“It’s not that the industry is becoming smaller month after month,” said Elise Gould, senior economist at the Economic Policy Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank. “Some people are switching and trying to find a better match in that field.”
Only a handful of states, including California and Washington, have granted farmworkers the right to overtime pay. In the Golden State, agricultural industry experts had predicted the pay would bankrupt farms. However, the number of businesses in the state actually increased during the state’s rollout that began in 2016. “If it can work here, it can work anywhere,” said Daniel Costa, director of immigration law and policy research at the Economic Policy Institute
The strike began on Wednesday, and workers will be out picketing until February 2. It’s the latest group of workers to take to the picket line as thousands across the country fight for better conditions — a moment that the labor movement is hoping to build upon. Despite union approval ratings being at their highest since 1965, union membership has been declining for decades, which the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute attributes to increasingly weakened labor laws that allow employers to host mandatory anti-union meetings and replace striking workers.
Long-distance truck drivers are largely paid by the mile, not the hour, “and they end up working a really tremendous amount of uncompensated hours during the time that they’re in detention,” said Terri Gerstein, director of the State and Local Enforcement Project at the Harvard Labor and Worklife Program and a senior fellow at the Economic Policy Institute. These new studies could help to create a record to start addressing the problem, she said.
While the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute estimates the rule will raise wages for up to 390,000 federal contractors, roughly half of whom are women or people of color, some labor market observers said spillover effects could be limited because the bulk of workers on federal contracts are not paid minimum wages.
And even with an elevated 10.6 million job openings, questions remain about how labor market disparities particularly disadvantage Black women. The Economic Policy Institute has noted that the demographic is disproportionately represented in lower-wage, higher-contact industries like leisure and hospitality that tend to be more sensitive to waves of the virus.
Though the quit rate is high, workers are not necessarily getting out of the job market. “People who quit are taking other jobs, not leaving the workforce,” Heidi Shierholz, president of the Economic Policy Institute, tweeted in response to the report.
Of the 13 Southern states, only Florida and Virginia are among the over 80 jurisdictions that will raise their wages this year. Both states are among the 11 that passed legislation in recent years to gradually raise their minimum wage to $15 an hour. At the start of the year, Virginia raised its minimum wage from $9.50 to $11 an hour. For a full-time, full-year minimum wage worker, this results in an annual wage increase of $3,120, according to the Economic Policy Institute (EPI). In September, Florida’s minimum wage will also increase to $11 an hour.
In a recent analysis of BLS data, Economic Policy Institute senior economist Elise Gould wrote, “The media has focused on the high quits rate, but what’s often missing from that coverage is that workers who are quitting their jobs aren’t dropping out of the labor force, they are quitting to take other jobs.” Indeed, given that hires exceed quits in every sector, it is likely that many workers are switching to better paying jobs within the same sector. Gould also noted that “the labor force fell by nearly 8 million workers in March and April 2020 and has regained about 70% of those losses since then.”
While farm wages have gradually risen over the past 30 years, farmworkers earned an average wage in 2020 of just $14.62 per hour—a rate roughly 60% that of the average wage earned by comparable workers, according to the Economic Policy Institute.
According to the Economic Policy Institute, phasing in a federal $15 minimum wage by 2025 would raise the earnings of 32 million workers—that is, more than 20% of the national workforce. In fact, not only would it help minimum wage workers, but those just above that wage level would benefit from adjusted pay scales.
On the flip side, if the pool of candidates looking for work increases, wages for low-paid jobs “will eventually get pulled down,” said Elise Gould, an economist at the Economic Policy Institute, a liberal-leaning think-tank.
Between 6.8 million and 19.6 million private-sector workers were left without paid sick days because the federal coronavirus law exempted companies with fewer than 50 employees, the Economic Policy Institute, a pro-labor think tank in Washington, D.C., said in June 2020.
Cook’s salary remained at $3 million, however he received about $82.3 million in stock awards, another $12 million for being able to hit the target of their company sales, and about $1.4 million allowance for air travel, insurance premiums and others. All in all, he earned $98.7 million in 2021 alone, the previous year, he only earned about $14.8 million in 2020.It was reported in 2020 that generally, the CEOs in United States are paid at least 351 times more than a typical worker. This was shown on the report that was released by Economic Policy Institute. The compensation for CEOs roughly grew about 60% faster than that of the stock market. However, there is a slow growth of only 18% in a typical worker’s annual pay since 1978.
Farmworkers are some of the lowest-paid workers in the U.S, according to a 2021 report from The Economic Policy Institute. On average, farmworkers in 2020 earned about $14.62 per hour, “far less than even some of the lowest-paid workers in the U.S. labor force,” the report found. Farmworkers at that wage rate earned below 60% compared to what workers outside of agriculture made, according to the report.
Experts can’t point to a clear determining factor to explain the recent increase. However, the Economic Policy Institute points to the fact that the African-American community continues to experience higher rates of COVID-19 hospitalization and deaths.
Blogger Nancy Shenker points out: ‘”More people are turning to freelance work as a second-act career, and close to 40 percent (37%) of freelance workers are over 55, according to the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), as reported by AARP.”
National Economic Council Deputy Director Bharat Ramamurti tweeted out a chart from the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute that showed how quits were elevated in lower-paying sectors. The chart in particular compared the rates of quits and hires by industry:
“We still have aways to go in terms of absorbing the labor force, and people who’ve left the labor force, as well as population growth, but it’s certainly a positive sign,” said Elise Gould, senior economist with the Economic Policy Institute, a Washington think tank.
“I certainly think that the pandemic has led many people to reevaluate their work and their priorities and what they want to do,” Elise Gould, senior economist at the Economic Policy Institute said in a statement to Business Insider.
“The survey that gets maybe the most attention is the total number of jobs added — and that is from the establishment survey,” said Heidi Shierholz, president of the Economic Policy Institute and chief economist at the Labor Department from 2014 to 2017. “Businesses are asked, ‘How many people do you have on payroll?’ So that’s how we get this count of the total number of jobs in the economy.”
There are more than 56,000 domestic workers in the Chicago metro area, according to a 2020 study by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI). The study shows more than 90% of Chicago-area domestic workers are female, about half are either Black or Latino, and roughly 38% are immigrants, according to study findings provided by the Shriver Center. Many domestic workers are also undocumented, according to ARISE Chicago.
Economic Policy Institute senior economist Elise Gould also chimed in, “Discrimination and occupational segregation and all sorts of other related factors have meant that outcomes for Black workers are worse in the labor market than that for white workers…That translates into historically a higher unemployment rate that’s about two times that of white workers throughout the business cycle.”