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As the jobs recovery nears completion, it’s time to talk about job quality

The economy added 431,000 jobs in March, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, while the unemployment rate fell to a historic low of 3.6% that has…

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By Makada Henry-Nickie, Regina Seo, Anthony Barr

The economy added 431,000 jobs in March, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, while the unemployment rate fell to a historic low of 3.6% that has only been matched three times in the past 50 years (See Figure 1). The job numbers paint a positive story of economic recovery from the COVID-19 recession. However, persistent racial gaps, job gains accruing mostly to lower-paying industries, and rising prices call for continued support to ensure all workers have quality jobs with decent pay and benefits.

Who benefitted most from the jobs gains in March?

Although unemployment rates fell for most race and gender groups, Black unemployment rates continue to be almost the twice the national rate at 6.2%. Disaggregated further by gender, Black men and women have the highest unemployment rates (5.6% and 5.5%), followed by Hispanic women and men (4.2% and 3.8%).

Most job gains accrued to women, but Black women gained the least

Most of the job gains in March accrued to women who outmaneuvered men in the scuffle to match to better job opportunities. Women clutched a total of 271,000 jobs in March and that is roughly two of out every three jobs employers created during March, leaving men with just about 160,000 or 37% of the job gain. Most of these women-earned jobs (161,000) were concentrated in three primary sectors: Leisure and Hospitality (24.7%), Education and Health Services (19.2%), and Professional Business Services (15.5%).

A healthy upthrust in women’s labor force participation supports the notion that the promise of higher wages and plentiful jobs are encouraging women to return to work. Nearly 250,000 women entered the labor force in March but the participation rates across racial groups were markedly skewed. Asian women made significant progress in their labor market participation with approximately 174,000 Asian women entering the labor force. 64,000 white women and 74,000 Hispanic women entered the labor force, compared to a mere 32,000 Black women. In a prior analysis, we identified several structural barriers to female employment including misalignment between job schedules and care needs. Policymakers should address these hurdles that women face working to regain their pre-pandemic progress.

Black and Hispanic men are exiting the workforce

The March job landscape was especially daunting for minority men. Roughly 230,000 Black and Hispanic men exited the labor force, with the former accounting for 65% of these exits. What sectors were most affected? Cross-referencing Hispanic and Black men’s labor force contraction to industry-level job changes provides some insight into the potential drivers of this dynamic. For example, while the transportation and warehousing sector shed 500 jobs in the aggregate, trucking transportation was among the six subsectors within transportation that posted net job losses. Black men and Hispanic men are overrepresented in the transportation sector, especially in the truck transportation subsector which was the largest driver of job loss in the transportation sector.

Why did Black and Hispanic men fare so poorly? These countervailing job losses in select male-dominated sectors could explain why the employment fortunes of Black and Hispanic men seemed to reverse course. Numerous reports and studies have also examined how racism in the labor market crowds minority men into select occupations that expose them to volatility in the business cycle. Part of the decline in their labor force participation may also be due to men of color taking on more roles in dependent care as our survey with SaverLife suggested. Our colleague has pointed out that the decline in labor force participation accounted for most of the decline in employment. Missing men from the labor force is a concern because prime-age men that are out of the labor force are more likely to have poorer health and experience lower well-being compared to their female counterparts.

Most Job Gains Accrued to Lower-Paying Industries

Most of the job gains in March came from industries that pay lower wages compared to the national average in the private sector. While the average hourly earnings for total private industries was $31.70, the average hourly earnings for leisure and hospitality, retail trade and manufacturing were below the national average at $19.70, $22.90, and $30.60 respectively. Notably, Hispanic and female workers are overrepresented in the leisure and hospitality sector, while Black, Hispanic, and female workers are overrepresented in the retail trade sector.

While leisure and hospitality is the lowest paying industry, it has seen the highest wage gains relative to last year — an encouraging indication that labor market tightness is generating substantial financial benefits for low-wage workers. Undoubtedly, anxious employers increasing their demand for workers and strong wage growth in these sectors are compelling factors to drawing women in from the sidelines into the Great Workforce Shuffle in search of higher-paying jobs. Leisure and hospitality employers continue to compete on wages to rebuild already strained workforces. According to Figure 2, average earnings in the sector rose 11.8% from a year ago. But the fact remains that job gains were most dominant in low-paying sectors.

Graph showing incremental increases in hourly wage jobs across all sectors

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 2.7% of workers in the leisure and hospitality industry are represented by a union. The lack of unionization may have further implications for wages: workers in the industry who are represented by a union have median weekly earnings that are a little over a $100 than the median earned by those not represented by a union. In addition, the low rate of unionization likely contributes to the lack of employer-provided benefits. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 68% of workers in the leisure and hospitality industry do not have access to employer-sponsored healthcare, and 70% of workers do not currently have access to a retirement plan through their employer.

Policy recommendations to support workers with low pay and few benefits

The consumer price index increased by 8.5% in the last 12 months, erasing real gains in wages. Inflation can disproportionately hurt Black households who spend a higher share of their income on necessity goods with shorter price durations such as electricity, utilities, and groceries compared to discretionary items that white households devote a higher income share on such as full-service restaurant meals, hospital services, and dental services. It is crucial to support low-paid workers to keep up with the rising prices of necessity goods.

As an effort to address low wages in tipped occupations mostly in the leisure and hospitality sector, new regulations from the Department of Labor went into effect in December requiring employers to pay tip-based workers at least the federal minimum wage for any labor that is not work that produces tips or work that directly supports tip-producing work. The Labor Department and Congress should look to implement additional policies to ensure workers in this industry are properly compensated. In addition, federal policies that ensure better benefits for part-time workers such as expediting their access to 401(k) plans or making matching contributions on employees’ student loan payments are needed to address the absence of employer-sponsored benefits in the lowest paying industries.

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Modified mRNA Demonstrates 10-Fold Protein Production

Scientists at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology came up with a technique to increase the efficiency and potentially the efficacy of mRNA therapeutics….

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Scientists at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology came up with a technique to increase the efficiency and potentially the efficacy of mRNA therapeutics. mRNA molecules have what is called a poly-A tail, which is basically a string of adenine nucleotides at one end. These researchers discovered that by replacing some of these nucleotides in the mRNA tail with cytidine, a cytosine base with a ribose sugar attached, that they could enhance the resulting protein production of the mRNA and increase its stability and life-span. The technique could lead to more effective mRNA therapies and vaccines, potentially enabling clinicians to achieve similar or better effects with smaller doses.

mRNA therapies have come a long way in just the last few years. The COVID-19 pandemic has propelled this approach from an emerging technology to a mainstay of our vaccine response. The concept is elegant – deliver mRNA strands to the patient, and allow their own cellular machinery to produce the relevant protein that the strands code for. So far, so good – the approach, once considered unrealistic because of the fragility of mRNA, has proven to work very well, at least for COVID-19 vaccines.  

However, there is always room for improvement. One of the issues with current mRNA therapies is that they can require multiple rounds of dosing to create enough of the therapeutic protein to achieve the desired effect. Think of the multiple injections required for the COVID-19 vaccines. Creating mRNA therapies that can induce our cells to produce more protein would certainly be beneficial.

To address this limitation, these researchers have found a way to modify the poly-A tail of synthetic mRNA strands. They found that by replacing some of the adenosine in the mRNA tail with cytidine, they could drastically increase the amount of protein the resulting strands ended up producing when applied to human cells and in mice. This translated to 3-10 times as much protein when compared with unmodified mRNA.

The researchers hope that the approach can enhance the effectiveness and required dosing schedules for mRNA therapies.

“Increasing the protein production of synthetic mRNA is generally beneficial to all mRNA drugs and vaccines,” said Becki Kuang, a researcher involved in the study. “In collaboration with Sun Yat-Sen University, our team is now exploring the use of optimized tails for mRNA cancer vaccines on animal. We are also looking forward to collaborating with pharmaceutical companies to transfer this invention onto mRNA therapeutics and vaccines’ development pipelines to benefit society.”

See a short animation about the technology below.

Study in journal Molecular Therapy – Nucleic Acids: Cytidine-containing tails robustly enhance and prolong protein production of synthetic mRNA in cell and in vivo

Via: Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

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LIV Golf Expands to Courses Used By PGA Tour

LIV Golf announced three new venues to its 2023 calendar.
The post LIV Golf Expands to Courses Used By PGA Tour appeared first on Front Office Sports.

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LIV Golf is pushing further into the PGA Tour’s turf.

The Saudi Arabia-backed league announced three new venues for its 2023 season, all of which are used regularly by the PGA Tour or DP World Tour.

  • In February, LIV Golf will come to El Camaleón in Mexico’s Mayakoba resort area. The course, designed by Greg Norman prior to his role as LIV Golf CEO, was the PGA Tour’s first course in Latin America.
  • In April, LIV will travel to Sentosa in Singapore, which has hosted the Singapore Open.
  • In June, the tour will make its trip to Spain’s Real Club Valderrama, whose history includes the Ryder Cup and DP World Tour events.

LIV is also adding The Grange Golf Club in Adelaide, Australia, as it grows to 14 events next year.

The PGA Tour, which is under investigation by the Justice Department over antitrust concerns, hired lobbyist and major Republican fundraiser Jeff Miller to improve its standing in Washington.

PGA Tour Hires Top Republican Strategist Amid LIV Golf Clash

The PGA Tour could be seeking help on the antitrust front.
December 1, 2022

Bank Shots

LIV golfers Phil Mickelson and Sergio Garcia responded to Tiger Woods after the latter called for Norman’s ouster due to his pugilistic stance toward the PGA Tour.

“Greg Norman is our CEO, and we support him,” said Garcia. “We all wish we could come to an agreement. There are people who could have done wrong in both places, but it seems that there are only bad guys on one side.”

Mickelson responded to a comment by Woods that the PGA Tour had to take out a huge loan to survive past the pandemic by tweeting out financial information from the Tour’s public documents.

The post LIV Golf Expands to Courses Used By PGA Tour appeared first on Front Office Sports.

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XPeng stock rises 48% from a double-bottom pattern. Should you buy it?

Shares of XPeng Inc. (NYSE:XPEV) rose 48% on Thursday premarket after promising delivery outlook. XPeng posted 5,811 electric vehicle deliveries in November….

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Shares of XPeng Inc. (NYSE:XPEV) rose 48% on Thursday premarket after promising delivery outlook. XPeng posted 5,811 electric vehicle deliveries in November. Despite the number falling 63% from the prior year, it increased 14% from October. The increase in deliveries reflected the easing of Covid-19 rules, which have hit EV makers in China this year.

XPeng said it expects the deliveries to rise significantly in December 2022. The deliveries will be boosted by a ramp-up in the production of G9s. Analysts project up to 10,000 deliveries in December. The delivery outlook overshadowed a reported Q3 loss of $0.39. XPeng’s revenue, however, rose 19.3% to $959.2 million or £786 million. The positive stock market news and outlook boosted the outlook for XPEV, which is already down 80% YTD.

XPEV recovers above the MA amid a bullish RSI divergence

XPEV Chart by TradingView

On the daily chart, XPEV recovered above the 20-day and 50-day moving averages. It is for the first time that the stock is recovering above the moving averages since July. 

XPEV is also recovering from a double bottom that formed close to $6.2. A bullish RSI divergence also occurred towards $6.2. The level could prove to be the bottom price if XPEV maintains the recovery. The RSI reading of 60 indicates that XPEV is yet to reach overbought levels.

How attractive is XPEV?

This article finds investing in XPEV favourable in the short term. With the deliveries and outlook, XPEV could continue to rise. The levels around $12 and $14 should be watched.

It should be noted that Chinese car sales tend to pick up towards the end of the year. So, it is possible for XPEV to maintain gains in the medium term, with the expectation.

However, we consider the greater stock market risks still high. China also still needs to ease its strict Covid-19 policy further, and it could weigh the automakers.

The post XPeng stock rises 48% from a double-bottom pattern. Should you buy it? appeared first on Invezz.

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