California isn’t just the world’s fifth largest economy—it’s also a global capital of consumer culture. And now its culture, and the everyday habits of its people, are being profoundly disrupted by the pandemic and its associated economic collapse. A sudden, sharp decline in consumer satisfaction has laid open the profound fragility of the California economy. How is COVID-19 changing the way Californians participate in the economy, particularly in the counties hit hardest by the pandemic? How can California bounce back from COVID? And what might Californians’ changing feelings about consumer culture portend for the rest of the country?
Cameron Shelton, director of the Lowe Institute of Political Economy at Claremont McKenna College and a lead investigator in the California Consumer Sentiment Indices, visits Zócalo to explore Californians’ rapidly changing feelings about consumerism.
With an increasing need for software by non-tech companies, a developer drought is growing outside of Silicon Valley.
Turns out there’s a major need for software developers outside of the traditional geo-center of Silicon Valley. Despite COVID-19, states in the US heartland are actively hiring developers. Plus, professionals on the West Coast are reassessing work-life opportunities and exploring start-up prospects outside the Valley and other tech hotspots.
This isn’t a shift to remote workers. In July and August, 92% of software developer job ads on three leading employment sites were for work-on-premises jobs. Apparently, employers are slow to embrace remote working.
The data comes from Mendix, a Siemens business involved in low-code application development. The company recently launched the Mendix 2020 Software Developer Drought Index, an effort to track hiring shortages for developers on the US county and state levels. click here for full article . . .
In this LAEDC economic analysis webinar, Shannon Sedgwick, director of LAEDC’s Institute for Applied Economics offers perspective and analysis of the latest labor market and jobs data from California EDD, published 8-24-20. In addition LAEDC economist Tyler Laferriere discusses housing prices and the stock and bond market relative to the economic recession. LAEDC CEO Bill Allen introduces the speakers and provides an overview.
Join AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka for a conversation with union members who are serving on the front lines as we battle COVID-19. From teaching our kids to caring for the sick to serving our communities, these workers will share their personal journeys and discuss why we need to pass the HEROES Act to protect and support those on the job.
Uber and Lyft drivers use their own vehicles and are paid by the ride, giving rise to the term “gig economy.”
Uber and Lyft contend that they give drivers opportunities to voluntarily supplement their incomes by working whenever it suits them. But, this business model has is unsettled unions and many in government, who contend that it deprives workers of rights and benefits of being on the payroll, such as contributions for Social Security and Medicare benefits and overtime pay. As independent contractors, gig workers also cannot be union members.
Two years ago, the state Supreme Court declared gig work illegal, and the Legislature followed up with measure, Assembly Bill 5, which put the decision into law. Uber and Lyft, responded with a ballot measure, #22 on Nov 3, 2020 ballot, that would exempt them from the Assembly Bill 5 legislation while offering gig workers some employee-lite benefits.
Voters will decide whether gig work is an appropriate new model or an illegal denial of worker rights and counter to state labor law, when they vote on Prop 22 in November.
The Pro Proposistion 22 coalition is comprised of companies employing gig workers, and the anti-Proposition 22 coalition is comprised of unions and many in government. Attorney General Becerra and some city attorneys have now also sued Uber and Lyft for continuing to classify their drivers as independent contractors despite the passage of AB 5.
Recently , San Francisco Superior Court Judge Ethan Schulman ruled against the companies. Judge Schulman said the companies’ employment practices are depriving drivers “of the panoply of basic rights to which employees are entitled under California law.”
Zocalo Public Square, by MICHAEL BERNICK | JULY 10, 2020
You May Never Have Heard of Your Local Workforce Development Boards, but They Know How to Move the State Forward
We can bring jobs back to California, and we can do it right now. The latest employment numbers should provide the sense of urgency. An additional 287,354 new unemployment insurance claims were filed just for the week ending June 20, bringing the total to more than 6.7 million claims filed in California since mid-March, and $33.5 billion in unemployment benefits paid. Our California economy is now surviving in good part on unemployment insurance payments.
To understand how to respond to the current predicament, Californians should turn to the front lines of employment: California’s network of 45 local workforce development boards. Though these boards are not well known, they represent the heart of the public workforce system in California. Overseen by locally appointed business and labor representatives, workforce development boards administer the bulk of the federal and state job training and placement funds in the state, totaling more than $1 billion. They interact daily with job seekers and local businesses.
Fresno’s board is one of the larger bodies, with a budget of nearly $19 million, 31 direct staff, and more than 200 contractors involved in job training and placement. It serves an area population of just under 1 million, with unemployment and poverty rates that have been well above the state average for decades. Blake Konczal, the board’s executive director since 2002, started his career during the economic downturn in 1992, providing placement services to laid-off Southern California aerospace workers. He has experience with several other downturns since then and is active in current Central Valley recovery efforts.
In my recent conversations with Konczal and other board directors, they emphasize that there is no silver bullet for recovery. Rather, their experiences with the current and previous downturns point to a series of five strategies to bring back California jobs. click here for full story at Zocalo Public Square
The Verdugo School to Career Coalition will hold its next meeting via telephone conference call on April 22. Click the link below to download phone conference instructions, rsvp information and the agenda and minutes of last meeting.
Farm work is vital to our society—and dangerous for the people who do it. Farmworkers are exposed to a variety of health hazards: noise, heat, harmful chemicals, and musculoskeletal injuries, to name a few. Farmworkers’ struggles with long hours, low wages, polluted air, overcrowded housing, and frequent relocations often add to their challenges, especially in mental health. What do Californians owe to the laborers who put fruits, vegetables, nuts, and milk on our tables? How are changes in technology and immigration enforcement reshaping the nature of farm work and its health concerns? What progress has been made in protecting the health of farmworkers, and what important steps are regulators or the agricultural industry refusing to take? Organic farmer and artist Nikiko Masumoto, Huron Mayor Rey León, health researcher Chia Thao, and Tania Pacheco-Werner, co-assistant director of the Central Valley Health Policy Institute, visit Zócalo to consider how to make farm work healthier.