The Workweek: A Round-Up of Labor Market Links for the Week Ending 7/21/17
Welcome back to The Workweek, the Indeed Hiring Lab’s round-up of the latest research, news, and perspectives that made us think deeply or differently about the labor market this week. It’s your guide to the most important new insights about work.
Here are our picks for this week:
Idaho Makes Things a Bit More Noncompetitive
Noncompete agreements are contract provisions that typically prevent workers from leaving jobs to join competitors. Economists generally don’t like them, arguing they damage both workers’ careers and economic dynamism. Many states have been working on legislation to give workers more rights, but Idaho recently separated itself from the pack by making it easier for employers to enforce noncompete agreements. Some observers think that move might jeopardize efforts to expand the burgeoning tech hub in Boise. After all, they note, the absence of noncompete agreements in California has contributed to the rapid growth and innovation that allows Silicon Valley to flourish. (The New York Times)
A Rising Tide is Finally Lifting All Boats
There’s good news for workers who earn the least. Those at the bottom of the earnings scale have trailed through much of the economic expansion. But new Labor Department data indicate that, for the first time since 2010, wages grew faster for the 10% lowest-paid workers than for all others, including those at the top of the scale. These gains coincide with a sharp drop in the unemployment rate of workers with less than a high school education—those most likely to be in the bottom 10% of earners. Rising income for low-paid workers is evidence that the labor market may have tightened to the point that wage growth is healthy for nearly all types of workers at all skill levels. (The Wall Street Journal)
Companies are Fleeing the Suburbs
McDonald’s, General Electric and Caterpillar are a few of the high-profile companies that are shunning the suburbs and moving their headquarters closer to major cities. The search for talent is drawing them to city centers and nearby areas instead of the suburban office parks that company leaders have typically favored. This trend leaves many suburban towns out in the cold. Not only do they lose a tax base and high-paying corporate jobs, but also the occasional jolt to construction payrolls when companies rebuild or expand headquarters. (The Washington Post)
Brooklyn Manufacturing on the Rise
The Brooklyn Navy Yard has a long and storied history, and now illustrates broader long-term US manufacturing trends and how to stir up a revival in production. Once a vibrant shipbuilding hub for America’s Navy, the yard fell dormant for many years until the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation gave it new life by subsidizing rents and training local workers. The yard is not home to giant factories, but instead a new wave of high-tech, specialized production facilities. Other cities are taking notice and devising their own plans to attract this new breed of manufacturers. (The Economist)
The Labor Market May Not Be So Tight After All
With a 4.4% unemployment rate and many other measures of the labor market in great shape, economists generally reckon the US is nearing full employment. And that leads to the question: If the economy is doing so well, why is wage growth tepid according to most official figures? Maybe the labor market is not as tight at the low unemployment rate indicates. Adam Ozimek of Moody’s Analytics proposes that alternative measures of wage growth and the labor market suggest pay increases are about where they should be and the job market still has significant room for improvement. (Moody’s Analytics)
Daniel Culbertson is an Economist at the Indeed Hiring Lab with a focus on the US labor market. Daniel previously specialized in regional analysis and forecasting as an economist with Moody’s Analytics and holds a M.A. in economics from the University of Delaware.