Posts Tagged ‘workers’

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Neil King, Jr., for the Wall Street Journal, is perplexed:

It is in many ways both the ultimate economic puzzle and the great political challenge: Why have American incomes remained so flat, for so long, and what can be done to change that?

Uh, well. Maybe it’s this, maybe it’s that. King just can’t be bothered to figure it out.

So, let’s help him out: American incomes are flat precisely because of the anti-union, free-trade, decrease-taxes, cut-social-programs, don’t-raise-the-minimum-wage policies his newspaper has been promoting for the past three decades.

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Martin Rowson 15.09.14 Boots on the Ground

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Americans, as we know, work many more hours than people in other advanced countries. As it turns out, they also work many more strange hours: on weekends and at night.

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According to a new study by Daniel S. Hamermesh and Elena Stancanelli, “Long Workweeks and Strange Hours” [pdf], the United States has the highest incidence of people reporting any paid weekend work. Twenty-nine percent of Americans reported performing such work in the American Time Use Survey, more than three times the rate among Spanish workers. And twenty-seven percent of American workers report working nights, which the study defines rather strictly as any work performed between 10 PM and 6 AM.

American workers appear to be performing more work at less desirable times as well as working longer hours than their counterparts in other wealthy countries.

The authors also find that

only a small part of the relatively high incidence of such work in the U.S. is due to Americans’ long work weeks. The large majority of the differences between the U.S. and other countries appears to result from differences in the way that work is structured in America.

The conclusion: Americans are being forced to have the freedom to work both more and stranger hours in this increasingly strange land.

Chart of the day

Posted: 14 September 2014 in Uncategorized
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Americans, as we know, are forced to have the freedom to labor more hours than do workers in other advanced countries.

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10494557_10152674250669060_2797219256561015093_n Martin Rowson 07.09.14

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The current recovery has been good for American business. Not so much for the country’s workers.

And, in the eyes of Harvard’s business alumni, that’s pretty much the way things are going to continue for the foreseeable future.

According to a Harvard Business School study released today, “An Economy Doing Half its Job” [pdf], respondents were relatively optimistic about the future of businesses, with 31 percent expecting them to be better able to compete in global markets in three years and 26 percent expecting them to be less able. (See the right and left columns of Figure 1 above, respectively.) In contrast, 41 percent foresaw lower wages and benefits, and only 27 percent anticipated higher wages and benefits. (See the top and bottom rows, respectively.)

Clearly, the authors of the report are worried about the potential effects of this growing gap between the trajectories of American corporations and the workers they employ:

Shortsighted executives may be satisfied with an American economy whose firms win in global markets without lifting U.S. living standards. But any leader with a long view understands that business has a profound stake in the prosperity of the average American. Thriving citizens become more productive employees, more willing consumers, and stronger supporters of pro-business policies. Struggling citizens are disgruntled at work, frugal at the cash register, and anti-business at the ballot box. We agree strongly with this view: businesses cannot succeed for long while their communities languish.