FAQ: US state and local government exposure to rising trade tension

Source: Sunny Zhu, Patrick Liberatore, Ted Hampton, Denise Rappmund, Eric Hoffmann, Leonard Jones, Moody’s, Sector In-Depth, May 24, 2018
(subscription required)

Rising trade tension represents a major risk to the US and global economic outlook. Since 2017, the United States (Aaa stable) has withdrawn from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and imposed tariffs on washing machines, solar panels, steel, and aluminum. The US continues to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with Canada (Aaa stable) and Mexico (A3 stable), and has threatened substantial tariffs against China (A1 stable) following a US Trade Representative investigation. Despite the recent softening of the trade rhetoric between the US and China, risks of recurring trade tension remain as negotiations on specific measures proceed. ….

Illinois (State of) – Pension burden will erode credit without offsetting actions

Source: Ted Hampton, Thomas Aaron, Emily Raimes, Nicholas Samuels, Timothy Blake, Moody’s, Issuer In-Depth, May 30, 2018
(subscrption required)

When fiscal 2019 begins on July 1, the State of Illinois faces a sharp jump in its budgetary fixed costs, which include debt service, retiree healthcare, and pension contributions. These cost pressures are likely to intensify in future years.

How Much Is Your State Spending on You? Taxes, Spending, Job Answers Made Easy by New Census Tool

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, America Counts: Stories Behind the Numbers, May 2018

Are you interested in how much your state is spending on college education or parks and recreation? Have you ever wondered if your state or local governments are putting more funds into public safety and health care compared to last year? How does your state compare to other states? Where would you go to find this financial information?

State and local governments are responding to a growing demand for transparency by posting more government data online. That information, however, has been primarily accessible to the public who have a strong background in internet research and accounting — until now. ….

….. The State & Local Government Snapshot is the most comprehensive and compact view of government data ever created by the Census Bureau. The visualization combines data from the Annual Survey of State and Local Government Finances and the Annual Survey of Public Employment & Payroll. ….

State and local government workers preparing for retirement: Do you understand your plan formula?

Source: Natalie Kramer and Jesus Ranon-Hernandez, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Beyond the Numbers, Vol. 7 no. 6, May 2018

The National Compensation Survey (NCS) publishes information on the coverage and provisions of employer-sponsored benefit plans for private industry and state and local government workers. For workers approaching retirement age, trying to make sense of retirement options can be daunting. The NCS can provide answers to questions such as the following:

– How much of a benefit will I receive at retirement?
– If I retire early, will my benefits be reduced?
– Will my benefits be increased if I work a few more years?

This issue of Beyond the Numbers describes basic retirement formulas by using different retirement scenarios and formulas to illustrate the monthly retirement benefit. Two examples are provided for specificity…..

Age, burnout and physical and psychological work ability among nurses

Source: D. J. Hatch, G. Freude, P. Martus, U. Rose, G. Müller, G. G. Potter, Occupational Medicine, Volume 68, Issue 4, May 2018
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Background
The ageing of the US labour force highlights the need to examine older adults’ physical and psychological ability to work, under varying levels of occupational burnout.

Aims
To examine how age and burnout interact in predicting physical and psychological work ability.

Methods
Using a cohort of actively working nurses, we assessed factors on the Work Ability Index at 12-month follow-up and determined how these were related to age and exhaustion-related burnout at baseline.

Results
The study group consisted of 402 nurses aged 25–67 (mean = 41.7). Results indicated age by burnout interactions in which decrements in physical work ability with greater age were observed at all but the lowest level of burnout (1.5 SD below mean: β = −0.14, 95% CI −0.36, 0.07; 1 SD below: β = −0.23, 95% CI −0.39, −0.06; mean: β = −0.39, 95% CI −0.50, −0.29; 1 SD above: β = −0.56, 95% CI −0.70, −0.42; 1.5 SD above: β = −0.64, 95% CI −0.83, −0.46). In contrast, we observed decrements in psychological work ability with age at higher levels of burnout only (1 SD above: β = −0.20, 95% CI −0.35, −0.05; 1.5 SD above: β = −0.30, 95% CI −0.49, −0.11); at lower levels of burnout, older age was associated with improvements in this (1 SD below: β = 0.19, 95% CI 0.03, 0.35; 1.5 SD below: β = 0.29, 95% CI 0.08, 0.50).

Conclusions
Findings indicated physical and psychological dimensions of work ability that differed by age and occupational burnout. This emphasizes the need for interventions to reduce burnout and to address age-related strengths and vulnerabilities relating to physical and psychological work ability.

Mothers Lose $16,000 Annually to the Wage Gap, NWLC Analysis Shows

Source: National Women’s Law Center (NWLC), May 23, 2018

From the press release:
While women in the U.S. who work full time, year round are typically paid just 80 cents for every dollar paid to their male counterparts, the wage gap between working mothers and fathers is even larger. Mothers typically are paid only 71 cents for every dollar paid to fathers, which translates to a loss of $16,000 annually, according to new National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) analysis of Census data. The motherhood wage gap exists in every state and can mean mothers lose thousands of dollars more than the national figure: mothers do best in Maine, where they are paid 85 cents for every dollar paid to fathers, and worst in Utah, where they are paid only 58 cents for every dollar paid to fathers. ….

Key findings of the analysis include:
– More than 2 in 5 mothers (42.2 percent) are employed in one of twelve occupations, and in every one of those occupations, mothers are paid between 52 cents and 85 cents for every dollar paid to fathers.
– The wage gap exists for mothers at every education level.
– Among full-time, year-round workers, mothers with a high school degree make just 68 cents for every dollar paid to fathers with a high school degree.
– Fathers who earn a master’s degree or a doctoral degree are typically paid $100,000 and $115,000 respectively. Conversely, mothers who complete these degrees are typically paid no more than $90,000 annually.
– Asian/Pacific Islander mothers are paid 85 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic fathers; white, non-Hispanic mothers are paid 69 cents; Black mothers, 54 cents; Native mothers, 49 cents; and Latina mothers, 46 cents. The wage gap persists for mothers of all ages

Before It All Melts Away

Source: Chris Brooks, Labor Notes, May 30, 2018

Will this spring’s wave of teacher strikes lead to stronger unions? Not if their unions return to business as usual.

The motor force behind the strikes in West Virginia, Oklahoma, Kentucky, Arizona, Colorado, and North Carolina is teachers’ deep frustration. Educators are feeling the pinch from decades of funding cuts that their unions have been unable to stop…..

Voluntary Benefits Now Essential, Not Fringe

Source: Stephen Miller, SHRM, April 13, 2018

Student loan help and financial planning aid are among offerings on the upswing.

Employers no longer consider voluntary benefits as simply add-ons but rather as “a way to address a host of employee needs, offer choice and allow employees to personalize their rewards,” said Lydia Jilek, director of voluntary benefits at consultancy Willis Towers Watson.

Voluntary benefits are supplemental to core health insurance and retirement savings plans and are typically employee-paid through salary-deferred contributions. They can be a cost-efficient way to provide additional coverage to employees, who can purchase these plans through their employer at a lower, group rate.

Newly released findings from Willis Towers Watson’s 2018 Emerging Trends: Voluntary Benefits and Services Survey of large employers show that:

– Only a handful of respondents (5 percent) say voluntary benefits will have little importance to the value they offer employees through their total rewards strategy. Five years ago, 41 percent of employers said voluntary benefits would have little importance.

– More than two-thirds of employers (69 percent) believe voluntary benefits will be a very or more-important component of their total rewards strategy in three to five years…..

5 wage gap myths about women at work

Source: Amy McCaig, Futurity, May 31, 2018

Blame for the gender wage gap in the United States shouldn’t fall on women, report researchers.

In a review paper, they draw on existing psychological research to highlight myths regarding the gap between men and women and to offer possible explanations for why it exists. ….

5 myths about the gender wage gap:
Myth 1: Women aren’t doing equal work. ….
Myth 2: Women leave the workplace to have and raise children. ….
Myth 3: Women choose less lucrative professions. ….
Myth 4: Women don’t ask for what they want. ….
Myth 5: Women don’t have as much education or experience as men. ….

6 ways organizations can eliminate the wage gap:
1. Identify and remove barriers. ….
2. Provide equal growth opportunities. ….
3. Take action toward implementing better work/life balance. ….
4. Provide ongoing training. ….
5. Have anti-discrimination policies. ….
6. Have and promote male allies. ….

Related:
Victim Precipitation and the Wage Gap
Source: Shannon Cheng, Abigail Corrington, Mikki Hebl, Linnea Ng, Volume 11, Issue 1 March 2018
(subscription required)

In response to: Beyond Blaming the Victim: Toward a More Progressive Understanding of Workplace Mistreatment
From the abstract:
Cortina, Rabelo, and Holland (2018) accurately cite the general public’s overuse of victim precipitation ideologies, or the notion that victims engage in actions that directly bring about their unfortunate circumstances. These ideologies also have permeated industrial and organizational (I-O) psychology and the study of people in the workplace (e.g., women’s choice in clothing leads to sexual harassment, certain target characteristics and actions incite workplace bullying). We agree with Cortina et al. that this ideology unintentionally benefits the perpetrator by placing blame and responsibility for nonoptimal workplace situations directly on the target. The field of I-O psychology needs to move away from this model of victim blaming as a remediation for workplace disparities.

Moral Economies or Hidden Talents? A Longitudinal Analysis of Union Decline and Wage Inequality, 1973–2015

Source: Tom VanHeuvelen, Social Forces, Advance Access, Published: May 30, 2018
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
The decline of labor unions in the United States has been central to the rise of wage inequality since the early 1970s. Recently, sociologists have noted that unionization influences inequality through both direct and indirect pathways, reconciled with the concept of the moral economy, broadly shared norms of fairness institutionalized in market rules and customs that can reduce inequality in pay. While the theory of the moral economy has been resonant in the stratification literature, few have held it to empirical scrutiny. The current study assesses how selection bias from unobserved worker-level heterogeneity influences the associations between unionization and wage attainment and dispersion. To do so, I merge data from the Current Population Survey to 33 waves of longitudinal data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics. Using combinations of variance function regression models, fixed-effects regression models, and dynamic panel models, I find that the magnitudes of associations tend to be reduced by around half after accounting for unobserved heterogeneity. Yet, more critically, the pathways linking unions and wage inequality via the moral economy prove to be remarkably robust to all tests cast upon them. Results highlight the fundamental importance of labor power resources for the contemporary rise of inequality. They provide a micro-level foundation for theories linking unionization and stratification. They identify the importance of union decline for rising earnings volatility. And they provide implications for the fallout of economic well-being for workers following antiunion policy change. Additional theoretical and policy implications are discussed.