Breakingviews

Review: The shirk ethic – a user’s guide

November 28, 2014

Work can be seen as a blessing or a curse. In “Empty Labor,” Roland Paulsen examines people who take mostly the latter view, asking how and why they shirk, and whether it’s always a bad thing. His study of idleness on the job is enlightening, amusing and sad.

America: land of phantom job openings

November 7, 2014

At 4.8 mln, it’s the most positions free since January 2001. Yet the hiring rate keeps falling. The largest gap is in low-wage roles. Comparatively high unemployment for less-educated workers suggests a skills deficit isn’t the problem. Companies just aren’t adding personnel.

Wal-Mart can win leading the way on minimum wage

May 22, 2014

The mega-retailer’s labor costs would rise by $2 bln with a higher U.S. pay floor. But it also has more low-wage customers than employees, thus translating into a net gain in earnings, a Breakingviews analysis shows. Taking a stand on the issue could pay off for Wal-Mart.

Improving U.S. jobs trend favors old over young

March 9, 2012

A solid 227,000 jobs were added in February, with upward revisions for past months. In the last five years, people aged 55 and over have gained 3.6 mln jobs, while younger workers have lost 7.6 mln. The incentives of shrunken savings and funny money are doubly harming the young.

There’s something rotten with U.S. labor picture

November 2, 2012

Friday’s employment report was relatively OK, and good for Obama, with 171,000 job gains. But 32 months from the bottom and only half of lost jobs have been recovered. What’s clear is that each recession is becoming harder than the last, hinting at larger structural problems.

Scrambling on job creation

November 12, 2009

The new emphasis on jobs might be too late. Indeed, new is the appropriate word since the first package was not geared toward creating jobs so much as increasing economic output, as Lawrence Summers recently clarified.

Bracing for a winter of jobs discontent

November 6, 2009

Those looking for good news in the U.S. labor market are increasingly being forced to scrape the bottom of the statistical barrel.

Return to U.S. workforce of old a mixed blessing

February 6, 2014

The 6.7 pct jobless rate is flattered by low participation. A return to the 2006 level would mean 8 mln more job-seekers. But that’s not realistic. Sure, boomers could retire sooner. But as a Breakingviews calculator shows, demographics, college and disability work the other way.

U.S. is minimum-wage laggard given its prosperity

March 3, 2014

With Washington considering a higher pay floor and Peru’s prime minister losing his job over the issue, a Breakingviews analysis shows global minimum wages as a percentage of per-capita GDP vary widely. By this measure, the U.S. and, say, Mexico have plenty of space to lift pay.