jobs

What Happens If Workers Become Obsolete?

Jun 29, 2015

The rapid rise in technology and machines has some experts predicting that workers could become obsolete. As Derek Thompson writes in a cover article for The Atlantic, futurists have often looked at this in a positive way — with people having more free time for leisure.

But there are of course questions of what it would mean economically, and also culturally. Thompson writes that it would bring about a great social and cultural transformation.

Richard Masoner / Flickr.com

Oklahoma lost about 500 mining industry jobs between December and January, data from the Oklahoma Employment Securities Commission show.

Almost all in-state “mining” jobs are actually in oil and gas drilling, The Journal Record‘s Sarah Terry-Cobo reports. And while the job losses haven’t yet affected the state’s unemployment rate, currently 3.9 percent, oil sector employment will likely take a big hit in the months to come, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City’s bulletin The Oklahoma Economist.

Close-up of a Pump Jack
neillharmer / Flickr

New data released Tuesday by the Oklahoma Employment Securities Commission shows that state has lost about 500 mining industry jobs between December 2014 and January 2015.

Even though the mining sector reported a 0.8-percent decline in employment during that time, the sector grew by 4.7 percent. About 97 percent of the jobs in the industry are related to oil and gas drilling.

More than 7 million Americans age 65 years and older were still working last year. That’s up 60 percent from a decade ago.

A story in Harper’s Magazine opens a window into some of these people. They’re called “workampers” (a contraction of working and camping) and they travel across the country in their RVs, often performing seasonal work, selling fireworks, pumpkins, Christmas trees. They even work part-time in huge Amazon warehouses.

A strong economy naturally depends on a large portion of the population earning money and sending it back into the economy. But the U.S. labor force has been shrinking since 2007, and according to a report by the White House Council of Economic Advisers, this is because baby boomers are reaching retirement age.

Analysts' expectations of continued growth in the jobs report for June were surpassed by federal data issued this morning, as the Labor Department says U.S. employers added 288,000 jobs last month. The government released the numbers one day early because of the July 4 holiday.

Update at 8:35 a.m. ET: 288,000 Jobs Added

"Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 288,000 in June, and the unemployment rate declined to 6.1 percent," the Bureau of Labor Statistics says.

Why Women Don't Ask For More Money

Apr 8, 2014

When Emily Amanatullah was a graduate student studying management, she couldn't help noticing that a lot of the classic advice in the field was aimed more at men than women. Negotiation tactics in particular seemed tougher for women to master.

"You realize they're pretty at odds with how women comport themselves and how they're expected to comport themselves," she says.

She started to talk to other women and to examine her own behavior. All the women she spoke to said they hated advocating for themselves at work. But they had no trouble speaking up for colleagues.

On Thursday, President Obama rolled out his plan for strengthening overtime pay protections for millions of workers. In his view, if more workers got fatter paychecks, they could spend more and stimulate the economy.

But if his critics are right, then employers would end up laying off workers to make up for the higher wage costs. And that would hurt the already painfully slow recovery.

Which scenario is right?

Note: This post was updated several times after the jobs report was released at 8:30 a.m. ET.

The nation's unemployment rate slipped to 6.6 percent in January from 6.7 percent a month before, but employers added only 113,000 jobs to their payrolls last month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday morning.

The jobless rate figure was expected. The job growth number, however, was well below the 185,000 that economists expected.

There were 331,000 first-time claims filed for unemployment insurance last week, down 20,000 from the week before, the Employment and Training Administration reports.

That's yet another report showing that claims remain in a range where they've been running since late 2011. What does that indicate? As we've said before:

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