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Labor Report

Opportunities Growing for Students Who Pursue Vocational Education

welderEarlier this week, a 7-month-old PBS story about the nation’s growing demand for tradespeople gained renewed traction on social media like Facebook and Twitter as Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf and labor advocates in the legislature lobby for additional vocational training funds in the state’s Fiscal 2019 budget.

The broadcast report and accompanying web article detailed how America’s educational institutions have spent decades encouraging secondary students to attend colleges and pursue academic degrees rather than vocational training, so that many trades now face worker shortages. The article is called “After decades of pushing bachelor’s degrees, U.S. needs more tradespeople.”

“Now California is spending $6 million on a campaign to revive the reputation of vocational education, and $200 million to improve the delivery of it,” the article reports.

In Pennsylvania, Gov. Wolf announced during his February budget address a plan to invest $50 million to improve access for students and workers to education, training and career readiness programs. He also outlined a $25 million plan to grow STEM and computer science-related education in K-12 and postsecondary programs, along with $7 million for apprenticeship and work-based training and $3 million for partnerships between employers and public workforce providers.

Shutdown Averted, Labor Interests Win in New Federal Spending Bill

congressJust one day before a looming federal government shutdown, Congress passed an omnibus spending bill on March 23 that rejected the Trump administration’s proposed funding cuts for the National Labor Relations Board, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and other agencies, while increasing funding for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Notably absent from the bill was language that would have reversed the NLRB’s controversial Browning-Ferris joint-employer standard, despite efforts by Trump’s NLRB appointees and the business community to undermine the Browning-Ferris ruling.

Management-side law firm Ogletree Deakins posted this summation of the omnibus bill.

The bill provides $12.2 billion in Department of Labor funding for the current fiscal year, a $192 million increase over FY 2017. That includes $553 million for OSHA ($9.5 million over the administration’s request), $274 million for NLRB ($16 million over the administration’s request) and $379.5 million for the EEOC (a $15 million increase to address the increase in sexual harassment complaints).

AFL Shows How to Celebrate a Union-Friendly Easter

EasterJust in time for the most joyous day on the Christian calendar, the American Federation of Labor published its “Union-Made in America Easter” list. The compilation features food, snack and supply options that support truly domestic companies and workers. All the products listed are made in America. The Los Angeles County AFL affiliate created the list.

Candy choices include Cadbury eggs and chocolates, Dum Dums, Gimbal’s Gourmet Jelly Beans, Haviland Nonpareils, Jelly Belly, Laffy Taffy, Malted Milk Eggs (PAAS, Mighty Malts), Marshmallow Peeps, Mike and Ike, Necco, Smarties and Tootsie Rolls and Pops.

Easter entrée options include Appleton Farms ham, Black Forest ham, Butterball ham, Cook’s ham, Farmland hams, Fischer Meats lamb, Hormel Honey Roasted ham and Tyson Foods ham.

There are some good American companies that make egg dye such as Alta Dena, Betty Crocker, Clover Sonoma and Horizon.

February 2018 PA Jobs Update

Pennsylvania’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate saw no change in February 2018, remaining at 4.8% for the ninth straight month. Over the prior month, unemployment rolls decreased slightly by 242 individuals, with total unemployment falling just below 310,000. State unemployment statistics for the month are as follows:

  • Total Unemployment – 309,977
  • Change Over Month –  DOWN  242
  • Change Over Gov. Wolf Term – DOWN  35,664
  • Rate Change Over Month – no change
  • Rate Change Over Year –  DOWN   0.3%
  • Rate Change Over Gov. Wolf Term –  DOWN  0.6%

The decrease in unemployment in February 2018 was not large enough to lower the unemployment rate, especially with additional contraction in the state’s labor force (rate = unemployment as % of labor force). The labor force is the number of employed individuals combined with the number of unemployed individuals actively searching for work. Labor force growth is a sign of a strengthening economy from more people working and/or more individuals searching for jobs. However, PA’s labor force fell again in February 2018 by 3,060, a combination of total employment* dropping by 2,818 and unemployment down by 242 as noted above. As of February 2018, labor force growth under Gov. Wolf has declined from a peak of 52,798 in March 2016 (unemployment -312 & total employment +53,110) to 4,284 (unemployment -35,664 & total employment +39,948). State labor force statistics for the month are as follows: 

  • Total Labor Force – 6,410,846
  • Change Over Month – DOWN  3,060
  • Change Over Year – DOWN  32,250
  • Change Over Gov. Wolf Term – UP 4,284

Non-farm* job rolls rose by 10,400 between January and February 2018, marking an 11th consecutive month of growth and pushing total non-farm employment to a new record high of 6.005 million. Between February 2017 and February 2018, the commonwealth added 81,400 new non-farm jobs, ranking it among the top 20 states for new percentage year-over-year growth. Since Gov. Wolf took office, 190,000 new non-farm jobs have been added, which is nearly 40,000 more than were added over Gov. Corbett’s entire term. The addition of 190,000 jobs ranks the commonwealth 30th out of all 50 states for new percentage job growth, a significant improvement from it’s ranking of 48th in the same survey over Gov. Corbett’s term. State non-farm employment statistics for the month are as follows:

  • Total Employment – 6,005,900
  • Change Over Month –  UP 10,400
  • Change Over Year – UP  81,400
  • Change Over Gov. Wolf Term –  UP 190,000

*Total employment for labor force provided by U.S. Census Household survey. The separate BLS Establishment survey measures non-farm jobs only.





Union-Made Easter