South-Westerns' Economic News Summaries
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EconNews Online is South-Western's service to provide summaries of the latest economics news stories. Review the brief summaries and, for stories of interest, select the full summary.
LABOR MARKETS
Title  Brief Summary 
Chinaís Wages on the Rise, and Workers Grow Scarce
Full Summary 
China is experiencing the strange problem of not having enough workers at some of its factories. As a result, factory owners are being forced to raise wages to bring in additional help. Itís a phenomenon thatís not likely to end anytime soon.
(Updated September, 2007)
Skilled Laborers Discover that Migration is a Two-Way Street
Full Summary 
Much of the focus of the immigration debate has centered on poor workers moving to rich countries. But there is a growing class of rich, skilled workers who migrate in search of income and/or benefits.
(Updated September, 2007)
Wage-Insurance Idea Faces an Uphill Battle
Full Summary 
A new idea floating through Congress involves the government subsidizing a portion of the lost wages when a worker loses a job as a result of globalization and ends up taking a job that pays lower wages. Some Democrats love the idea, but others—including organized labor unions—are adamantly opposed.
(Updated March, 2007)
For Vets, Small Animals are More Profitable Than Large Animals
Full Summary 
Farmers in rural areas are beginning to see a decline in the availability of vets to help their large animals. Since 1990, the number of large animal vets has declined by about 25%, and it's because of simple economics: more money can be made with small animals than with large.
(Updated February, 2007)
The Value of Beauty is in the Statistical Model of the Beholder
Full Summary 
What makes a painting by Gustav Klimt worth $88 million? A later Cezanne worth $37 million, but an early Cezanne for only $1.1 million? Usually those differences get chalked up to that aphorism about beauty being in the eye of the beholder. But an economist at the University of Chicago think that the value of the beauty can be statistically modeled.
(Updated January, 2007)
Voters Go to the Polls to Raise the Minimum Wage
Full Summary 
Those who oppose raising the minimum wage in the U.S. argue that such raises increase the costs of employing workers, which reduces demand for low-wage workers, which in turn ultimately takes money out of these workers' pockets. If this argument rings true, then why are six states going to the polls in November to raise the minimum wage in their states, and then index it to inflation thereafter? Why do 21 other states set their minimum wages higher than the federal minimum wage level?
(Updated November, 2006)
When You're Fighting for Jobs, "International Brotherhood" May Be Just Words
Full Summary 
The number of unionized workers in the US fell to 13% of the workforce by 2005, and there's no sign that participation rates will rise again, unless unions are able to get what their members want. Or so they think.
(Updated October, 2006)
Guess What? Women Earn Less Than Men Do
Full Summary 
Economic theory has long held that people may be paid different wages for different reasons without those differences necessarily relating to gender discrimination. Referred to as compensating differentials, these differences may include willingness to take on risk, need to travel, willingness to work beyond the scope of the job description, etc, and account for a significant difference in pay of similarly trained workers. The balance is then accounted for by looking at discrimination, based on age, gender, etc.
(Updated October, 2006)
Executive Options Are Like Medicine: We May not Like Them, but They're Usually Good for Us
Full Summary 
Recent scandals involving the "backdating" of stock options for executives has called the use of stock options to motivate top managers into question. This article suggests that, while some people have used the incentives for their own gain, we need not throw out the entire system when the system itself isn't flawed.
(Updated August, 2006)
Wal-Mart Unionizes in China; Is the US Next?
Full Summary 
Wal-Mart announced in August that it will agree to unionize all of its stores in China. In fact, the superstore giant will work closely with the Chinese government to get the unions operating in the stores. Aligning itself with the All-China Federation of Trade Unions is a step in a significantly different direction for the retail giant; can unionizing its stores in the U.S. be far behind?
(Updated August, 2006)
Now that Firms Around the Globe Look to China to Cure Their Production Cost Woes, Where Are the Workers?
Full Summary 
China, until recently the leader in low-wage production, is experiencing labor market changes that could have significant effect on the global marketplace: It canít find enough workers. In Guangdong Province, factories were short over a half million workers last year, and in Fujian Province, factories were short 300,000 workers. As a result, wages in Chinese factories are on the rise—an increase of almost 25% over the last three years.
(Updated June 2006)
Let Us Keep Your Best and Brightest-It's the Poor Ones We Don't Want
Full Summary 
The news often shows illegal immigrants taking jobs from decent tax-paying Americans. But legal immigration is suffering mightily in the wake of immigration reform--and that could cost the U.S. dearly.
(Updated May 2006)
Do You Have a License to Make Those Ice Cream Cones?
Full Summary 
Recent research indicates that a growing number of occupations require state licensing as a precondition for employment. In fact, twice as many people are now working in licensed positions than those working in unionized jobs, a big twist from 20 years ago. Why?
(Updated March 2006)
Strikes—Unions Go XTreme
Full Summary 
The New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), which oversees New York Cityís subway and bus lines, is going toe to toe with the TWU (Transportation Workersí Union) Local 100. Neither side is blinking.
(Updated December 2005)
People may be forced to make smart decisions!
Full Summary 
Why do people make seemingly questionable decisions? Are they actually doing whatís in their best interests? Thomas Schelling, a Nobel-Prize winning economist, seems to think so.
(Updated November 2005)
The Okies in the 30ís, the Mexicans Today
Full Summary 
In John Steinbeckís classic novel of the depression called The Grapes of Wrath, Oklahoma residents wiped out by the dustbowl (the Okies) moved to California to earn their daily living picking agricultural products; today, itís the Mexicans. Same story, same conclusion, apparently.
(Updated October, 2005)
Want a Job? Try Mining in Australia
Full Summary 
Would you want to work in an industry that requires specialized skills; demands long, sometimes, dangerous hours; requires you to work at remote, often deserted locations, and that suffers from uncertain effects from business cycles? Well, mining companies have jobs for you!
(Updated October, 2005)
Costco's business model proves successful
Full Summary 
Costco is the largest warehouse retailer, with almost 50% of the market, compared with Sam's Club 40% market share. Costco's profit last year was $882 million, up 22% from the previous year. How does it do it and keep it going?
(Updated September, 2005)
Give me your tired, your poor, and the ones willing to work for lower wages
Full Summary
Under pressure to reduce transportation costs, shipping companies are scanning the globe looking for low-ranked seamen - known as "ratings" - who are willing to work for lower pay and under more extreme conditions than others. Their search is taking them to Southeast Asia and away from Europe, where they had been looking previously.
(Updated November, 2004)
You Pay for Average, You Get Average
Full Summary
The general public holds a perception that public school teachers aren't as smart as they used to be. Recent research both refutes and supports that perception.
(Updated May, 2004)
Pilots Save Jobs by Offering to Take Less Pay
Full Summary
The union representing Delta Airlines' pilots have offered to cut pilots' wages by 9%, as well as forgo a 4.5% pay raise for pilots next year, in an attempt to stem company losses.
(Updated February, 2004)
Here to Work, and Here to Stay
Full Summary
Increased U.S. border security has created an unusual problem - migrant workers who entered the country illegally are finding that they can't leave, and so are staying. This increase is taxing the public sector programs in communities in which illegal immigrants live.
(Updated October 17, 2003)
Homeland Security: Robbing Peter to Pay Paul
Full Summary
The new Transportation Security Administration is hiring thousands of workers for airport and airline security. However, it is causing widespread attrition at other agencies, necessitating pay increases.
(Updated October 10, 2002)
 
College: To Go or Not To Go - That is the Question
Full Summary
In the Tampa Bay area, the market for skilled tradespeople is strong. Three or four years after high school, workers can earn as much as a college graduate. Some therefore question the value of college.
(Updated October 10, 2002)
 
Child Labor
Full Summary
In the UK, children are less willing to do household chores voluntarily than a generation ago. They want financial remuneration. Pay varies by task and by gender.
(Updated June 15, 2002)
 
What's Up? Docs Leaving
Full Summary
Doctors are deserting traditional hospitals for doctor-owned specialty centers where the schedule is more efficient, payments to doctors are higher, and a share of the profit can be earned.
(Updated May 6, 2002)
 
Hiring Freezes Thaw as Winter Ends
Full Summary
Hiring freezes are thawing as optimism about an economic recovery increases. However, firms are being very judicious about the number and types of hires they are making.
(Updated May 1, 2002)
 
Schroder Re-Election Campaign in Shreds
Full Summary
Germany's Chancellor Schroder's re-election campaign is being hindered by rising unemployment. Hence he proposes to subsidize lower-paid workers' contributions to insurance and health funds in order to induce more to work.
(Updated April 1, 2002)
 
British Employers Cast a Net for Social Workers in Spain
Full Summary
Vacancies in social work positions in Britain are high. Attempts to remedy the situation include promotional campaigns, paying people to train to be social workers, and recruiting from Spain's social work schools.
(Updated January 15, 2002)
 
Immigration Plusses and Minuses
Full Summary 

Immigrants are sometimes said to be taking jobs away from Americans, but they are fuelling economic growth, make a net contribution to the government, and keep prices lower.

(UpdatedDecember 1, 2001)

Education Pays, But Also Costs
Full Summary 
In the U.K. in 1997, the Labour Government introduced tuition fees for university students and eliminated maintenance grants for living expenses. In the face of parental anger, it is now contemplating a supplementary tax on graduates with higher incomes.
(Updated November 1, 2001)
 
Working Longer and Harder
Full Summary 
In the 1990s, the average work year of an American worker grew, surpassing that of Japanese workers. Reasons include the American culture, mothers returning to work more quickly, increasing proportions of professional and multiple job-holders, and the U.S. economic boom.
(Updated October 1, 2001)
 
Slowdown Puts Brakes on Teenage Jobs and Pay
Full Summary 
The economic slowdown is increasing the teenage unemployment rate. Job searching is more protracted and intense. Pay, hours, and conditions are often worse than a year ago.
(Updated September 1, 2001)
 
Amsterdam's Prostitutes: Pros and Cons
Full Summary 
In Amsterdam, a new law regulates brothels and the citizenship and tax liability of prostitutes. The result has been that brothels are less attractive, while many prostitutes have had to give up their profession.
(Updated September 1, 2001)
 
Comair Pilots Flying High
Full Summary 
Pilots at Comair, the Delta regional airline, have voted to end their strike. The new contract gives them improved salaries and benefits. However, it will take some time to restore service to previous levels.
(Updated September 1, 2001)
 
Tiger King of Appearance Fees and Prize Money
Full Summary 
Tiger Woods commands very high appearance fees. He also wins a lot of prize money. However, his success is increasing what his rivals can earn. Tempting appearance fees elsewhere have led the PGA Tour to control how many top golfers can miss an event.
(Updated July 1, 2001)
 
Hoffa Cements Lead With Growth Promises
Full Summary 
The Teamster union election occurs later in 2001. James P. Hoffa, Jr., is favored to win on his promises of union growth, political independence and financial stability. However, he is fighting an uphill battle against the forces that have reduced the size of the union over the past decade.
(Updated July 1, 2001)
 
Breaches Appear in 'Fortress Europe'
Full Summary 
European immigration policy is allowing more immigration by skilled workers to remedy shortages. However, it has been criticized because it does not recognize the benefits of greater unskilled worker immigration.
(Updated May 1, 2001)
 
Teacher Trauma
Full Summary 
In the UK, there is shortage of teachers, especially in London and in math and languages. Teacher pay has been increased, which is expected to induce more graduates to teach. However, it is argued that working conditions still need improvement.
(Updated May 1, 2001)
 
Energized CEOs: They Keep Going and Going
Full Summary 
  In the past, CEOs would step down and take life more slowly. Nowadays, many are becoming CEOs in other companies, working nearly as hard (or harder in some cases).
(Updated April 1, 2001)
 
Oldies are Seen as Golden
Full Summary 
Older workers are being discouraged from retiring. Part-time work and telecommuting, and benefits for part-time work, are being offered to induce longer work lives. In return, employers get loyal, well-connected, and high quality workers.
(Updated February 1, 2001)
 
Unions Go Hi-Tech
Full Summary 
Decreased financing for online firms is causing layoffs and diminished pay and stock option prospects. Employees are considering unionizing.
(Updated January 1, 2001)
 
Immigration: Help or Hindrance?
Full Summary 
The Immigration and Naturalization Service is becoming more lenient in the wake of a change in attitudes toward immigrants in society. It is awarding more visas and green cards, and is raiding workplaces less often. The main cause appears to be the worker shortage in the growing economy.
(Updated January 1, 2001)
 
Low Supply of High Tech Workers
Full Summary 
There is a debate over whether more H-1B visas should be issued. One side says that it is vital in order to overcome a high-tech labor shortage. The other side states that high tech employers are simply replacing American workers with cheap foreign labor.
(Updated November 1, 2000)
 
Retirees Model the Energizer Bunny: They Keep Going and Going and Going
Full Summary 
Older workers are increasingly choosing to stay in the labor force and postpone retirement. Among baby boomers, one study found that 80 percent expect to work during retirement: 35 percent for interest/enjoyment; 23 percent primarily for income; 17 percent to start a business; and 5 percent to try a different field of work.
(Updated October 1, 2000)
 
Ad Agencies' Problems Multiply As Workers Are Taken Away and Actors Won't Act
Full Summary 
While the ad business is booming largely due to dot-com spending, talented staffers are spurning ad agencies in favor of dot-com employment. A strike by actors is also hampering the production of commercials.
(Updated July 1, 2000)
 
NYPD Blue - in the Face, as LA Cops Poach Potential Recruits
Full Summary 
Applications to the New York City Police Department have been falling due to low starting salaries, better opportunities in the private sector, and poor community relations. Now police recruiters from LA are tempting residents with higher pay, a better climate, and lower educational requirements.
(Updated July 1, 2000)
 
Patients Care As Nurse Recruitment Resembles a Roller Coaster
Full Summary 
Nursing school enrollments continue to decline, causing a shortage of nurses and endangering patient care. One solution would be to make nursing more attractive. However, a recruitment program in the 1980s did this and created an oversupply of nurses.
(Updated May 1, 2000)
 
Boeing, Boeing, Gone? No - The Strike is Over
Full Summary 
Boeing engineering workers have returned to work after a six-week strike that crippled the delivery of airplanes. The workers achieved most of their bargaining objectives: they will retain their health-care benefits, and receive raises and bonuses.
(Updated May 1, 2000)
 
Teachers Work for Peanuts, Not Apples
Full Summary 
Teachers' pay is lagging behind that of other college-educated professionals. The gap is increasing. Teaching is less attractive. The result is that school districts are hiring teachers with inadequate qualifications.
(Updated March 1, 2000)
 
Labor Pains Followed By Rebirth of Unions?
Full Summary 
After decades of decline, union membership rose in 1999. It was due to unions putting more resources into organizing workers, and unionized employers expanding their workforces.
(Updated March 1, 2000)
 
The Army Is Not All That It Could Be
Full Summary 
The Army is experiencing a shortfall in recruits due to the tight labor market in which private sector employers are giving similar benefits. The Army is changing its ad agency and plans to offer high-school equivalency programs to recruit more high-school graduates.
(Updated February 1, 2000)
 
The Rich Get Richer, The Poor Get Slightly Richer
Full Summary 
The economic boom of the 1990s is improving real incomes. Poverty is lower. However, the gains are small, and often at the cost of more work hours. The rich and more educated have gained disproportionately.
(Updated December 1, 1999)
 
School's Out - of Teachers?
Full Summary 
There is a debate over whether there is a teacher shortage. One side argues that teachers exceed vacancies in most areas, while the other states that over the coming decade the growth in enrollments and teacher retirements will cause a shortage, especially in some subjects.
(Updated November 1, 1999)
 
The Military is Looking for A Lot of Good People
Full Summary
The Army and Air Force are failing to meet their recruitment targets this year. Young people would rather go to college and start a civilian career because the military does not pay well and is associated with discipline, boot camp, danger, and mobility.
(Updated August 1, 1999)
The Fall and Rise of Economists
Full Summary
Economists are being laid off by manufacturing and finance firms due to mergers, inaccuracies in predictions, and a realization that much information is available on the internet. However, consulting opportunities are increasing.
(Updated July 1, 1999)
Teacher Brain Drain
Full Summary
A Minneapolis-St.Paul school district is having recruitment and retention problems. Its starting salaries are low due to teachers' contract and inadequate governmental aid and a poor property tax base. Solutions include more aid, higher taxes or larger classes.
(Updated June 1, 1999)
Emergency in Acute Care: A Nursing Shortage
Full Summary
There is a shortage of specialized nurses. The population is aging and needing more health care, but nurses are also aging and retiring. Hospitals are therefore raising wages and benefits, and offering bounties for referrals and bonuses to new employees.
(Updated May 1, 1999)
No Room at the Top for Women: MIT's Glass Ceiling
Full Summary
MIT has admitted that there is evidence of discrimination against women in its School of Science. Women are hired and promoted less and receive fewer resources. The American Association of University Professors states that, nationally, the pay gap between male and female faculty has widened.
(Updated May 1, 1999)
Union Strikes it Rich
Full Summary
The biggest union victory in over 50 years-the organizing of 74,000 home care workers in Los Angeles County-has precipitated predictions of a labor revival. The campaign reflected a new focus on low-paid service workers. Future wins will be difficult due to employer resistance, however.
(Updated April 1, 1999)
Foreign Fears of Ford Flushing Fitness Facilities
Full Summary
Ford's purchase of the Volvo car division is causing Swedish workers to be anxious about whether they will lose their health and fitness facilities. They argue that the centers help reduce absenteeism and compensate for lower pay and higher taxes compared to the U.S.
(Updated April 1, 1999)
 
Pilots' Union Aborts Strike Take-Off
Full Summary
FedEx pilots have suspended their strike threat. Other employees had been critical of them. Management had leased replacement planes and trucks. It planned to lay off striking pilots. Some pilots were expected to cross the picket line. Now the best time for a strike is disappearing.
(Updated January 1, 1999)
 
Tampa Bay
Full Summary
In the Tampa Bay region, wages appear to be low. However, this masks significant differences between and within occupations. The average low pay could reflect the non-wage benefits of the area, the low cost of living, and the lack of union militancy.
(Updated December 1, 1998)
 
Unions Dismembered
Full Summary
The United Auto Workers is losing members and dues because of outsourcing, production abroad, new technology, and retirements. Similar trends are evident in other unions. Unions are recruiting vigorously to stem the flow, encouraged by key victories in the UPS and American Airlines disputes.
(Updated October 15, 1998)
 
Northwest Goes South
Full Summary
Northwest Airlines pilots are on strike because they feel that the company's offer is inadequate compensation for the pay cuts agreed to in 1993 when the airline was in financial difficulties. In spite of record profits, Northwest says that it cannot afford the increases, particularly because it knows that other groups will want similar raises.
(Updated October 15, 1998)
All Work and No Play
Full Summary 
Although retirees and discouraged workers are joining the labor force, increases in individuals' hours of work are more significant sources of growth in the supply of labor. This is due to attempts to maintain real incomes in the face of declining real hourly wage rates.
(Updated August 18, 1998)
Decreasing Differentials
Full Summary 
The relative pay of women has improved over the past year, reflecting greater increases in pay. The causes are reputed to be the booming economy, hikes in the minimum wage, and performance-based pay systems.
(Updated August 18, 1998)
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