.S. Air Force and the OSHA Training Institute Education Centers.

For more facts on preventable falls, watch this new short video. To learn more about preventing falls in construction, visit http://www.osha.gov/stopfalls/.

Wells Fargo — Grading the Labor Market Ahead of Graduation Day

The strongest labor market in a decade bodes well for the Class of 2017, but young workers, including college grads, still face a challenging labor market relative to older workers.

Temper Those Graduation Party Plans

The Class of 2017 looks set to graduate into the strongest labor market in a decade. The unemployment rate has fallen to its lowest level since before the recession while labor force participation has stabilized despite the aging population. But how does the labor market for young workers measure up?

College graduates have typically had more success in the labor market, hence the willingness of many college-goers to take on debt in order to finance their education. The unemployment rate for all college grads has averaged less than half that of the overall unemployment rate over the past two decades. For young college graduates, however, the right job is not always found quickly. Historically, the unemployment rate for college grads under the age of 25 has run closely in line with the headline unemployment rate. Yet over the past year, the unemployment rate for young college grads has been little changed (top chart).

The stubbornly higher rate of joblessness for young degree holders over the past few years has likely been in part due to greater labor force attachment. Since the onset of the Great Recession in 2008, the labor force participation rate for college grads 20-24 years has fallen less than the overall participation rate.

Nevertheless, there are other signs that young workers, including college grads, still face a relatively daunting labor market. Under-employment remains more pervasive for young workers. In terms of hours, 20-24 yearolds are most likely to find themselves employed part time despite wanting full-time work (middle chart). Others find themselves overqualified for the job they hold. According to data from the New York Fed, 43 percent of college grads ages 22-27 are in jobs that do not typically require a degree compared to 34 percent of all college grads.

At the same time, wage growth among young workers embarking on a career continues to lag. Whereas teenagers have benefited from higher minimum wage laws, median weekly earnings for 20-24 year olds has trailed other age groups since the past recession (bottom chart).

The slow rate of earnings growth for young workers stands to exacerbate the student debt challenges faced by college-goers. However, while debt burdens continue to climb with each successive class (the Institute for College Access & Success estimated the average debt burden for the Class of 2015 at $30,100), there are indications that borrowers are having a slightly easier time coping. The share of federal loans currently in repayment—both in terms of dollars outstanding and number of recipients—has increased over the past year, while delinquency rates have edged lower. That may have more to do with the growth in income-based repayment plans, however, than the (slowly) improving labor market. Over the past year, the number of federal loan recipients on income-driven plans has risen by 1.37 million while falling slightly for non-income based plans.

Source: U.S. Department of Labor and Wells Fargo Securities

Wells Fargo New Jersey Labor Market Update: March 2017

New Jersey payroll employment slipped by 17,500 jobs in March while February’s gain was revised down to 10,900 jobs. The unemployment rate still dropped to 4.2 percent in March, matching its pre-recession low.

New Jersey’s Unemployment Rate Falls to 16-Year Low

Similar to the U.S. jobs report, March was a disappointing month for nonfarm payrolls in New Jersey, but the unemployment rate continued to drop. Nonfarm payrolls declined by 17,500 jobs during the month, with losses fairly broad based across the private sector. The largest cuts were in leisure & hospitality, professional & business services and trade, transportation & utilities. Some of the softness may have been temporary or weather-related, as the state was hit by a large winter storm during the March survey week. Most of the state’s major employment sectors added to payrolls over the past year, although construction hiring appears to have pulled back at bit, which bears watching.

New Jersey’s household employment data was less impacted by the weather and was much more positive. Notably, the state’s unemployment rate fell 0.2 percentage points to 4.2 percent which matched its pre-recession low. Civilian employment rose by 9,800 workers, while the labor force declined slightly. As a result, the number of unemployed declined. New Jersey’s unemployment rate is the lowest since May 2007. The state’s labor force participation rate is 2.7 percentage points lower, however.

NJ Employment Back to Pre-Recession Level: Now More Diverse

Benchmark revisions reveal that New Jersey payroll employment had actually surpassed its previous cycle high in September 2016, contrasting with previously published data. Now that the state has passed this milestone, we looked at how New Jersey’s employment base has changed over the past decade. Manufacturing employed 80,000 fewer workers in 2016 than in 2006, while government payrolls were down by 35,000 jobs. The combination of fallout from the housing bust and automation erased thousands of jobs in the finance, information and construction industries. A decade ago, New Jersey housed back office operations of financial firms in New York City— jobs vulnerable to automation and streamlining. Similarly, most of the decline in the information industry was in telecommunications and print publishing—sectors also impacted by changing technology.

New Jersey’s employment base is now more diverse, making it less exposed to industry-specific declines than a decade ago. The bottom chart illustrates that declines in government, manufacturing, construction, finance and information jobs were offset by gains in a broad spectrum of industries. Ambulatory health care, which includes outpatient care and doctors’ offices, saw the largest increase over the decade, followed by professional services, education and food services. Although it took New Jersey more than two years longer than the nation to rebuild its job base after the Great Recession, the diversification of the Garden State’s industrial base should make the state a little less cyclical than it has been in the past.

Source: U.S. Department of Labor and Wells Fargo Securities