employment

You may have never heard of Joseph Schumpeter, an eccentric Austrian economist who taught at Harvard in the 1930s and '40s. But to those of us who study the strategic and financial dynamics of innovation, he is far more influential than his peers John Maynard Keynes or Milton Friedman. Schumpeter is the guy who made the entrepreneur the engine of growth for an economy, and several Nobel Laureates since have suggested that he was right on most counts.

Michigan can expect “brisk” job growth at the start of 2015, according to a new report.

Twenty-five percent of Michigan employers tell Manpower they expect to hire new people during the first three months of 2015. Only Hawaii and North Dakota posted higher numbers.   

More and better jobs?

Oct 30, 2014

Incumbent Republican Governor Rick Snyder has been vague about what he would do in the next four years in office, saying only, "We're on the road to recovery." He also says he'll pursue "more and better jobs." Political observers expect Snyder will continue on the path he's established, working to stimulate businesses while keeping a tight rein on state spending.

In an ad, Snyder says, "Our unemployment rate is the lowest in six years with nearly 300,000 new private-sector jobs." 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The job prospects for college graduates are improving.

A new Michigan State University study predicts a 16% increase in hiring of college students graduating during the 2014-15 academic year. For the past few years, the MSU study only predicted about a 2% to 4%  growth rate in college graduate hiring.

“We’re getting back to where we were in 2008 before everything turned down,” says Phil Gardner, the director of MSU’s Collegiate Employment Research Institute.

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Even with the unemployment rate at 7.5% in Michigan, employers say they still can’t find the skilled workers they need to fill available jobs.

But other voices question the skills gap, calling it "overblown", even a "myth" and suggesting that it’s really more the fault of the companies.

Lou Glazer is president and co-founder of Michigan Future. He says companies should take the responsibility making jobs more attractive.

“When you look at the package employers have put together to attract people to the industry, it ain’t so great,” says Glazer.

For cyclical industries like manufacturing and construction, when the employment package is not great, the employers likely get a small pool of entrants.

User: *Grant* / flickr

The University of Michigan’s preliminary reading on September consumer confidence came in at 84.6, marking the highest level in 14 months.  

Improved outlook reflected by this estimate today could mean Americans feel more comfortable about their spending.

This fall, hiring at Kroger and Meijer are on the rise, too.

Kroger has announced it will hire 20,000 permanent positions at its supermarkets, including roughly 1,800 in Michigan.

These days, workplaces of all kinds from radio stations to corporate offices are filled with interns, mainly unpaid interns.

So imagine that you have such an intern in your office anywhere in this state. You think she, or he, is cute.

You ask what she does with her boyfriend at night, and begin touching her inappropriately. Finally, you suggest that if she wants a career, she should come to a meeting without her clothes on.

Can she sue you and the firm for sexual harassment?

The answer is … no.

Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

The latest "report card" on jobs in America points to a country continuing to recover from the Great Recession.

The national unemployment rate fell to 6.1%, the lowest level since September 2008. What does the June jobs report tell us about Michigan? Where have we made gains and where are we still hurting?

University of Michigan labor economist Don Grimes joined us to review the June employment numbers. 

 

#155118225 / gettyimages.com

People seeking Ann Arbor city jobs will no longer need to disclose criminal convictions on their job application forms.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Hundreds of Genesee County teenagers just completed a program that may help them land a summer job.

Teen Quest gives 14 to 19 year olds a chance to learn a variety of skills, from how to apply for a job to how to behave in the workplace.

Rhetta Hunyady is the Vice President of Education and Training for the Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce.   She says it’s very important for young people to learn workplace skills.

“Teens who generally don’t have any work experience, while they’re a teen, really don’t fare well later in life,” says Hunyady.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Detroit's unemployment is high, really high. It's nearly 18%. That’s almost double the Michigan rate of unemployment and Michigan is among the worst in the nation.

So, when a manufacturer hires hundreds of Detroit residents, it gets attention.

Dave Pinter / Flickr

It’s been a big week for Michigan’s auto industry.

A report from Business Leaders for Michigan revealed a plan to bring 100,000 automotive jobs to the sector. And General Motors announced the next CEO of the company will be Mary Barra. She’ll be the first female CEO in the car industry.

Daniel Howes, a business columnist from The Detroit News, talks with us about this week’s announcements.

Listen to the full interview above.

The Michigan House of Representatives.
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

With the federal shutdown in its third week, the state is taking its first step toward laying off thousands of public employees.

Michigan budget officials are asking state departments to determine which programs need to be shut down if federal funding isn’t restored before November.
 
“We really didn’t think we would be at this point,” said Kurt Weiss, a spokesperson for the state budget office. “And neither did the rest of the states. They’re all in the same boat we are, across the country, which is putting together contingency plans to start shutting programs down – which is certainly not something that I would call commonplace.”

Weiss estimates 15,000 to 20,000 state workers would probably be affected.

“We do anticipate a pretty widespread impact across all state agencies that are going to have some employees that are either partially or fully federally funded,” said Weiss. “So these contingency plans are going to tell us which of those folks need to stay home come November 1st.”

Weiss says programs and workers that help Michigan’s poorest residents receive a disproportionate amount of federal dollars. He says agencies such as the state Department of Human Services (DHS) and the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) will be hardest hit if the shutdown lasts much longer.

http://www.richardclongworth.com/

When you hear the term “company town” you might think of DOW and Midland, Ford and Dearborn, Kellogg and Battle Creek, or Whirlpool and Benton Harbor. But too many cities in Michigan have realized just how dependent they are on a single industry when the major employer shuts its plant down - just think of GM and Flint, or the Ford plant in Monroe, or any other number of towns that have lost major employers during Michigan’s so-called lost decade.

Mid-sized and smaller towns have known for some time that they need to diversify the employment base, but that’s a job with a lot of obstacles.

George Erickcek, a senior regional analyst with the Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, and Richard Longworth, a senior fellow at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and author of the book “Caught in the MiddleAmerica's Heartland in the Age of Globalism," joined us today.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Michigan employers would no longer be able to ask on a job application if a person has been convicted of a felony.  That is if one state lawmaker has his way.

Research shows a criminal record can reduce the likelihood of a job callback or offer by nearly 50%.

To help change that, State Representative Fred Durhal of Detroit wants to ban employers from including a question about criminal convictions on job applications.

He says too often employers throw away job applications if the applicant checks the criminal conviction box.

gov.cbia.com

A state House committee this week will discuss whether to prevent local cities and towns in Michigan from passing laws requiring businesses to offer paid sick leave to their employees.

San Francisco, Seattle and several other major cities have passed ‘paid sick leave’ ordinances in recent years.  The intent is to protect people in low paying jobs, who stand to lose their job, if they try to take a sick day.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Governor Rick Snyder was on hand to help celebrate as the Michigan Strategic Fund approved state-paid incentives to 14 new business projects.     

The governor said lower taxes, fewer regulations, and a skilled workforce should make incentives less necessary in the future. But he said state assistance still has to be part of the mix. 

New data show sharp decline in state union membership

Jan 24, 2013
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan unions lost nearly 42,000 members over the course of 2012, representing about 10 percent of the nationwide decline in total membership.

The data come from a Bureau of Labor Statistics report that shows the percentage of American workers in unions dipped to its lowest rate in more than 70 years.

David Shepardson of The Detroit News has more:

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Michigan college graduates are entering a sluggish job market.

Michigan State University’s annual Recruiting Trends report finds employers are not confident about the nation’s economic direction in 2013.    Many are worried about problems with Europe’s economy.   There’s also concern about the nation's deeply divided political leadership.   That's all putting a damper on employers’ hiring plans.

Phil Gardner is the director of MSU’s College Employment Research Institute.

Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

Unemployment in Michigan rose one-tenth of a percentage point in June to 8.6 percent, when seasonally adjusted.

The Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget (DTMB) issued a press release today that said the state's labor force, for the first month this year, did not increase, and the number of unemployed people grew by 7,000.

The good news is that this year's unemployment rate is 2 percent lower than last year's June rate, and four tenths of a percent lower than the rate at the beginning of this year.

From the press release:

“The state labor market displayed little change in June, and has been relatively stable through the first half of 2012,” said Rick Waclawek, director of the Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives.  “Job gains in Michigan were modest during the second quarter, which was similar to national trends.”

Check out the graph above showing DTMB's data on the labor force and the unemployment rate over the past decade.

-Elaine Ezekiel, Michigan Radio Newsroom

Detroit Skyline
Shawn Wilson / Wikimedia Commons

A new report says African American unemployment fell last year in metro Detroit, even as it remains well above the unemployment rate for white workers in the same region.

The Economic Policy Institute says African Americans in the Detroit area had an 18.1 percent jobless rate in 2011, down from 25.4 percent the year before.

This 7.3 percent decline in Detroit, Warren and Livonia's  collective unemployment rates was by far the largest decrease in African American unemployment by percentage in any of the 19 metropolitan areas the report studied. 

However, the report found last year's lowered African American unemployment rate in metro Detroit still sat 2.2 percent above the respective national rate of 15.9 percent.

In fact, the region has the fourth highest African American unemployment rate nationally, trailing metropolitan Las Vegas, Los Angeles and Chicago.

The report also says the gap between white and black unemployment was smaller in Detroit than the nation as a whole. It says African Americans were 1.8 times more likely than whites to be unemployed in the Detroit area, while they were 2.2 times more likely nationwide.

-Elaine Ezekiel, Michigan Radio Newsroom

Rick Pluta / Michigan Radio

Governor Rick Snyder today asked  businesspeople to make a special effort to hire veterans returning from overseas duty. It’s the topic of one of the sessions this week at the Detroit Regional Chamber’s annual Mackinac Island conference.  It’s attended by 1,500 of the state’s business and political leaders.

The governor says returning veterans face an unemployment rate of about 30 percent, something he calls “unacceptable.”

“So we need to help these people,” Snyder said. “So I ask you to do everything possible to make the session and to hire ‘em. That would be great. Thank you.”

The governor recently returned from a trip to the Middle East to visit Michigan National Guard units. He’s made job training and connecting veterans to jobs a part of his workforce development initiative.

Many people view Michigan as ground zero when it comes to job loss and unemployment. Yet despite the tough economy, some people are quitting their jobs in an effort to pursue their creative passions, which are often unpaid. 

From fast food to felt toys

courtesy UM GEO

Some graduate student research assistants at the University of Michigan, also known as GSRAs, have wanted to unionize under the "Graduate Employee Organization" for decades.

A decision on whether attempts to unionize graduate students can move forward is coming up at a December 13 meeting of the Michigan Employment Relations Commission.

The MERC is expected to vote whether to direct an administrative law judge to determine whether GSRAs are university "employees" or "students."

Many University of Michigan administrators and deans argue the GSRAs are students, not employees.

It they're determined to be employees, the 2,200 GSRAs can hold a vote on whether or not to unionize.

Now, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette, on behalf of the people of Michigan, he says, has decided to jump into this administrative debate.

Flickr bfishadow

Ohio's minimum wage will increase by 30 cents to $7.70 an hour at the start of 2012. Officials at the state Department of Commerce said Friday that the increase is part of a constitutional amendment voters approved in 2006, which says minimum wage will increase each year at the rate of inflation.

The $7.70 rate applies to workers 16 and older who don't get tips. The wage for tipped employees will be $3.85, a 15 cent increase.

The wage will be required from employers who gross more than $283,000 annually, up from the current $271,000.

screen grab from YouTube video

The Congressional Black Caucus' five-city "For the People" Jobs Fair is on its second stop in Detroit today. The fair kicked off in Cleveland last week and will end in Los Angeles at the end of the month.

Michigan Radio's Sarah Cwiek will head over to the fair at the downtown campus of Wayne County Community College and give us an update.

sideshowmom / Morgue File

A recent report  describing the adult workforce in Detroit says that 47% are unable to read.

People who file for unemployment benefits next year would be eligible for fewer weeks of payments under a Republican measure approved by the state Senate. The Legislature must approve a jobless benefits package this week in order for the state to receive federal assistance for the program.

Thirty-five thousand Michiganders stand to lose their benefits if the legislature does not agree to the extension by April 1st. 

Democratic state Senator Tupac Hunter says Republicans are using the opportunity to undercut benefits for people who seek the payments in the future.

“This is 100 percent federally funded, we have an opportunity to address that today, and I think that we’ve chosen political games over helping our workers across this great state.”  

Republican state Senator Tom Casperson says the additional benefits would put too much strain on businesses. 

“Putting people into jobs is the way to fix the problem. But we don’t get there when every time we open our mouths we demonize the very job providers that are going to provide the jobs for us. This is trying to offer an opportunity for both sides; a safety net and add to the unemployment, and a fairness to the business people paying the bill.”

The bill was passed and now moves to the state House for final approval.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Joseph Cassias once stocked shelves at the Walmart in Battle Creek. He was fired after he tested positive for marijuana. Cassias has an inoperable brain tumor and qualifies as a patient under Michigan’s medical marijuana act.

Joseph Casias with his ACLU attorneys after Friday's hearing in Grand Rapids.
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

A federal judge in Grand Rapids heard arguments today in the case filed by a medical marijuana patient who was fired from Wal-Mart in Battle Creek.