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Where did the construction workers go?

March 31, 2016 --

By Josh Lehner
Oregon Office of Economic Analysis Blog

The reported lack of construction workers is one of the more interesting developments in recent years. At first blush this seems implausible.  The U.S. is still more than a million construction jobs below the housing boom peak, or about 14%. (Oregon is about 20,000 jobs or 18% below.) However, the National Association of Home Builders, and Associated General Contractors, along with our local home builders and industry contacts, all point toward lack of labor as an issue. As Conor Sen notes, the sector’s unemployment rate is all the way back down. This is driving up costs/wages and lengthening completion times.

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Lawmakers rated on business votes

March 30, 2016 --

Associated Oregon Industries
Oregon’s largest business advocate

Each Oregon Legislative Session, AOI records legislators’ votes (floor and in committee), on a selection of bills on which AOI took clear positions. These votes are compiled into a matrix, and legislators’ voting records are reported to our members throughout the state.

Votes are marked as Supportive or Opposed to AOI positions. As a member driven organization, AOI’s legislative positions are informed by policies developed in various member committees. These committees recommend policies to the AOI Board, which reviews and approves them.

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Oregon unclaimed property over half billion

March 29, 2016 --

cash-moneyOregon State Treasurer News Release,

Oregon safekeeping a record $564 million in unclaimed property, and Treasurer urges rightful owners to retrieve it

​SALEM – More than a half-billion dollars. That’s how much Oregon is now safekeeping in unclaimed assets that have been turned over to the state, and that has not yet been claimed by and returned to its rightful owners. Some of that $564 million could belong to you – or your family members or business — and State Treasurer Ted Wheeler is urging Oregonians to find out.

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Seattle scare: Jobs sink as Minimum wage jumps

March 28, 2016 --

chart-fruits-mnmwg1Where did all the workers go?
By Oregon Small Business Association Foundation

After Seattle imposed an historic minimum wage hike, employment has dropped, unemployment has risen, and workers have dropped out of the labor force. It is not the result proponents promised and it hints that the warnings from the business community were correct.

In 2014, Seattle’s city council unanimously passed legislation to bring the city’s minimum wage up to $15 an hour. The phase-in began in April 2015. This year, companies with 500 or more employees must pay a minimum wages of $13 an hour, and smaller companies without benefits are faced with a minimum wage of $12 an hour. Much of the rest of Washington faces a minimum wage of $9.47 an hour.

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Chamber on Labor rule muzzling employers

March 25, 2016 --

Chamber-of-commerceU.S. Chamber of Commerce

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce today expressed strong opposition to the Department of Labor’s (DOL) issuance of its final “persuader” rule which will make it more difficult for employers to discuss with employees the pros and cons of unionization.

“It is a shame that the DOL would expend its resources on a regulation that is so clearly one-sided and intended solely to benefit its big labor benefactors, rather than focusing on initiatives that would invigorate a still-underperforming economy,” said Randy Johnson, the Chamber’s senior vice president of Labor, Immigration, and Employee Benefits. “Instead, on the heels of the NLRB’s ambush election regulation, DOL’s rule is all about tilting the playing field in favor of big labor, who – in the face of its continuing inability to convince employees to buy its outdated product – again asked its friends in the administration to change the rules to their advantage.”

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Data: Politicians immigration error

March 24, 2016 --

Donald Trump launched his Presidential campaign in June 2015 with the insult heard ’round the world:

When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.

Trump missed the biggest stereotype of all—undocumented workers work and they work a lot.

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Legislature Bill Review: Good & Bad

March 23, 2016 --

Associated Oregon Industries
Oregon’s largest business advocate

Education Policy

As Oregon’s high school graduation rate remains one of the lowest in the nation, the 2016 Legislature focused on a narrow set of issues that directly affect student success.

SB 1537: Creates new limits on 5th year high school programs. The 5th year program allows students who have completed high school graduation requirements to remain in their high school system for an additional year in order to take college classes – usually from a local community college. Funding for tuition comes from the state school fund, so 5th year students can accumulate a significant number of college credits for free.

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Oregon’s middle-age worker job crunch

March 22, 2016 --

By Josh Lehner
Oregon Office of Economic Analysis Blog

There is a three stage process for the labor market to return to normal, or at least normal dynamics. First jobs become more plentiful, then wages start to rise, and third individuals begin searching for jobs at higher rates. As such, Oregon’s labor force participation rate has increased from its recessionary lows reached in 2012 and 2013. While the majority of the decline in participation over the past 15 years is demographic – the aging Baby Boomers are entering their retirement years – some of the decline is due to the lackluster economy in recent years. Along with an improving economy will come labor force gains and some participation increases.

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Workplace law regarding retaliation

March 21, 2016 --

bullard-law2By Bullard Law,
Portland law firm

In the (fictional) mailbag today The Bullard Edge fields a question from a frustrated HR Manager who identifies himself only as Pat. He believes that he has grounds to terminate two employees, but is concerned about potential claims. We found his letter entertaining and offer some suggestions for thinking about retaliation claims. Here is the exchange.

Pat’s Question:

What is it with retaliation? Everything is retaliation these days. Have you seen what EEOC said about retaliation recently? I can barely stand it.

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NFIB opposes Supreme Court nominee

March 18, 2016 --

nfib-logoBy NFIB

President Obama on Wednesday formally nominated Merrick Garland, a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, to the U.S. Supreme Court. After studying his extensive record, the National Federation of Independent Business believes that Judge Garland would be a strong ally of the regulatory bureaucracy, big labor and trial lawyers. On behalf of the hundreds of thousands of members we represent, the NFIB opposes Judge Garland’s confirmation.

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