What ‘s Open and Closed in a Government Shutdown

The following is a list of what will shut down tomorrow if and agreement is not reached on the debt ceiling… Something between 1.5 and 2 million people will be laid off.Only about 800,000 of that is Federal workers. The bulk of the layoffs will be in the 3 million or so federal contract workers, affecting small, medium and large companies. Estimated costs to taxpayers will be in the $50 million to $100 million a day range, not counting what happens in financial markets.

U.S. Postal Service – OPEN

Mail will continue to be delivered, as the U.S. Postal Service is an independent agency.MORE INFO

National parks – CLOSED

“Effective immediately upon a lapse in appropriations, the National Park Service will take all necessary steps to close and secure national park facilities and grounds.”MORE INFO

Passport offices – PROBABLY OPEN

“Consular operations domestically and overseas will remain 100% operational as long as there are sufficient fees to support operations. However, if a passport agency is located in a government building affected by a lapse in appropriations, the facility may become unsupported.”MORE INFO

National zoo, all Federal Facilities (National Aquarium, National Arboretum, National Archives, Smithsonian, National Gallery of Art    etc) – CLOSED

The Smithsonian-run National Zoo will close, and none of its live animal cameras will be broadcast, including the popular baby panda feed.MORE INFO

Social Security,  Medicare and Medicaid – OPEN

Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, and unemployment insurance — benefits considered mandatory spending — would be paid. But new applicants might not have their applications processed until the government reopened.MORE INFO

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission      – CLOSED

Export-Import Bank of the United States – CLOSED

Federal Communications Commission – CLOSED

FDIC Office of Inspector General – CLOSED

Federal Election Commission- CLOSED

Federal Labor Relations Authority – CLOSED

Federal Trade Commission – CLOSED

Millennium Challenge Corporation – CLOSED

National Science Foundation – CLOSED

U.S. courts – Open for 10 Days

Civilian military workers (Department of Defense) – CLOSED (About 800,000 will be furloughed)

Commodity Futures Trading Commission – CLOSED

Consumer Product Safety Commission – CLOSED

Department of Education – CLOSED

Department of Interior – CLOSED

Department of Justice – Partially CLOSED

Department of Labor – Partially CLOSED

Department of Commerce Partially CLOSED

Department of Energy – Partially CLOSED

Department of Transportation – Partially CLOSE

Department of Homeland Security – Partially CLOSED

Environmental Protection Agency – Partially CLOSED

Executive Office of the President – Partially CLOSED

General Services Administration – Partially CLOSED

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development – Partially CLOSED

Treasury – Partially CLOSED

Small Business Administration – Partially CLOSED

Public schools – OPEN

While public schools will remain open, the U.S. Education Department will stop most of its operations. Among other things, payment of Pell Grants and Direct Student Loans could be delayed.MORE INFO

Government Contractors – Many Closed

Anyone with a T&M type contract will not be able to do work for the gvernment, Whether the companies decide to furlough workers is up to them. Even if a contract is fully funded, contractor employees might be in a jam if they work in a federal building that is closed or with federal workers who are furloughed because of the shutdown.MORE INFO

U.S. Capitol – CLOSED

Public tours of the U.S. Capitol will be suspended in the event of a government shutdown.MORE INFO

Federal courts – OPEN

According to Judge John D. Bates, director of the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, federal courts could continue to operate for approximately two weeks with reserve funds.MORE INFO

Immigration procedures – PROBABLY OPEN

The Department of Homeland Security will no longer operate its E-Verify program, which means that businesses will not be able to check on the legal immigration status of prospective employees during the shutdown. Other fee-based immigration services should continue.MORE INFO

WIC program – CLOSED

The WIC program, which provides food to 8.9 million low-income women and children, would be out of money, its supporters say.MORE INFO

VA disability claims – CLOSED

All VA medical facilities would remain open for inpatient and outpatient care, but benefits programs overseen by the VA would probably be affected by a shutdown.MORE INFO

Federal prisons – OPEN

Federal prisons would be staffed. MORE INFO

SNAP – OPEN for 30 days

USDA said funding for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits — formerly known as food stamps — will continue in October under authority granted by the 2009 stimulus bill.MORE INFO

Airports – OPEN

Air traffic controllers and baggage screeners are considered essential, so planes will fly.MORE INFO

IRS – PROBABLY CLOSED

Tax filers facing an Oct. 15 deadline would find the phone lines at the Internal Revenue Service dead.MORE INFO

Food inspectors – OPEN

Meat and poultry inspectors will keep working.MORE INFO

Patent and Trademark Office – OPEN

The Department of Commerce will maintain patent and trademark application processing during the shutdown.MORE INFO

Amtrak – OPEN

Amtrak officials have said trains will continue to run.MORE INFO

Congressional Budget Office – CLOSED

Merit Systems Protection Board – CLOSED

 

The “Problem” In America Isn’t Immigrants…It’s Guest Workers

 

Been saying this for a while… “Illegal Immigration” isn’t causing a problem with jobs in America. And the conservative types who want to say that Miguel the Farm worker is stealing “back jobs” are full of crap.

Who’s stealing millions of American jobs are “guest workers” using H1 Visas. Now – to my lone conservative reader, that doesn’t mean run out and hang Iqbal in effigy from the nearest lamp post. (It isn’t Iqbal’s fault. Somebody wants to pay me the equivalent of half million a year to go to India to do what I do… I can develop one hell of a taste for curry.)  The people you ought to be hanging (and not just in effigy) have very “American” names and are at the head of the tech companies.

With 3 million black kids currently in college, a historical high – many of these kids are taking courses and earning degrees in the STEM fields. Specifically in Telecommunications and Computer Science. Several studies including the seminal “The Shape of the River” have pointed out that black kids have a harder time achieving a Bachelors than white or Asian kids – but once they do they are about 3.5 times more likely than their white American counterparts to pursue post gradate degrees. Indeed, this has been the motivation by conservatives, and the SCUMUS 5 to try and close that door to higher education through re-instituting Jim Crow in College acceptance by destroying any program where disadvantaged minority kids might get into college even distantly under the banner of Affirmative Action.

Grabbing a bowl of popcorn and a beer, and rolling up in front of the big screen each night to see recounts of the daily carnage in the inner city, as those kids kill each other over nickels and dimes is far more gratifying to conservative’s racism than potentially seeing any of those minority kids join the American commerce as productive members or business owners. It isn’t just having a black President as “the boss” thats sends those folks into racial apoplexy – they have the same reaction to black business folks in leadership positions. As such, the “program” to keep those young folks from getting an education is a Crusade on the 12th Century model of throwing the Muslims out of Jerusalem.

But it isn’t only educated and skilled black folks who are getting screwed here…

The Bogus High-Tech Worker Shortage: How Guest Workers Lower US Wages

Salzman, Lowell and Kuehn: When Bill Clinton was president, wages for American IT workers were climbing and American students were clamoring to become computer scientists. Fifteen years later, average real IT wages are no higher. It is no coincidence that high-tech industries are now using guest workers to fill two-thirds of new IT jobs.

And now they’re asking Congress to provide them with an even greater supply of guest workers — a supply that by the IT industry’s own estimates would equal 150 percent of the expected number of new IT jobs each and every year going forward. With its passage of the comprehensive immigration reform bill, the Senate has complied, putting out a sign for IT jobs that says, “We prefer guest workers.”

The IT industry and its many supporters argue that without this infusion of guest workers it will starve because of the scarcity of domestic native and foreign-born citizens with the right aptitude or interest. Researchers like us, who have the temerity to suggest that the evidence fails to justify importing ever more guest workers, are accused of being anti-immigrant, anti-capitalist, Luddites, or just plain troglodytes who can’t fathom the character of modern technology industries.

For those of us who simply want to get the policy right, however, this is a debate about America’s policies for creating good jobs, strong technology and an innovation-based economy. We welcome immigrants and support an immigration policy that draws the best and the brightest and provides opportunity to newcomers. But policy should not be about targeting government giveaways to a few industries by supplying ever more guest workers when there is an ample domestic supply of qualified graduates and workers.

We’re Already Generating More Qualified Students Than Jobs

Our analysis of the data finds that high-skill guest worker programs supply the preponderance of all new hires for the IT industry. The inflow of guest workers is equal to half of all IT hires each year and fully two-thirds of annual hires of workers younger than 30.

Can it be a coincidence that wages in IT jobs have been stagnant for over a decade? The chart below shows trends for programmer and system analyst jobs; wages for other IT occupations follow similar trends.

In the above graph of average salaries and unemployment rates for computer and IT occupations from 1992-2011, wages for IT workers have held steady over the past decade. This table is reproduced from “Guestworkers In The High-Skill U.S. Labor Market: An Analysis of Supply, Employment, and Wage Trends” (2013) by Salzman, Kuehn and Lowell.

 

At the same time, U.S. colleges are graduating more than twice as many science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) graduates than the number of STEM openings generated by our economy each year. In short, there is little justification to support the escalating numbers of new guest workers called for in the Senate’s S744 legislation.Why then did it pass?

Today’s guest worker programs target an important industry with a substantial hold on the public’s imagination. But guest worker programs should be justified by national interests, not by the shortsighted interests of a particular industry. Proclaiming “shortages” where there is no evidence of them is not only disingenuous, it obscures the likely impact of large-scale guest worker programs, which stand to hurt all STEM grads, but especially minorities who are underrepresented in high-tech, as well as other foreign-born workers who compete most with newcomers. Can anyone argue that prioritizing access to good employment for high-skill domestic workers is not in the national interest?

Isn’t Ours a Market Economy?

Markets are supposed to reflect demand through the price mechanism. In the case of labor, the “price” is wages. How can it be, then, that if the IT industry is experiencing labor shortages, wage levels in this highly profitable industry are no higher than they were in the last millennium? How can an industry expect to attract the best workers without raising wages? Is there what economists call a “market failure” here?

Or is the hidden truth quite simply that large supplies of guest workers allow many firms to swap out higher-paid, high-skill domestic workers for lower-paid, high-skill guest workers? A recent analysis by the Brookings Institution observes that “it is likely that the extra supply of foreign-born workers does bring downward pressure on the wages of incumbent workers, as research suggests.”

All the evidence suggests the IT labor market is still bound by the usual dynamics of supply and demand. When we look at the trends of the past 20 years, we see that when wages increase, the number of computer science graduates increases. When wages fall, the number of graduates falls. When the supply of guest workers increases, wages stay flat, and too many domestic students must find employment in other fields.

Some commentators argue that this last result is good for the economy: science and engineering skills are now being used in millions of non-STEM jobs. But an alternative view is that far too many domestic STEM graduates are in jobs that do not fully use their education, which represents a loss of our greatest source of innovators.

Yes, employers claim they have thousands of unfilled job openings, but the evidence is hardly compelling. Only about half of engineering graduates find engineering jobs, down from previous rates of about two-thirds before the current recession began in 2007. At the largest IT jobs website DICE.com, over half of the advertisements are for contract, short-term and part-time jobs — assuming these jobs exist at all. (A recent Making Sen$e story suggested they well may not.) But even if they are available, these are not the types of jobs that U.S. graduates will find attractive, nor are they the types of jobs that will allow these graduates to pay off student loans, much less enter the middle class….(…more…)

 

Revenge of the Rust Belt

So now that US Industries have woken up – and finally started realizing that producing many products is cheaper in America…

Where are the new factories going?

Turns out, a majority of them are moving right back where they came from…

The Rust Belt.

During the 80’s and 90’s a lot of American business followed the cattle herd mentality in migrating manufacturing to China – or the next “best” onshore location – the American South. Now I don’t know if it was because at the time, Wall Street was sucking up all the smart MBAs with promises of making millions – or a failure in groupthink…

But a whole bunch of somebodies forgot to put the ancillary costs of offshoring into the equation. From lead laced toys damaging babies, to diaphanous intellectual property protections, to drywall which killed people because of the use of cheaper – poisonous chemicals… The real cost of manufacturing in China is much higher than the wage level would indicate. Thank goodness some folks finally got a clue.

The issue in the South is productivity. American productivity far surpasses that of any other country – and is significantly higher than Chinas. So while the payroll part of manufacturing in China is cheaper – the cost per completed piece is actually higher. Same issue in the South. When you start looking at where your educated workforce is…

It isn’t by and large …There. Meaning productivity is again higher in those old tried and true rust belt states. Further is the cost of conservatives. That is – as long as southern conservatives are dedicated to fighting the Civil War – the number of discrimination lawsuits, and level of employee friction is going to be through the roof, hampering full productivity. Lastly – as recent laws introduced and passed by conservative red state legislatures – such as the anti-immigrant legislation in Georgia where the state’s agricultural workforce was decimated…

You don’t know what stupid, business killing thing they are going to come up with next. Like declaring war on your largest foreign customer.

It’s early – but the “Rust Belt” right about now is looking pretty damn good.

The Revenge of the Rust Belt: How the Midwest Got Its Groove Back

We’re not used to thinking of the old industrial Midwest as a beacon of good news. Just the opposite. It’s Exhibit A in the story of America’s economic decline — a land of hollowed-out factory towns and shrinking cities. There’s an entire genre of photography dedicated to Detroit’s decaying cityscape alone.

Yet, it may be time to rethink that view. Because there are signs that the heart of the rust belt may be finally shaking off its rust.

For the past thirty years or so, there have been two great running narratives about American manufacturing, both of which have been disastrous for the Midwest’s economy. The first has been about the disappearing factory worker — how by shipping some jobs abroad and replacing others with machines, companies have figured out ways to produce more goods with millions of fewer employees on their assembly lines. The second narrative has been about migration — the decision by companies to move production away from once-booming industrial centers of the north, to southern states with weaker unions and lower wages.

Both of those trends, it appears, may have drawn to an end.  Continue reading

Best Educated Janitors…

Fresh on news that there are 21 million Americans out of work – there is the question of the undremployed–

Why Did 17 Million Students Go to College?

Two sets of information were presented to me in the last 24 hours that have dramatically reinforced my feeling that diminishing returns have set in to investments in higher education, with increasing evidence suggesting that we are in one respect “overinvesting” in the field. First, following up on information provided by former student Douglas Himes at the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), my sidekick Chris Matgouranis showed me the table reproduced below (And for more see this).

Over 317,000 waiters and waitresses have college degrees (over 8,000 of them have doctoral or professional degrees), along with over 80,000 bartenders, and over 18,000parking lot attendants. All told, some 17,000,000 Americans with college degrees are doing jobs that the BLS says require less than the skill levels associated with a bachelor’s degree.

Now I’ve said for a while that one the the great myths of the new depression is the existence of high tech jobs needing high education. At this point there are millions of college educated out of work or substantially underemployed. You cannot fix the roots of the current economic malaise by by generating more job seekers – no matter how well educated or qualified. The brutal fact is, very little of our current economy is actually dependent on new technology. Think of it this way – the leading cell phone platform is dependent on thinking and aa technology concept first developed in Xerox Labs in the 70’s. Very little of the development today of “new technology” is actually “development’ = it is actually execution against old technology. So if you trin them – what would this new legion of scientists and engineers do?

And there is the crux of the problem.

What Not to Get That Degree In

Used to be, a college degree was a reasonably sure fire ticket to employment. Not in today’s America. Here are some numbers which are scary…

Interestingly enough – there are several engineering fields on this list. So much for “rebuilding” America. The majority of these are services oriented.

A Tin Cup, Instead of a job

25 college majors with the highest unemployment rates

The worst nightmare of a college student has got to be graduating without a job. And the college major that a student selects can actually increase his or her chances of getting stuck in an unemployment line.

College majors that are hampered by highunemployment rates include a variety of psychology degrees, fine arts and architecture. The Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce delved into U.S. Census Bureau statistics to determine the employment rates of 173 college majors; I crossed them against a list of the most popular college majors.

College majors with the highest unemployment

  • 1. Clinical psychology 19.5%
  • 2. Miscellaneous fine arts 16.2%
  • 3. United States history 15.1%
  • 4. Library science 15.0%
  • 5. (tie) Military technologies; educational psychology 10.9%
  • 6. Architecture 10.6%
  • 7. Industrial & organizational psychology 10.4%
  • 8. Miscellaneous psychology 10.3%
  • 9. Linguistics & comparative literature 10.2%
  • 10. (tie) Visual & performing arts; engineering & industrial management 9.2%
  • 11. Engineering & industrial management 9.2%
  • 12. Social psychology 8.8%
  • 13. International business 8.5%
  • 14. Humanities 8.4%
  • 15. General social sciences 8.2%
  • 16. Commercial art & graphic design 8.1%
  • 17. Studio art 8.0%
  • 18. Pre-law & legal studies 7.9%
  • 19. Materials engineering and materials science and composition & speech (tie) 7.7%
  • 20. Liberal arts 7.6%
  • 21. (tie) Fine arts and genetics 7.4%
  • 22. Film video & photography arts and cosmetology services & culinary arts (tie) 7.3%
  • 23. Philosophy & religious studies and neuroscience (tie) 7.2%
  • 24. Biochemical sciences 7.1%
  • 25. (tie) Journalism and sociology 7.0%

Unemployed “Occupy” Mitch McConnell’s Senate Office

They need to Occupy “C” Street where these Rethug scumbags live…Give them no lace to hide.

Jobless Protesters Occupy Mitch McConnell’s Office As Congress Dithers On Jobs

Members of OurDC call senators and DC residents on their cell phones to ask for support on the 'Rebuild America Act' as they stage a sit-in at Mitch McConnell's office.

Protesters Sit in Waiting Room

Roughly 30 jobless protesters from D.C. neighborhoods occupied Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office in the Russell Senate Office Building Thursday, saying they wanted to talk to him about jobs.

But McConnell was busy at the Capitol Building, where he led Republicans in blocking a $60 billion infrastructure bill. The protesters said they supported the measure.

McConnell’s legislative director offered to sit down with the group, but they declined, saying they’d rather wait for the senator himself. So they sat in his office, taking up every chair and lots of floor space while McConnell’s staff went about its business. A Capitol Police officer scoped the situation and said her heart went out to them for losing their jobs.

The protesters, most of whom said they lived in the poorest part of Southeast D.C., had no affiliation with the Occupy Wall Street movement. They’d been organized by a community group called OurDC, which has been hectoring Congress about jobs since it launched with SEIU seed money earlier this year. The protesters remained in the office as of Thursday afternoon as of 3 p.m. and said they wouldn’t leave before meeting the senator.

“Hopefully we can all get together with the senator today before time is up,” said Ted Black, a 58-year-old resident of Southeast D.C. Black said he is a Vietnam-era veteran and that he lost his job as a radiologist tech three months ago. He supports President Obama’s jobs package, he said, including the blocked infrastructure bill.

“I’m here supporting the cause for veterans and also for teachers and children and schools and residents who are unemployed or underemployed or homeless,” Black said.

McConnell’s office declined to comment on the protesters.

 

It’s Not the Education System That’s Broke

[MISMATCHstats]You hear this refrain frequently – that American companies can’t find qualified or educated workers. With the recent exposure that many companies automatically exclude the unemployed as potential employees – it’s becomming incresingly obvious that it is not the education system that is the problem…

It’s the companies themselves.

Some years ago many companies started using automated search engines which sorted resumes looking for keywords. The growth of the Internet has also meant the growth of potential resumes which a company can choose from. Keyword searches are based on the faulty idea that someone who is qualified for a potential position will include those words in the resume. So for instance, a candidate with an ITIL, Six Sigma, or PMI certification would include those terms in the resume. Since real work skills, accomplishments, and experience don’t translate to such simpleminded analysis – the impact of this was to devalue the experience of anyone who could actually do the job, and raise the value of folks who became certification whores.

Leading to the surreal environment where the self proclaimed “father of the Internet” couldn’t get hired for a technical job in the industry he created – or a guy who had actually designed and built bridges over rivers for 25 years…

Is suddenly “unqualified” for a job to design and build bridges, because he hadn’t built a bridge over a creek.

Enabled by the power of the computer, Human Resources folks were able to get very precise in developing requirements for potential hires. This meant developing skills criteria where no one, who wasn’t already doing the job for the hiring company (and usually even the person in the job couldn’t qualify for), could ever fit. Years ago, I took a job with a company which had developed a proprietary technology which was only utilized at that time in 3 other places in the world, including DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency – which is a small group of really smart guys working on super secret technology projects), and MIT being two of the three other places. My advantage? I had at least read about it in technical publications. Recognizing that the pool of folks who knew anything about the technology was exceedingly small – the company had an aggressive internal education program to bring employees up to speed.

Today, companies don’t want to invest in training employees – believing that the alphabet soup of outside certification agencies is somehow going to produce qualified employees. It doesn’t, what it produces is a lot of employees with the common toolkits to work – which is a large distance from having the real functional skills.

Being in the tech industry means getting approached by headhunters several times a week, sometimes on resumes that are 10 years or more old. My last name is the same as a company which produces a very sophisticated software system. For years I’d get calls from breathless headhunters looking for programmers familiar with the system. Never occurred to these folks that if I was the guy who had created the system, and CEO of the company bearing my last name…

WTF would I be looking for a junior or mid-level programming job? Continue reading

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