Posts filed under “Wages & Income”
I have been writing critiques of Wal-Mart’s wages and employment policies for years (see “How Wal-Mart Became A Welfare Queen” and “Wal-Mart’s Minimum Wage Breakdown“). Today, I break with tradition and offer up some positive perspectives on the retail giant’s recent actions.
A brief history of Wal-Mart and its enormous retail staff is telling. The company’s 2.2 million employees make it the world’s biggest private employer. It also is one of the largest employers in the U.S., with 1.3 million workers in 4,540 stores.
Wal-Mart has historically given shabby treatment to its huge workforce. As we noted recently, labor was seen as a cost rather than a driver of sales. Wal-Mart never seemed to think of its associates as human capital, just a cost. Beyond low wages, there was a history of forcing full-time employees to work part time to minimize even the meager benefits the company offered.
But financial success trumped philosophical enlightenment, and for most of Wal-Mart’s history the way it treated employees didn’t hurt results very much. Wal-Mart became the world’s biggest company byrevenue and it ranks among the 20 most profitable.
What we also know is that the way Wal-Mart treated employees was a major reason that turnover was very high compared with the rest of the retail industry.
Continues here: Wal-Mart Learns to Live Without Everyday Poverty Wages
This week, Los Angeles became the third major West Coast city and the biggest in the U.S. to agree to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour, an increase that will go into effect by 2020. Los Angeles follows Seattle, which will require employers with 500 workers or more to pay $15 by 2017….Read More
The data on this is fascinating:
Many people plan on supplementing their retirement funds by working past 65, but this plan may not be as sound as it seems. Bloomberg’s Suzanne Woolley breaks down the expectations and often unfortunate truths of working through retirement.
Source: Bloomberg May 18, 2015 7:32 AM EDT
Very interesting analysis on the Not in Labor Force cohort from Bloomberg Briefs:
In an economic cycle which has consistently been sluggish — from the overall pace of growth to wage pressures to inflation — the decline in the unemployment rate in the past several years has been truly impressive. Still, falling participation and rising wage inflation may be the more pressing labor trends for policy makers to watch.
After peaking at 10 percent in late 2009, the unemployment rate began a downtrend that has accelerated as the economy approaches full employment. As of March, the jobless rate was 5.5 percent, or 1.1 percentage points lower than a year ago. Barring the past few years, this pace of improvement has not been witnessed since the economy surged out of the deep recession of 1981-82, which was also the last time unemployment rose above 10 percent. In that period, real GDP grew in the vicinity of 8 percent, almost triple the current pace of 2.7 percent (both measures are the year-on-year percentage change of the four-quarter moving average).
The current decline in unemployment is much less impressive because of the concurrent fall in labor force participation (the sum of those who are employed or actively seeking employment as a share of the population). If potential workers become frustrated with the job search and stop actively looking, unemployment can fall for the wrong reasons as the participation rate also drops. This overstates the degree of improvement in the labor market. As a result, the trajectory of the participation rate will materially affect how policy makers interpret the unemployment rate’s approach toward 5 percent.
* snip *
The rest is at Bloomberg Briefs (subscription)
Executive compensation is in the news again as the Securities and Exchange Commission gets ready to issue new guidelines on pay disclosures. As mandated by the Dodd-Frank Act, the new rules are supposed to provide “greater transparency and allow shareholders to be better informed” about executive and director compensation. Transparency is certainly a good first step. But…Read More