Oregon Business News Update,
Edward Snowden was interviewed by John Oliver and included a new phone case that hides your location.
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By Dr. Eric Fruits,
On Demand Newsletter
Pokémon Go is a free-to-play location-based mobile game available on iPhones and Android devices.
The game allows players to capture, battle, and train virtual creatures, called Pokémon, who appear on device screens as though in the real world. It makes use of GPS and the camera of compatible devices.
The game’s been out a week, and it’s a huge hit. But, a lot of people – including business people – seem downright hostile to the game. Big mistake!
By Josh Lehner
Oregon Office of Economic Analysis Blog
This Oregon Employment Department released the initial estimates for June 2016 in terms of jobs and the unemployment rate. Overall the data continue to bring good news, even as the unemployment rate ticked up a bit. The reason being is the state continues to add jobs and the labor force is growing. As shown below, our office’s measures we use to gauge labor market slack continue to improve — certainly over the past year.
Oregon businesses reported 47,600 vacancies in spring 2016. That’s an increase of 6,400 from winter, but 5,700 fewer job vacancies than the all-time high of 53,300 in spring 2015.
Congressman Kurt Schrader (OR-5), Congressman Jim Cooper (TN-5), Congressman Henry Cuellar (TX-28) and Congressman Collin Peterson (MN-7) introduced legislation that will initiate a reasonable three-year phase-in of the Department of Labor’s new overtime rule. The new rule, proposed in May, raises the threshold for employees who are exempt from overtime pay from $23,660 to $47,476, and goes into effect immediately on December 1, 2016. The Overtime Reform and Enhancement Act, introduced today, will incrementally phase in the new threshold of $47,476 over the next three years, beginning with a 50% increase this December. As the final threshold more than doubles, this is the first time since 2004 that the threshold for overtime exemption will be raised.
Now that the massive Gross Receipts Tax measure IP 28 will be on Oregon’s November ballot, we likely will see many estimates of its impact on the state economy.
An economic research center at Portland State University just came out with its report on the measure, funded by the measure’s sponsor, union-backed Our Oregon.
Too bad that the sponsors picked a center headed by a respected former Oregon State economist who said publicly in March that their proposal would be “like a sales tax on steroids.”
As of May 30, the Department of Revenue has processed $14.9 million in marijuana tax payments this year. Medical marijuana dispensaries started collecting a 25-percent tax on their recreational marijuana sales in January.
The department would like to remind dispensaries that their first-quarter marijuana tax returns were due on May 2, 2016. As of June 17, 57 percent of the 319 dispensaries that have made at least one monthly payment have filed a return. Dispensaries who haven’t filed their returns should have received a notice from the department reminding them of their filing obligation.
Oregon Law Firm
By Josephine Ko
The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (“OFCCP”) has published its Final Rule modernizing the guidelines that prohibit sex discrimination in employment for covered federal contractors. This follows on the heels of Executive Order 11246, which broadly proscribes sex-based barriers in employment and compensation. Although sex discrimination was already prohibited, the guidelines had not been updated since 1970 despite the evolution of employment laws, the national workforce, and society over the last half century.
Speaking at the Open Technology Institute , Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., warned that proposed changes to expand government hacking and surveillance powers pose a dangerous threat to the security of power plants and other critical infrastructure connected to the internet, as well as Americans’ digital devices.
“Our PCs aren’t the only devices connected to the internet. Factories, power plants, transportation grids and all kinds of critical infrastructure can be accessed online. If untested, sloppy hacking techniques are unleashed by the FBI on a broad scale, there’s no telling what kind of damage could result,” Wyden said.
How would a wage of $78,500 strike you? Probably as a really good wage, but not an absolutely spectacular one. Now, how would you like to make that much every three months for a total annual wage of $314,000? Welcome to the world of the top 1 percent.
There were roughly 1.8 million workers in Oregon during the third quarter (July-September) of 2015. The top 1 percent comprised 18,168 individuals. The median, or middle, wage for this group was $78,499 for the three-month period, equal to $24,166 per month. The lowest wage in the group was $57,002 for the quarter, equal to $19,000 per month. If you made only $57,001 that quarter, you were in the bottom 99 percent of wage earners. Sorry.
The distribution of wages for the top 1 percent of wage earners is similar in shape to the distribution for all wage earners. The curve is relatively flat for most of its length, showing that most workers earn wages that are relatively close to the median wage. Nearly 80 percent of the workers in the top 1 percent had earnings within a range of the median plus or minus 50 percent. The curve becomes very steep at the right end, showing that only a small number of people at the top earn wages far above the median wage of $78,499 per quarter. In other words, even within the top 1 percent, there is significant inequality in wages.
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