2019 State of the Workforce Report: Pay, Promotions and Retention

Source: Ahu Yildirmaz, Christopher Ryan, Jeff Nezaj, ADP Research Institute, June 2019

All employers face the fundamental challenge of structuring, rewarding and motivating their organization’s workforce for optimal productivity and overall business performance. Unfortunately, there is no magic formula for success that works in all situations. Each employer faces its own unique circumstances — mission, market demand, competitive differentiation, labor availability and cost structure, among other things — that drive continuous change. Existing literature suggests that an organization’s ability to adapt to these changes is fundamental to the organization’s survival.

…. As a comprehensive, up-to-date source of organizational data, the findings in the report provide a solid basis for firms to understand their own organizational dynamics and improve performance.

Key observations from this inaugural study illustrate some of the ways employers can use this data:
– On average, employers will promote 8.9 percent of their employees annually, and those employees will receive an average wage increase of 17.4 percent
– Firms are more likely to promote internal employees for management positions
– Promotions within a team are associated with higher turnover among other team members
– Employee turnover varies significantly with demographic factors
– Males and females show significant disparities across pay and organizational hierarchies

2018 Annual U.S. Public Finance Default Study And Rating Transitions

Source: S&P Global Ratings, May 31, 2019
(subscription required)

– After rising for three straight years, the number of U.S. public finance (USPF) defaults fell to one in 2018 from 20 in 2017.
– In 2018, S&P Global Ratings raised its ratings on 1,427 USPF bonds and lowered 684.
– Local government, state government, utilities, and transportation had more upgrades than downgrades in 2018.
– Housing, higher education, health care, and charter schools had more downgrades than upgrades in 2018: This was the third consecutive year of negative rating trends for health care and housing and the eighth for charter schools.
– USPF ratings performance has been consistent with historical default trends, even at different time horizons. From 1986-2018, the one-, three-, five-, and 10-year average Gini coefficients were 94%, 87%, 81%, and 74%, respectively, when excluding housing. Gini values including housing were not as strong but still stable, with a one-year coefficient of 87%.

U.S. States Take Advantage Of A Prolonged Economic Expansion

Source: S&P Global Ratings, May 16, 2019
(subscription required)

– Consistent with a prolonged national economic expansion, overall state credit quality remains high.
– Even oil- and gas-reliant states have shown recent gains.
– Most states forecast improvement in fiscal 2019 fund balances, and preliminary indications are that April income tax collections will be strong.
– Most states project to build or maintain reserves in fiscal 2020, despite cautious revenue projections.
– Some states propose raising top taxpayers’ income taxes; others will increase gas taxes; and marijuana, sugary drinks, and plastics bags might become the new “sin” tax targets.
– Other state budgets will include funding for education, workforce development, and infrastructure.

Illinois Pension Consolidation: A Path Forward Or A Road To Nowhere?

Source: S&P Global Ratings, May 14, 2019
(subscription required)

– Illinois is considering consolidating numerous single-employer public safety plans as a possible remedy to its pension woes;
– While consolidation will likely lower long-term costs through the pooling of resources, we view these as benefits as marginal, and the current proposals leave major pension funding issues largely unaddressed;
– A proposal to reduce statutorily mandated funding to 80% from 90% and allow an additional 10 years to reach this goal would exacerbate existing pension funding weakness among these types of public safety pension plans.

Flat debt total signals cautious borrowing, despite infrastructure needs

Source: Ted Hampton, Chandra Ghosal, Emily Raimes, Nicholas Samuels, Timothy Blake, Moody’s, Sector Profile, State government – US Medians, June 3, 2019
(subscription required)

Total net tax-supported debt (NTSD) for the 50 states was virtually unchanged in 2018, as governments maintained a cautious approach to bond issuance and increased their reliance on operating revenue for transportation infrastructure. The $523 billion in NTSD marked the eighth straight year with minimal change, putting average annual growth at 0.6% since 2011.

19th Amendment: A century of pioneering women in US politics

Source: Kelly-Leigh Cooper, BBC, June 3, 2019

One hundred years ago – on 4 June 1919 – Congress approved the 19th Amendment to the US constitution guaranteeing the right of American women to vote.

The amendment was the product of decades of campaigning and slow progress since the first convention for women’s rights was held in Seneca Falls in 1848.

In the years since, women had been thrown in jail for voting illegally, organised pickets across the country and chained themselves to the White House demanding representation.

Rights were granted in a handful of, mostly western, states over the years but resistance remained. This amendment, officially ratified in 1920, prohibited discrimination on the basis of sex on a national level.

In 2019 the US has more women in national politics than ever before, but still falls well short of equality. These are the pioneers who have made history in the century since…..

Museum Workers Share Their Salaries and Urge Industry-Wide Reform

Source: Zachary Small, Hyperallergic, June 3, 2019

Over 660 arts professionals have added to a spreadsheet detailing their salaries. The pay for these prestigious positions may be lower than you expect. ….

…. Because the spreadsheet entries are published anonymously, Hyperallergic could not independently verify the accuracy of all the listed salary information; however, the information does match long-running perceptions about pay in the field. (New entries are being added through this Google Form.) Although positions like curatorial assistant are competitive and prestigious entry points into museum work, the pay is relatively low with starting salaries running between $30,000 and $50,000. By comparison, the select few who rise through the ranks to become chief curators at major museums can expect to make well within six figures. ….

What it Costs to Die

Source: Liz Farmer, Mattie Quinn, Governing, June 2019

Funerals have become a luxury that many Americans can’t afford. Cities and counties are paying the price….

…..What’s happening in Henry County is playing out in places across the country. Rising funeral costs and a lagging economy have made it increasingly hard for many low-income Americans to pay the necessary expenses to dispose of a body. The average cost of a funeral today is $7,400, a price tag that’s risen nearly twice as fast as inflation since the 1980s. (That cost doesn’t include flowers, obituaries and gravesite fees that can tack on another couple thousand dollars.) At a time when 40 percent of Americans can’t even afford an unexpected expense of just $400, according to the Federal Reserve, the notion of a proper funeral and burial has become, for many people, an unattainable luxury.

When family members can’t afford to claim a body, the burden falls on local governments to handle the remains. There’s no comprehensive data on the number of unclaimed bodies in morgues across the country, but everyone agrees it’s a problem that’s getting worse. The St. Louis Medical Examiner’s Office had to add mobile refrigerated trailers in 2017 to hold all its bodies. The Connecticut Office of the Chief Medical Examiner briefly lost accreditation in 2017 because it ran out of storage space. In Mobile County, Ala., annual spending on indigent burials has increased 300 percent over the last decade. In Kentucky, Pollard estimates that indigent burials have jumped 50 percent in just the past 18 months…..

As Airbnb grows, this is exactly how much it’s bringing down hotel prices and occupancy

Source: Tarik Dogru, The Conversation, May 24, 2019

…. Research I recently conducted with colleagues Makarand Mody and Courtney C. Suess studied Airbnb’s impact on hotels’ performance in 10 major U.S. cities to determine how the fast-growing company has influenced three key metrics: room prices, hotel revenues and occupancy rates. Our research included data from 2008 to 2017 in Boston, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, Nashville, New York, San Francisco and Seattle.

In those cities, the number of properties on Airbnb – from room shares to entire houses – surged from just 51 in its first year of operation to more to 50,000 five years later and to over half a million in 2017. ….

….[A]nother important factor is the lack of regulation Airbnb faced during its first decades, which gave it more flexibility and made it easier to add new properties to its inventory.

While this is now changing as cities clamp down, this provided Airbnb with a significant competitive advantage against the hotel industry. Indeed, the typical regulatory framework in cities across America means it can take several years to add a new hotel to the market and requires permits, adherence to safety codes and more tax collection…..

See also:
York County gets small revenue boost thanks to new Airbnb tax regulations
Source: Lindsey O’Laughlin, York Dispatch, May 29, 2019

Municipalities and state eye regulation for Airbnb, growing home-sharing industry
Source: Joe Cooper, Hartford Business, May 27, 2019

City exploring Airbnb zoning, tax questions
Source: Rosalind Essig, Journal Courier, May 20, 2019

Airbnb guests would pay sales tax under proposed bill
Source: Diane Rey, Maryland Reporter, March 3, 2019

Getting poorer while working harder: The ‘cliff effect’

Source: Susan R. Crandall, The Conversation, June 3, 2019

….Given the pressure to earn enough to make ends meet, you would think that low-paid workers would be clamoring for raises. But this is not always the case.

Because so many American jobs don’t earn enough to pay for food, housing and other basic needs, many low-wage workers rely on public benefits that are only available to people in need, such as housing vouchers and Medicaid, to pay their bills.

Earning a little more money may not automatically increase their standard of living if it boosts their income to the point where they lose access to some or all of those benefits. That’s because the value of those lost benefits may outweigh their income gains.

I have researched this dynamic, which experts often call the “cliff effect,” for years to learn why workers weren’t succeeding at retaining their jobs following job training programs. Chief among the one step forward, two steps back problems the cliff effect causes: Low-paid workers can become reluctant to earn more money due to a fear that they will get worse off instead of better…..