Business

NY Times Admits: Tight Labor Market Raises U.S. Wages on Dairy Farms

President Trump’s crackdown on illegal immigration in the United States is producing higher wages and better working conditions on American dairy farms, the New York Times admits. Though 1.5 million legal immigrants continue to be admitted to the country every year, and illegal immigration at the U.S.-Mexico border soars to historic levels, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency efforts to go after employers who hire illegal aliens are proving to be an economic surplus for lower-wage workers. The latest New York Times report on immigration details complaints from dairy farmers who argue that they needed illegal aliens to survive as a viable business. Recent ICE raids of dairy farms, they claim, have made dairy farming more difficult as they can no longer readily rely on cheaper, foreign workers. Dairy farm workers, on the other hand, are seeing the benefits of Trump’s “Hire American” tight labor market through increased wages and better working conditions: Without a legal alternative to informal migrant labor, the competition between dairy farms to retain migrant workers is so fierce that farm owners, once notorious for underpaying and mistreating workers, are now improving working conditions and wages to entice employees to stay on their farms, workers said. Victor Cortez is an immigrant who has worked on a dairy farm in western New York for 18 years. A few years ago, farm owners “wouldn’t let us leave the farm,” he said, adding, “They wouldn’t pay us as much as they promised they would.” “But the good thing about it now,” he said, “is that we get paid more and this farmer is good to me.” For decades, a flooded labor market for America’s working and middle class due to mass legal and illegal immigration has produced generations of low-wage workers, stagnant salaries, and a cheaper labor economy — a benefit to employers at the expense of American workers. Center for Immigration Studies Director Mark Krikorian said that rather than U.S. dairy farms relying on an endless flow of cheaper, foreign workers, the federal government ought to provide subsidized loans for smaller dairy farmers to invest in robots and machines that can do the work more efficiently and without Americans having to subsidize the cost of illegal alien labor. A Bloomberg report from 2015 highlighted the effectiveness of dairy farmers mechanizing: A recent analysis by Goldman Sachs revealed how Trump’s tightened labor market for America’s working and middle class helped grow wages by four percent in 12 months. ICE has played a crucial role in carrying out Trump’s “Hire American” economic nationalist agenda by indirectly reducing the foreign competition, which U.S. workers have been subjected to. Last fiscal year, for example, ICE agents deported more than a quarter of a million illegal aliens, including more than 95,000 deportations of illegal aliens who were living in the interior of the country. Currently, the nation’s Washington, DC-imposed policy on mass legal immigration — where about 1.5 million unskilled legal immigrants are admitted to the U.S. every year — is a boon to corporate executives, Wall Street, big business, and multinational conglomerates, as working and middle-class Americans have their wealth redistributed to the country’s top earners through wage stagnation. Research by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine has discovered that immigration to the country shifts about $500 billion in wages away from working and middle-class Americans to new arrivals and economic elites.

From pens to notebooks, office theft on the rise

Accidentally slip some of those new office Opens a New Window. pens into your bag to save a couple bucks? Discretely tuck some of your employer’s new manilla folders into your briefcase? If so, join the club of office thieves whose numbers have been on the rise over the last 15 years. According to data from the Association of Certified Fraud Examiner, office Opens a New Window. stealing of noncash items — ranging from scissors and notebooks, to staplers and paperclips, has ballooned to 21 percent of corporate-theft losses in 2018 from 10.6 percent in 2002. The Atlantic, Opens a New Window. which was first to report the trend, added that most workers aren’t even coy about it, with more than 52 percent of workers admitting they steal company property in a survey from 2013. Hot items include scissors, notebooks, staplers and tape, especially during the gift-wrapping holidays. The uptick has even forced managers to routinely stock up on 20 percent more supplies in order to account for lost items right off the bat. Mark Doyle, the president of the loss-prevention consultancy Jack L. Hayes International, told The Atlantic that there are a few factors to blame for office ransacking. He points to the decrease in supervision and the uptick in employees working from home for the increase.

Payless to liquidate stores and wind down e-commerce arm

Payless is about to enter the graveyard of retailers Opens a New Window. The company spokesperson confirmed to FOX Business Opens a New Window. it will begin a broad liquidation in the coming days. “Payless will begin liquidation sales at its U.S. and Puerto Rico stores on February 17, 2019, and is winding down its e-commerce operations. We expect all stores to remain open until at least the end of March and the majority will remain open until May. This process does not affect the Company’s franchise operations or its Latin American stores, which remain open for business as usual” according to the statement. The discount shoe retailer, according to its website, has “nearly 3,600 stores in over 40 countries, Payless is a global brand” reads the description. It also states it is the “largest specialty family footwear retailer in the Western Hemisphere” which makes this process the largest ever for a retailer, as reported by Reuters. Payless has been dogged by liquidation rumors in recent weeks. On Thursday Reuters was first to report liquidation was imminent. Last year, it announced it would file for bankruptcy for the second time in two years, the company previously filed for bankruptcy in April 2017. Payless is hardly alone, store closures and retail bankruptcies are on the rise as e-commerce retailers such as Amazon Opens a New Window. continue to lure shoppers. While Sears avoided a massive liquidation, after CEO Eddie Lampert Opens a New Window. bid $5.2 billion for the bankrupt retailer he ran into the ground, many employees were not pleased he would still be controlling the company. Another retailer J.C. Penney Opens a New Window. is also struggling and recently outlined a new strategy to stay afloat.

The Green New Deal Threatens to Derail Colorado’s Economy

Oil and gas rigs have been popping up all across Colorado in recent years, as have jobs working the rigs. Colorado’s total oil production is valued at more than $9.9 billion for 2018—an estimated 62 percent higher than 2017, according to the University of Colorado Boulder’s most recent study of the state’s economy. The value of the state’s natural gas production in 2018 was estimated at $5.3 billion. Employment in the Colorado oil and gas industry has grown by more than 23 percent since 2016, now accounting for around 25,700 jobs. This year it is expected to grow another 4.8 percent. But now, the Green New Deal, proposed Thursday by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA), is threatening the state’s energy boom. The plan calls for the U.S. to completely abandon the use of fossil fuels over the next ten years. That would not just derail Colorado’s natural resource and mining sector but also the many businesses and jobs that have grown up to serve the energy boom. “Unexpected economic and political factors can change the trajectory of Colorado’s NRM employment outlook abruptly,” the University of Colorado Boulder study warned. Across the United States, the Green New Deal could threaten such extreme economic disruption that it could put into play states once considered safe for Democrats. That is especially true of Colorado, which accounts for almost 5 percent of the total crude oil produced in the United States and has far more to lose from the Green New Deal than places like New York and Massachusetts. In 2016, Hillary Clinton won 48.1 percent of Colorado’s votes. Donald Trump won just 43.1 percent. Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson took 5.1 percent. A Democrat candidate who embraced a plan that would certainly eliminate 25,000 oil and gas extraction jobs and likely another untold number of jobs indirectly related to the sector could create a political, as well as an economic, earthquake. Of course, the Green New Deal would also create jobs, according to its proponents. But while Colorado’s oil and natural gas jobs cannot be located outside of the state, there is no guarantee the new green jobs would be created there. Making matters worse, wind and solar energy farms can be operated with a far thinner workforce, which means that even if the Green New Deal’s new energy were produced in Colorado, it would employ far fewer workers. Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) is reportedly considering a presidential bid. This puts him in a political bind: support the Green New Deal program popular with the base of the national party or stand by his state’s economic interest. His office did not respond to a request for comment. Although natural resource drilling and mining employ just 1 percent of the Colorado workforce, the sector pulls above its weight calls in economic impact because the jobs generate some of the highest per worker income levels in the state. Average pay in the sector is 146 percent of the state average. The damage will go beyond just oil and natural gas. Coal jobs too would be killed off. According to a 2015 National Mining Association survey, the coal industry contributed $1.9 billion to Colorado’s economy and directly employed 3,723 workers, plus 12,977 indirect and induced jobs. In the United States, factories that produce equipment for mining and drilling have boomed in recent years on the backs of the technological innovations that have made the U.S. one of the world’s largest energy producers. These factories and the investments in them would go to waste in a Green New Deal that made fossil fuels obsolete or illegal. Investment in Colorado’s traditional energy sector would dry up. Whether investors burned by a government that turned against fossil fuels would willingly support investment in Green-New-Deal-favored energy projects is a risk—and certainly a risk for Colorado’s economy. Ocasio-Cortez portrays the Green New Deal as offering Americans a tremendous opportunity. And no doubt a new national program of green investment, subsidized by cheap government financing, would create many new wealthy entrepreneurs. But it also threatens jobs that Americans already have and depend upon for their livelihoods. Colorado, because it has such a high concentration of good jobs extracting fossil fuels, is one of the states that would be hit the hardest.

Agreed..  Thanks to John Carney for that sobering analysis.  All of us who are tax-paying voters here in the great state of Colorado need to keep this in mind in November of next year when we go to the polls..

Data: Foreign Workers See 4X the Job Growth of Americans in January

Foreign-born workers are continuing to make significant employment gains over native-born American workers, the latest federal job data reveals. For the month of January, foreign-born workers increased their labor participation rate year-to-year nearly nine times as much as native-born Americans. Likewise, foreign workers enjoyed nearly four times the job growth in January as American workers. While the foreign worker population increased about 3.4 percent year-to-year, the American worker population increased less than 0.9 percent over the same period. Even in unemployment data, foreign-born workers are vastly outpacing American workers. For January, foreign-born workers saw their unemployment rate drop 4.46 percent compared to this time last year. For native-born American workers, the unemployment rated dropped, but at a much slower pace, with a year-to-year decrease of about 2.22 percent. Though President Trump campaigned to decrease overall illegal and legal immigration to the U.S., regulatory curbs to immigration laws have not actually reduced the number of legal immigrants arriving in the country every year. About 1.5 million foreign nationals arrive in the U.S. annually, as well as the 1.5 million foreign workers occupying high-paying, white-collar American jobs at any given time. In December, November, October, and September of last year, foreign-born workers continuously made larger gains over American citizens in monthly employment and unemployment totals. While legal immigrants continued being admitted to the U.S. to take blue-collar working-class jobs and many white-collar, high-paying jobs, there remains 6.5 million Americans who are unemployed, 12.9 percent of whom are teenagers, and 6.8 percent of whom are black Americans. Overall, about remain about 1.3 million U.S. workers have been jobless for at least 27 weeks, accounting for about 19 percent of the unemployed population. Roughly 5.1 million workers are working part-time but want full-time jobs, and 1.6 million workers want a job, including 426,000 workers who are discouraged by their job prospects.

Labor Force Participation at Trump-Era High of 63.2% in January

The Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics said the economy added 304,000 jobs last month, higher than analysts were expecting. The number of employed Americans, 156,694,000, was slightly below last month’s record (156,945,000), and the unemployment rate increased a tenth of a point to 4.0 percent. But the labor force participation rate increased a tenth of a point to 63.2 percent — the highest it’s been on President Trump’s watch. In January, the nation’s civilian noninstitutionalized population, consisting of all people age 16 or older who were not in the military or an institution, reached 258,239,000 (lower than it was last month). Of those, 163,229,000 participated in the labor force by either holding a job or actively seeking one. The 163,229,000 who participated in the labor force equaled 63.2 percent of the 258,239,000 civilian noninstitutionalized population.

Manufacturing Production Soared in December

Production at American factories boomed in December. Output at U.S. factories grew 1.1 percent last month, the Federal Reserve said Friday. Economists had expected industrial production to be flat to barely rising. Compared with a year ago, industrial production rose 4 percent in December. Vehicle production jumped 4.7 percent in the month, boosted by demand for light trucks. Compared with a year ago, vehicle production is up 7.8 percent. Construction supplies production rose 1.6 percent. Business equipment production was up 0.5 percent, which is a good indicator that U.S. businesses continued to invest in expansion despite the rocky performance of the stock market in December. For the year, this is up 5.0 percent. Factory output accounts for about 75 percent of overall industrial output, which rose 0.3 percent for the month. That was in line with the forecast. On an annual basis, total industrial production rose 4.0 percent, much higher than 2.9 percent in 2017 and 2016’s paltry 0.5 percent gain. Mining production rose 1.5 percent, a sharp and unexpected increase. Production at utilities fell 6.3 percent, likely because December was unseasonably warm in much of the country. Capacity utilization, which measures actual production against what factories could potentially produce, rose by 0.1 percent to 78.7 percent. Economists had predicted a slight decline. The jump in factory output indicates that tariffs on steel and aluminum are not weighing on the U.S. as much as critics claimed they would. And the new tariffs on Chinese products, combined with tax cuts, appear to be encouraging domestic manufacturers to expand production. The December industrial production numbers indicate that earlier anecdotal reports and surveys that suggested a manufacturing slowdown were offbase.

No kidding!  More great news in this Trump economy!       🙂