You’d have to work fewer than 10 hours a week to be as productive as a 40-hour worker in 1950. The number of weekly hours needed for workers to equal a 1950s level of output has consistently declined by at least half an hour per year ever since - so even if you work 23 hours a week, you’re still more productive than you would have been in 1975. Source
No Job…And a Mortgage: Why Not Try A Short Sale?

If you are headed for foreclosure the urge to jump at any offer of help may be overwhelming. Even though the government is cracking down on foreclosure avoidance scam artists it seems as if when one goes down, another comes along to take his or her place. Do not, under any circumstances, pay anyone to stop your foreclosure. Be leery of anyone that claims to be able to deal with your lender better than you and asks for his fee upfront. Never sign anything unless you run the documents by your attorney first.

How the Rich and Poor Spend Money Today—and 30 Years Ago

Every year, the Bureau of Labor Statistics tells us what the typical American spends on everything from his rent to his reading material. There’s just one problem. In a country with growing income inequality, the typical American leaves out a lot of Americans.

For example, poorest quintile of Americans spends about $22,000 each year. The richest quintile spends about $100,000 each year. (The richest 1 percent spends hundreds of thousands of dollars each year.) So to understand how Americans really spend our money, it helps to break us down into groups. And, since the BLS has been producing this spending survey for nearly 30 years, it’s even more helpful to track those groups over time to see how the American budget is changing.

Read more. [Image: Reuters]
US employers add 217K jobs, rate stays at 6.3 pct

U.S. employers added 217,000 jobs in May, a substantial gain for a fourth straight month, fueling hopes that the economy will accelerate after a grim start to the year.

The May figure was down from 282,000 in April, a figure that the government revised slightly down, the Labor Department said Friday. But monthly job growth has now averaged 234,000 for the past three months, up sharply from 150,000 in the previous three.

The unemployment rate, which is calculated from a separate survey, remained 6.3 percent.

The job market has reached a significant milestone: Nearly five years after the Great Recession ended, the economy has finally regained all the jobs lost in the downturn.

Still, more job growth is needed because the U.S. population has grown nearly 7 percent since then. Economists at the liberal Economic Policy Institute have estimated that 7 million more jobs would have been needed to keep up with population growth.

Pay growth remains below the levels typical of a healthy economy. Average wages have grown roughly 2 percent a year since the recession ended, well below the long-run average annual growth rate of about 3.5 percent.

Especial Angela Davis: a juventude como força política,

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Bad News For Republicans: Obamacare Still NOT A Job Killer As 217,000 Jobs Added In May, Healthcare Adds The Most

Bad News For Republicans: Obamacare Still NOT A Job Killer As 217,000 Jobs Added In May, Healthcare Adds The Most

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On March 31, 2014, the Obamacare open enrollment deadline passed. Over 8 million Americans successfully enrolled and gained health insurance coverage. Over six million more gained coverage through Medicaid expansion. Despite Republican claims that the sky would fall and send the US job market into a death spiral, it did not fall and it still hasn’t.

For the fourth consecutive month, the economy…

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Illustration by PolicyMic’s excellent Tran Vo for an article that Liz Plank and I wrote in PolicyMic and HuffPo.

IF SOMEONE SAYS TO YOU: “THE WAGE GAP IS A MYTH” Don’t let them get away with it… 

            Today is Equal Pay day, ladies!  This is the day that our wages catch up with our male peers’ 2013 earnings!  Another way of thinking about this is that, American men could have stopped working on January 1st and not have had to start until today to make what we will make working the whole year. Harsh, I know. Seems unbelievable, but, c’est la vie!   

            This gap costs the typical American woman $400,000 during the course of her lifetime. What could you do with that money? Would you save up to buy a home? Put it in a college fund?  Buy food to feed your family? Pay doctors bills?  Dump an ancient car and finance a new one?  Elizabeth Plank and I set up a tumblr asking just that question (go post what you would do if you got a 25-45% raise today). 

            The Bureau of Labor Statistics catalogs 534 job types.  Men make less than women in precisely seven of them. Last week, Tennessee Republican Lamar Alexander demanded to know what gender gap legislation would do to help them.  If we had the time, we could have a super interesting and nuanced conversation about why patriarchy and justice are incompatible. But, sadly, we don’t. Instead, I when I’m done here, I will go read about fear responses in conservative amygdala and try to finish embroidering, “Patience is a virtue,” on the backside of a Notorious RBG bag for my daughter.

             The back-and-forth conversation about equal pay, in which we have been saying mainly the same things for more than the ten years of no narrowing of the gap, sounds like a fight between two four-year olds.  The commonly cited .77 cents to the dollar number oversimplifies a gap that reflects several factors impossible to encapsulate in a sentence, for example, sex segregation in the workplace and the long-term impacts of working part-time or full-time.  When skeptics express their objections to the notion that a gender gap in pay exists, and that it has practical impact on women’s day-to-day lives, what they are saying is, “employers are not blatantly sexist and paying the average female employee only 77% of what they pay men doing the same job.” (Which, actually, happens all the time, but we’ll move along.)  Technically, their responses to this statement are legitimate in that that number, 77%, is a reflection of median earnings of ALL full-time employed women against the earnings of full-time employed white men. Stating it this way is useful, because it simplifies a lot of data, and misleading, because it simplifies a lot of data. The gap differs by occupation, by race and ethnicity and within ethnic groups.

It is indisputable, however, despite the fiction of a “debate.” White men, the $1.00 benchmark earners that we measure everyone else in the United States against, make

13% more than Asian women

21% more than White women

34% more than Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander women

36% more than African American women

40% more than American Indian and Alaskan Native women and

47% more than Hispanic and Latina women

Within each racial and ethnic category there is a gender gap, the widest being that between white men and white women, 78%.

Here are ten facts we don’t often hear but should talk about. Certainly when someone is saying to you, “the pay gap isn’t real.” Or, better yet, as was suggested in Politico, you’re probably lying.

  1.  The United States gender pay gap is among the worst in the developed world.   We rank 67th for “wage equality for similar work” among 135 countries that represent 90% of the world’s population.
  2. General wage inequality is inseparable from gender wage inequality. Any solutions proposed for fixing the first problem that are not informed by the latter one, will fail.  And yet, amazingly, you can often read entire summations of the wage gap problem in our country with nary a word about this.
  3. This gap hurts everyone, but women and children materially suffer the most.  It particularly hurts low wage, part-time working women who are unable to save. This has intergenerational effects.
  4. The structures that perpetuate it penalize women (and their dependent families) who seek genuine equality (which includes economic autonomy) and who, oddly, seek relationships not defined by financial dependency
  5. The wage gap is part of a larger gender-based wealth transfer evident in an even larger and more meaningful wealth gap.
  6. It’s global.  Every country in the world relies on the unpaid, unrecognized, unaccounted for domestic care work done primarily by women. The reality that this work needs to happen, and that women absorb the vast bulk of its costs (children, home life, and the elderly) is a major element to the gender wage gap.
  7. It hasn’t narrowed in ten years and it will not unless we adapt our structural biases to meet modern needs, something that takes collective will.  The number of people willing to vote for politicians who say, as a Wisconsin state senator did last year in the process of blocking fair pay legislation, that “money might be more important for men,” or that “women are too busy” to deal with fair pay through the law, indicates that we have a long way to go on the will front.
  8. The wage gap, and the structural reasons that perpetuate it, are why the US, which in 1990 had the 6th highest female labor participation rate among the 22 most developed economies in the word, had fallen to 17th twenty years later. The United States is the only country that has not pursued family/work policies that encourage women to work or facilitate their being able to achieve leadership positions.
  9. Sex segregation in the workplace, a second major component of the wage gap, will not end until we integrate gender equity objectives into our educational objectives.
  10. Sexism pays well.  Men with traditional views on gender roles are paid more than men with egalitarian beliefs. Their wives’ unpaid labor at home is a financial asset for in a workplace optimized for the ideal, single income, male worker. The fact that 50% of marriages end in divorce doesn’t seem to register for too many women. This American “father knows best” workplace environment, affects all women’s lives every day. We just don’t recognize the lifelong sexism of it.

         Unfortunately, mainstream media does very little to help people understand these gaps with nuance.  You have undoubtedly heard along the way somewhere that Equal Pay is a myth, a political lie that progressives and feminist tell to serve their male-hating purposes. Maybe in your workplace, or at the dinner table, or in a train, or in the dentist’s office, or at a school PTA meeting, or on the sidelines of a kid’s football game. You get the point.  Every year the mendacious and money-hungry she-demons at the American Association of University Women publish wage gap research,  “The Simple Truth,” to try and help spread the word.  It is, strangely, always corroborated by other major studies.  I have never understood this. Fiscal conservatives should WANT to close the wage gap. But, it’s not about money in the end. What this particular resistance to rational change ends up being about is a certain kind of social and economic patrimony.

            Critiques almost always come down to blaming women for “individual choices.” The analysis usually stops there, which is the equivalent of swimming halfway across river and deciding you are too tired to make it to the other side, then turning back and swimming the exact same distance to your place of origin.  The logical conclusion of this approach requires believing that women of color are biologically destined to make bad decisions, the darker the worse the decision apparently, while men of paler hues are biologically destined to make superior ones, which is simple discrimination and bias.  Oh. Well.  It’s oppressive and expensive and the denialism is counterproductive.

            Women’s “choices” remain defined and constrained by institutionalized sexism and racism , implicit biases and gender and race-based stereotype threats that start at birth and never end.  Speaking of which…did you know that today, despite women’s educational achievement and ambitions, the top job for women is the same as it was in 1960? Secretaries and administrative assistant – 97% of whom are women, mostly working for men with higher wage jobs and status, who have been proven to hold attitudes hostile to women in the workplace.  This has nothing to do with genuine choice and is not very complicated. It’s everyday sexism. We don’t acknowledge for what it is and we aren’t teaching our children to either. It would help if we put the “debate” to rest and got on with the business of fixing the problem.

Watch on

The number of people reporting unemployment dropped to 8.6 percent in November, down from 9 percent the month before.

According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the economy added 120,000 jobs in the last month but not all the numbers are positive. While fewer people claim to be unemployed, the numbers are deceiving.

Instead of people getting work, they are simply giving up looking for a job. Just this month, 300,000 people stopped looking.

“Up until now, I’ve worked 12 years in the title insurance business.” says Candi Campbell of Texarkana.

But, those part time hours weren’t enough to satisfy Campbell and her family. She had to make a choice. So she quit, in hopes for something better. She says, “I didn’t lose my job but I knew I had to find something that would give me more hours, better pay.”

Campbell did some part-time substitute teaching last spring but has been unemployed for months, just like thousands of people across the nation.

Dr. Michael Pakko, chief economist at UALR says, “Well, we have seen a decline in the labor force participation which indicates some people have just left the labor force by not looking for a job or choosing to take early retirement.”

Pakko, says despite the 120,000 jobs added to the U.S. economy last month…we shouldn’t take those numbers at face value.

It’s a curious situation, because actually FEWER people are searching. Some have simply given up hope.

Pakko says, “Typically we see enrollment in colleges and universities increase during hard economic times.”

Read more from KTHV…

How Dangerous Is It To Be A Cop?

Via Peter Frase:

Policing is not the country’s safest job, to be sure. But as the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries shows, it’s far from the most dangerous.

The 2012 data reports that for “police and sheriff’s patrol officers,” the Fatal Injury Rate — that is, the “number of fatal occupational injuries per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers” — was 15.0.

That includes all causes of death — of the 105 dead officers recorded in the 2012 data, only 51 died due to “violence and other injuries by persons or animals.” Nearly as many, 48, died in “transportation incidents,” i.e., crashing their cars.

Here are some occupations with higher fatality rates than being a cop:

  • Logging workers: 129.9
  • Fishers and related fishing workers: 120.8
  • Aircraft pilots and flight engineers: 54.3
  • Roofers: 42.2
  • Structural iron and steel workers: 37.0
  • Refuse and recyclable material collectors: 32.3
  • Drivers/sales workers and truck drivers: 24.3
  • Electrical power-line installers and repairers: 23.9
  • Farmers, ranchers and other agricultural managers: 22.8
  • Construction laborers: 17.8
  • Taxi drivers and chauffeurs: 16.2
  • Maintenance and repairs workers, general: 15.7

And for good measure, some more that approach the allegedly terrifying risks of being a police officer:

  • First-line supervisors of landscaping, lawn service, and groundskeeping workers: 14.7
  • Grounds maintenance workers: 14.2
  • Athletes, coaches, umpires, and related workers: 13.0

Needless deaths are always tragic.  But you are more likely to die driving a taxi in New York City than you are to die as a cop.  Despite what the NYPD would have you believe, being a police officer is not the most dangerous job in America.  Far from it, actually.  It’s not even in the top ten.