How States Are Planning to Fix the Country’s Retirement Crisis

By Yuqi Wang, Economic Policy Analyst, NCLR

Photo: www.aag.com, http://ow.ly/IYcvj

A secure retirement is a right of all workers, yet 45 percent of working-age households in the U.S. do not have either an employer-sponsored retirement plan, such as a 401(k), or an Individual Retirement Account (IRA). For Latinos, the data paints a starker picture: 60 percent of Latino workers do not have access to an employer-sponsored retirement plan, which is among the most effective ways for people to save for retirement.

Having states provide auto-enroll IRAs to private sector workers who don’t have access to such benefits through their workplaces and who tend to be lower-income is one effective solution. State-based retirement plans benefit employees of small businesses where 50 percent of employers don’t offer retirement plans. It also allows employers to provide IRAs to employees without requiring the employer to sponsor or contribute to the IRAs. Workers who participate are automatically opted in to a retirement savings account that takes out a predetermined amount from monthly paychecks and saves it in the IRA. Workers also have the option to opt-out at any time. Several states already passed legislation enacting these plans (e.g. California, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, and Oregon), with 27 more states considering this or other program variants.

Continue reading

February Yields Strong Growth for Latino Workers

Photo: One Day Closer

Today, the U.S. Department of Labor reported that employers added 235,000 jobs in February, a hefty gain that far exceeded economists’ prediction of 190,000 jobs. Additionally, the national unemployment rate decreased by 0.1 percentage points to 4.7 percent. The U.S. Federal Reserve says that he low rate, which has stayed under 5 percent since April 2016 indicates our economy is at or near full employment.

The Latino unemployment rate dropped by almost half a percentage point to 5.6 percent last month. An increase in construction appears to have spurred Latino employment. The industry added 58,000 jobs with the most growth in specialty trade contractors and heavy and civil engineering construction. While Latinos comprise nearly 1/3 of construction jobs, they are more likely to be in lower-wage labor positions.

Continue reading

Latino Unemployment Rate Holds at 5.9%

Employers in the United States added 227,000 jobs last month. These figures are the latest numbers the Depart of Labor issued in their monthly employment report. The unemployment rate ticked up slightly from 4.7% in December to 4.8% in January. Latino unemployment kept steady at 5.9%.

Our latest Latino Jobs Report, shows that participation in the labor force, however, did increase for all workers. Translation: people who were previously not in the labor force are now returning to it. The rate of Latino worker labor force participation stands at 66.1%, the highest of all other racial and ethnic groups

Continue reading

Judge Blocks 12.5 Million Workers from Receiving Overtime Pay

By Yuqi Wang, Policy Analyst, Economic Policy Project, NCLR

On November 23, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas blocked the Department of Labor’s (DOL) updated overtime eligibility rule from going into effect by suspending the rule’s December 1 enforcement date. The Department of Labor’s (DOL) updated overtime rule, finalized in May 2016, would have brought employers and workers into the 21st century by increasing the overtime salary threshold from $23,660 to $47,476. By siding with business interest groups, the Court’s decision is a blow to the 12.5 million workers who were counting on the updated overtime rule to provide them with the right to be compensated fairly for a hard day’s work. Workers in office and administrative positions, transportation and material moving professions, as well as construction occupations are just some of the people severely impacted by this decision.

It’s important to note that, contrary to the Court’s assertion that the DOL exceeded its authority, the agency has had the ability to change the minimum salary threshold for overtime for the past 78 years. In fact, the DOL has updated the salary threshold seven times since the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) became law in 1938.

Continue reading

Unemployment Dips to Lowest Rate Since 2007

Construction workers

The national unemployment rate fell from 4.9% in October to 4.6% in November, the lowest it has been since 2007. says the Department of Labor in it’s monthly jobs report. Last month, 178,000 jobs were added, which is likely due to modest job growth and more than 400,000 people leaving the work force.

Continue reading