Jobs growth stays strong with 228,000 rise

Job creation stayed strong in November, the government reported Friday, eliminating any lingering worries about September’s net job losses due to hurricanes in Texas and Florida.

The Labor Department reported 228,000 new jobs in November, down from October’s 244,000 but notably higher than job growth during the months preceding September. October’s gains, the largest of Trump’s presidency, were, economists cautioned, inflated by the previous month’s weather disruptions.

Friday’s report demonstrated that the economy is still expanding at a steady clip in in the ninth year of recovery.

“The job market and the economy are strong,” said Mark Zandi, the chief economist for Moody’s Analytics. “It would be pretty hard to derail.”

The November unemployment was 4.1 percent, the jobs report showed, unchanged from October. Average hourly private-sector earnings rose 2.5 percent in October over the previous year. In October, they were up 2.3 percent.

The release Continue reading “Jobs growth stays strong with 228,000 rise”

Trump administration opposes unions in key Supreme Court case

The Trump administration sided against public employee unions Wednesday evening in a Supreme Court case that could deal the labor movement a crippling financial blow.

In a brief submitted in Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, the Office of Solicitor General sided with a child-support specialist for the state of Illinois who’s challenging AFSCME’s legal right to collect so-called "fair-share fees" from union nonmembers. Unions say such fees are necessary to cover collective bargaining costs for union nonmembers, whom they’re required by law to represent. But plaintiff Mark Janus is arguing that the mandatory fee violates his protected speech under the First Amendment.

Janus’s legal challenge is financed in large part by the conservative Bradley Foundation, which see the case as an opportunity to impose right-to-work rules on public employee unions in all 50 states. Twenty-eight states have passed right-to-work laws blocking private-sector unions from Continue reading “Trump administration opposes unions in key Supreme Court case”

Ivanka Trump struggles to move needle on paid leave

After meeting this week with House and Senate Republicans, Ivanka Trump is no closer to finding a sponsor for her paid leave proposal than when it was proposed in the administration budget last month.

The plan would be a tough sell even for a seasoned politician, which the president’s daughter is not, or in an administration more accustomed than President Donald Trump’s to collaborating closely with Congress. Requiring employers to offer six weeks’ paid leave has little appeal to most Republicans, and limiting the plan to new parents could be a deal-breaker for Democrats.

Trump has said that she’s open to changes, including scrapping the administration plan altogether and starting over. But “any kind of mandate is a nonstarter,” said a Republican congressional aide.

The White House and key Republicans in Congress say it’s still early in the process. “We know how hard it is going to be,” one White Continue reading “Ivanka Trump struggles to move needle on paid leave”

Ivanka Trump meets senators on paid leave, tax credits

Ivanka Trump met with Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) and a handful of others Tuesday to discuss paid leave and tax credits for families.

The president’s elder daughter met with the senators for about an hour in a small room on the first floor of the Capitol. According to those present, she did not ask senators to support the White House’s proposal, but rather listened to their ideas.

“There is a growing desire in the Republican conference in the Senate and House to address the fundamental fact that there are people in America who have decided they can’t afford to have children because they can’t take a month off of work,” Rubio told reporters. “I think today was a receive mode: Listening to some of the concepts and ideas that are already out there.”

The White House has proposed a six-week leave plan in Continue reading “Ivanka Trump meets senators on paid leave, tax credits”

Trump to sign executive order on apprenticeships

President Donald Trump will sign an executive order Thursday that will cut back the federal government’s role in creating and monitoring apprenticeship programs, a move that the White House says will help fill vacant jobs.

The executive order, which Trump was expected to sign in conjunction with an 11 a.m. speech, is another anti-regulatory victory for business interests. It will move the role of developing government-funded apprenticeship programs from the Labor Department to third-party private entities — including trade groups, labor unions and businesses. The third parties will set their own bar for success and submit their metrics to the Labor Department for approval.

The order will also double the amount of money for apprenticeship grants, from $90 million to nearly $200 million a year.

Trump’s aides said the proposal will make it easier for businesses to operate their own unique apprenticeship programs, cutting back red tape. But it Continue reading “Trump to sign executive order on apprenticeships”

Trump expected to change certification for apprenticeships

President Donald Trump is expected to sign an executive order Wednesday that would virtually eliminate oversight of government-subsidized apprenticeship programs, according to a source familiar with a draft of the plan.

The draft executive order would shift certification of federally funded apprenticeship programs from the Labor Department to grant recipients, a move that effectively would eliminate government oversight. Right now, companies that receive government funds must report certain information to the Labor Department; under Trump’s plan, the companies would essentially monitor themselves, the source said.

Trump is expected to sign the order in conjunction with a policy speech at the Labor Department Wednesday afternoon.

The president’s plan would also propose more than doubling the amount allotted for for apprenticeship grants, adding $100 million to Trump’s existing 2018 budget request of $90 million. The budget request represented only a one percent increase. The source — who was briefed by a colleague Continue reading “Trump expected to change certification for apprenticeships”

Trump’s ‘Apprentice’ gamble

"Infrastructure Week" didn’t draw the public’s attention away from James Comey. Maybe reviving "The Apprentice" will.

Next week the White House will embark on a three-day blitz to sell what President Donald Trump’s advisers say is a key part of his agenda to revive the middle class: boosting apprenticeship programs for blue-collar workers.

The centerpiece will be a speech Trump will deliver at the Labor Department Wednesday to announce yet-undisclosed executive actions to promote job training. On Tuesday, Trump and his daughter, Ivanka, will travel to Waukesha, Wis., for a roundtable on apprenticeships with Scott Walker, the state’s governor and one of Trump’s rivals in last year’s GOP primary.

The White House, of course, is still struggling to rise above the news generated by investigations of the Trump campaign’s possible connection to Russian attempts to disrupt the 2016 election. Former FBI Director Comey, whose Thursday congressional testimony Continue reading “Trump’s ‘Apprentice’ gamble”