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    Wage gains remained strong in August as hiring slowed.

    Wages continued to grow briskly in August even as hiring decelerated, a surprising development that economists said was probably driven partly by continuing demand for workers in spite of coronavirus outbreaks caused by the Delta variant.Average hourly earnings climbed by 0.6 percent from July to August, more than the 0.3 percent that economists in a Bloomberg survey had forecast. Over the past year, they were up 4.3 percent, exceeding the expected 3.9 percent.Leisure and hospitality wages are well outpacing overall wages.Percent change in earnings for non-managers since January 2019 More

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    August 2021 Jobs Report: Employers Added Only 235,000 Jobs

    The American economy slowed abruptly last month, adding 235,000 jobs, a sharp drop from the huge gains recorded earlier in the summer and an indication that the Delta variant of the coronavirus is putting a damper on hiring.August added a disappointing number of jobs.Cumulative change in jobs since before the pandemic More

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    July 2021 Jobs Report: Employers Add 943,000 to Payrolls

    The American economy roared into midsummer with a strong gain in hiring, but there are questions about its ability to maintain that momentum as the Delta variant of the coronavirus causes growing concern.Employers added 943,000 jobs in July, the Labor Department reported Friday, but the data was collected in the first half of the month, before variant-related cases exploded in many parts of the country.While the economy and job growth overall have been strong in recent months, experts fear that the variant’s spread could undermine those gains if new restrictions become necessary. Already, some events have been canceled, and many companies have pulled back from plans for employees to return to the office in September.Still, with schools planning to reopen, at least for now, and Americans continuing to dine out and travel, the economy’s expansion remained on track last month. Some experts foresee a slight cooling on the horizon, but most think unemployment will keep falling as the labor market recovers the ground lost in the pandemic.“It’s been a sprint in terms of growth, but we may be moving into more of a marathon,” said Scott Anderson, chief economist at Bank of the West in San Francisco. “Travel season is winding down, and the Delta variant is a big concern.”The unemployment rate fell to 5.4 percent, compared with 5.9 percent in June. Before the report, the consensus of economists polled by Bloomberg forecast a gain of 858,000 jobs, with the unemployment rate dipping to 5.7 percent.The education arena, often a laggard in July as schools close and teachers go off the payroll, was a leader last month. Instead of letting teachers go as they have in the past, schools kept more workers on the payroll, creating a larger seasonal adjustment upward in the number of teaching jobs.Local government added 221,000 education jobs, after a jump in June, and 40,000 jobs were added in private education. Leisure and hospitality businesses, which were hit hard by lockdowns last year, recovered further, adding 380,000 jobs. That included 253,000 in food and drinking establishments, along with hiring gains in lodging and in arts, entertainment and recreation.Manufacturing and construction showed more modest increases, hampered by higher goods prices and a shortage of components like semiconductors. Employment in professional and business services jumped by 60,000, a sign that the white-collar sector is on the upswing.“Business is unbelievable,” said Tom Gimbel, chief executive of LaSalle Network, a recruiting and staffing firm in Chicago. “Companies are continuing to hire salespeople in numbers that I’ve never seen. It shows me that companies are very optimistic about the future.”“We’re seeing demand for senior people, but it’s not crazy,” he added. “The huge demand is entry to midlevel, with salaries ranging from $45,000 to $90,000. It’s the rebirth of the middle manager.”Despite the hiring gains, many managers report difficulty in finding applicants for open positions. Jeanine Lisa Klotzkin manages an outpatient addiction treatment center in White Plains, N.Y., and has had only limited success in her search for addiction counselors.“Normally, we’d have dozens of candidates,” she said. But six weeks after posting an online job ad, her clinic has received four applications. The positions pay $50,000 to $63,000 a year, said Ms. Klotzkin, who added: “These aren’t low-wage jobs. I don’t know where the people went.” More

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    Who Discriminates in Hiring? A New Study Can Tell.

    Applications seemingly from Black candidates got fewer replies than those evidently from white candidates. The method could point to specific companies.Twenty years ago, Kalisha White performed an experiment. A Marquette University graduate who is Black, she suspected that her application for a job as executive team leader at a Target in Wisconsin was being ignored because of her race. So she sent in another one, with a name (Sarah Brucker) more likely to make the candidate appear white.Though the fake résumé was not quite as accomplished as Ms. White’s, the alter ego scored an interview. Target ultimately paid over half a million dollars to settle a class-action lawsuit brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on behalf of Ms. White and a handful of other Black job applicants.Now a variation on her strategy could help expose racial discrimination in employment across the corporate landscape.Economists at the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Chicago this week unveiled a vast discrimination audit of some of the largest U.S. companies. Starting in late 2019, they sent 83,000 fake job applications for entry-level positions at 108 companies — most of them in the top 100 of the Fortune 500 list, and some of their subsidiaries.Their insights can provide valuable evidence about violations of Black workers’ civil rights.The researchers — Patrick Kline and Christopher Walters of Berkeley and Evan K. Rose of Chicago — are not ready to reveal the names of companies on their list. But they plan to, once they expose the data to more statistical tests. Labor lawyers, the E.E.O.C. and maybe the companies themselves could do a lot with this information. (Dr. Kline said they had briefed the U.S. Labor Department on the general findings.)In the study, applicants’ characteristics — like age, sexual orientation, or work and school experience — varied at random. Names, however, were chosen purposefully to ensure applications came in pairs: one with a more distinctive white name — Jake or Molly, say — and the other with a similar background but a more distinctive Black name, like DeShawn or Imani.What the researchers found would probably not surprise Ms. White: On average, applications from candidates with a “Black name” get fewer callbacks than similar applications bearing a “white name.”This aligns with a paper published by two economists from the University of Chicago a couple of years after Ms. White’s tussle with Target: Respondents to help-wanted ads in Boston and Chicago had much better luck if their name was Emily or Greg than if it was Lakisha or Jamal. (Marianne Bertrand, one of the authors, testified as an expert witness in the trial over Ms. White’s discrimination claim.)This experimental approach with paired applications, some economists argue, offers a closer representation of racial discrimination in the work force than studies that seek to relate employment and wage gaps to other characteristics — such as educational attainment and skill — and treat discrimination as a residual, or what’s left after other differences are accounted for.The Berkeley and Chicago researchers found that discrimination isn’t uniform across the corporate landscape. Some companies discriminate little, responding similarly to applications by Molly and Latifa. Others show a measurable bias.All told, for every 1,000 applications received, the researchers found, white candidates got about 250 responses, compared with about 230 for Black candidates. But among one-fifth of companies, the average gap grew to 50 callbacks. Even allowing that some patterns of discrimination could be random, rather than the result of racism, they concluded that 23 companies from their selection were “very likely to be engaged in systemic discrimination against Black applicants.”There are 13 companies in automotive retailing and services in the Fortune 500 list. Five are among the 10 most discriminatory companies on the researchers’ list. Of the companies very likely to discriminate based on race, according to the findings, eight are federal contractors, which are bound by particularly stringent anti-discrimination rules and could lose their government contracts as a consequence.“Discriminatory behavior is clustered in particular firms,” the researchers wrote. “The identity of many of these firms can be deduced with high confidence.”The researchers also identified some overall patterns. For starters, discriminating companies tend to be less profitable, a finding consistent with the proposition by Gary Becker, who first studied discrimination in the workplace in the 1950s, that it is costly for firms to discriminate against productive workers.The study found no strong link between discrimination and geography: Applications for jobs in the South fared no worse than anywhere else. Retailers and restaurants and bars discriminate more than average. And employers with more centralized personnel operations handling job applications tend to discriminate less, suggesting that uniform rules and procedures across a company can help reduce racial biases.An early precedent for the paper published this week is a 1978 study that sent pairs of fake applications with similar qualifications but different photos, showing a white or a Black applicant. Interestingly, that study found some evidence of “reverse” discrimination against white applicants.More fake-résumé studies have followed in recent years. One found that recent Black college graduates get fewer callbacks from potential employers than white candidates with identical resumes. Another found that prospective employers treat Black graduates from elite universities about the same as white graduates of less selective institutions.One study reported that when employers in New York and New Jersey were barred from asking about job candidates’ criminal records, callbacks to Black candidates dropped significantly, relative to white job seekers, suggesting employers assumed Black candidates were more likely to have a record.What makes the new research valuable is that it shows regulators, courts and labor lawyers how large-scale auditing of hiring practices offers a method to monitor and police bias. “Our findings demonstrate that it is possible to identify individual firms responsible for a substantial share of racial discrimination while maintaining a tight limit on the expected number of false positives encountered,” the researchers wrote.Individual companies might even use the findings to reform their hiring practices.Dr. Kline of Berkeley said Jenny R. Yang, a former chief commissioner of the E.E.O.C. and the current director of the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, which has jurisdiction over federal contractors, had been apprised of the findings and had expressed interest in the researchers’ technique. (A representative of the agency declined to comment or to make Ms. Yang available.)Similar tests have been performed since the 1980s to detect discrimination in housing by real estate agents and rental property owners. Tests in which white and nonwhite people inquire about the availability of housing suggest discrimination remains rampant.Deploying this approach in the labor market has proved a bit tougher. Last year, the New York City Commission on Human Rights performed tests to detect employment discrimination — whether by race, gender, age or any other protected class — at 2,356 shops. Still, “employment is always harder than housing,” said Sapna Raj, deputy commissioner of the law enforcement bureau at the agency, which enforces anti-discrimination regulations.“This could give us a deeper understanding,” Ms. Raj said of the study by the Berkeley and Chicago researchers. “What we would do is evaluate the information and look proactively at ways to address it.”The commission, she noted, could not take action based on the kind of statistics in the new study on their own. “There are so many things you have to look at before you can determine that it is discrimination,” she argued. Still, she suggested, statistical analysis could alert her to which employers it makes sense to look at.And that could ultimately convince corporations that discrimination is costly. “This is actionable evidence of illegal behavior by huge firms,” Dr. Walters of Berkeley said on Twitter in connection with the study’s release. “Modern statistical methods have the potential to help detect and redress civil rights violations.” More

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    Return to Office Hits a Snag: Young Resisters

    A generation gap has emerged between them and colleagues who value the workplace over the advantages of remote work. Bridging it may require flexibility.David Gross, an executive at a New York-based advertising agency, convened the troops over Zoom this month to deliver a message he and his fellow partners were eager to share: It was time to think about coming back to the office.Mr. Gross, 40, wasn’t sure how employees, many in their 20s and early 30s, would take it. The initial response — dead silence — wasn’t encouraging. Then one young man signaled he had a question. “Is the policy mandatory?” he wanted to know.Yes, it is mandatory, for three days a week, he was told.Thus began a tricky conversation at Anchor Worldwide, Mr. Gross’s firm, that is being replicated this summer at businesses big and small across the country. While workers of all ages have become accustomed to dialing in and skipping the wearying commute, younger ones have grown especially attached to the new way of doing business.And in many cases, the decision to return pits older managers who view working in the office as the natural order of things against younger employees who’ve come to see operating remotely as completely normal in the 16 months since the pandemic hit. Some new hires have never gone into their employers’ workplace at all.“Frankly, they don’t know what they’re missing, because we have a strong culture,” Mr. Gross said. “Creative development and production requires face-to-face collaboration. It’s hard to have a brainstorm on a Zoom call.”Some industries, like banking and finance, are taking a harder line and insisting workers young and old return. The chief executives of Wall Street giants like Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase have signaled they expect employees to go back to their cubicles and offices in the months ahead.Other companies, most notably those in technology and media, are being more flexible. As much as Mr. Gross wants people back at his ad agency, he is worried about retaining young talent at a time when churn is increasing, so he has been making clear there is room for accommodation.“We’re in a really progressive industry, and some companies have gone fully remote,” he explained. “You have to frame it in terms of flexibility.”In a recent survey by the Conference Board, 55 percent of millennials, defined as people born between 1981 and 1996, questioned the wisdom of returning to the office. Among members of Generation X, born between 1965 and 1980, 45 percent had doubts about going back, while only 36 percent of baby boomers, born between 1946 and 1964, felt that way.And if anything, the rise of the Delta variant of the coronavirus in recent days may fuel resistance among reluctant officegoers of all ages.“Among the generations, millennials are the most concerned about their health and psychological well-being,” said Rebecca L. Ray, executive vice president for human capital at the Conference Board. “Companies would be well served to be as flexible as possible.”Matthew Yeager, 33, quit his job as a web developer at an insurance company in May after it told him he needed to return to the office as vaccination rates in his city, Columbus, Ohio, were rising. He limited his job hunting to opportunities that offered fully remote work and, in June, started at a hiring and human resources company based in New York.“It was tough because I really liked my job and the people I worked with, but I didn’t want to lose that flexibility of being able to work remotely,” Mr. Yeager said. “The office has all these distractions that are removed when you’re working from home.”Mr. Yeager said he would also like the option to work remotely in any positions he considered in the future. “More companies should give the opportunity for people to work and be productive in the best way that they can,” he said.Even as the age split has managers looking for ways to persuade younger hires to venture back, there are other divides. Many parents and other caregivers are concerned about leaving home when school plans are still up in the air, a consideration that has disproportionately affected women during the pandemic.At the same time, more than a few older workers welcome the flexibility of working from home after years in a cubicle, even as some in their 20s yearn for the camaraderie of the office or the dynamism of an urban setting.Still, that so many young people are working from home is a reversal of longstanding habits, said Julia Pollak, a labor economist at ZipRecruiter, the online employment marketplace.“The norm for so long is that remote work in office jobs has been reserved for the oldest and most senior and most trusted,” she said. “It’s interesting how quickly young workers have embraced this.”When they work apart, younger employees lose chances to network, develop mentors and gain valuable experience by watching colleagues close-up, veteran managers say.In some cases, older millennials like Jonathan Singer, 37, a real estate lawyer in Portland, Ore., find themselves making the case for returning to the office to skeptical younger colleagues who have grown accustomed to working from home.“As a manager, it’s really hard to get cohesion and collegiality without being together on a regular basis, and it’s difficult to mentor without being in the same place,” Mr. Singer said. But persuading younger workers to see things his way has not been easy..css-1xzcza9{list-style-type:disc;padding-inline-start:1em;}.css-3btd0c{font-family:nyt-franklin,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size:1rem;line-height:1.375rem;color:#333;margin-bottom:0.78125rem;}@media (min-width:740px){.css-3btd0c{font-size:1.0625rem;line-height:1.5rem;margin-bottom:0.9375rem;}}.css-3btd0c strong{font-weight:600;}.css-3btd0c em{font-style:italic;}.css-w739ur{margin:0 auto 5px;font-family:nyt-franklin,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-weight:700;font-size:1.125rem;line-height:1.3125rem;color:#121212;}#NYT_BELOW_MAIN_CONTENT_REGION .css-w739ur{font-family:nyt-cheltenham,georgia,’times new roman’,times,serif;font-weight:700;font-size:1.375rem;line-height:1.625rem;}@media (min-width:740px){#NYT_BELOW_MAIN_CONTENT_REGION .css-w739ur{font-size:1.6875rem;line-height:1.875rem;}}@media (min-width:740px){.css-w739ur{font-size:1.25rem;line-height:1.4375rem;}}.css-9s9ecg{margin-bottom:15px;}.css-uf1ume{display:-webkit-box;display:-webkit-flex;display:-ms-flexbox;display:flex;-webkit-box-pack:justify;-webkit-justify-content:space-between;-ms-flex-pack:justify;justify-content:space-between;}.css-wxi1cx{display:-webkit-box;display:-webkit-flex;display:-ms-flexbox;display:flex;-webkit-flex-direction:column;-ms-flex-direction:column;flex-direction:column;-webkit-align-self:flex-end;-ms-flex-item-align:end;align-self:flex-end;}.css-12vbvwq{background-color:white;border:1px solid #e2e2e2;width:calc(100% – 40px);max-width:600px;margin:1.5rem auto 1.9rem;padding:15px;box-sizing:border-box;}@media (min-width:740px){.css-12vbvwq{padding:20px;width:100%;}}.css-12vbvwq:focus{outline:1px solid #e2e2e2;}#NYT_BELOW_MAIN_CONTENT_REGION .css-12vbvwq{border:none;padding:10px 0 0;border-top:2px solid #121212;}.css-12vbvwq[data-truncated] .css-rdoyk0{-webkit-transform:rotate(0deg);-ms-transform:rotate(0deg);transform:rotate(0deg);}.css-12vbvwq[data-truncated] .css-eb027h{max-height:300px;overflow:hidden;-webkit-transition:none;transition:none;}.css-12vbvwq[data-truncated] .css-5gimkt:after{content:’See more’;}.css-12vbvwq[data-truncated] .css-6mllg9{opacity:1;}.css-qjk116{margin:0 auto;overflow:hidden;}.css-qjk116 strong{font-weight:700;}.css-qjk116 em{font-style:italic;}.css-qjk116 a{color:#326891;-webkit-text-decoration:underline;text-decoration:underline;text-underline-offset:1px;-webkit-text-decoration-thickness:1px;text-decoration-thickness:1px;-webkit-text-decoration-color:#326891;text-decoration-color:#326891;}.css-qjk116 a:visited{color:#326891;-webkit-text-decoration-color:#326891;text-decoration-color:#326891;}.css-qjk116 a:hover{-webkit-text-decoration:none;text-decoration:none;}“With the leverage that employees have, and the proof that they can work from home, it’s hard to put the toothpaste back in the tube,” he said.Fearful of losing one more junior employee in what has become a tight job market, Mr. Singer has allowed a young colleague to work from home one day a week with an understanding that they would revisit the issue in the future.“It’s just not possible to say no to some remote work,” Mr. Singer explained. “It’s simply not worth risking losing a good employee because of a doctrinaire view that folks need to be in the office.”Amanda Diaz, 28, feels relieved she doesn’t have to go back to the office, at least for now. She works for the health insurance company Humana in San Juan, P.R., but has been getting the job done in her home in Trujillo Alto, which is about a 40-minute drive from the office.Humana offers its employees the option to work from the office or their home, and Ms. Diaz said she would continue to work remotely as long as she had the option.“Think about all the time you spend getting ready and commuting to work,” she said. “Instead I’m using those two or so hours to prepare a healthy lunch, exercising or rest.”Alexander Fleiss, 38, chief executive of the investment management firm Rebellion Research, said some employees had resisted going back into the office. He hopes peer pressure and the fear of missing out on a promotion for lack of face-to-face interactions entices people back.“Those people might lose their jobs because of natural selection,” Mr. Fleiss said. He said he wouldn’t be surprised if workers began suing companies because they felt they had been laid off for refusing to go back to the office.Mr. Fleiss also tries to persuade his staff members who are working on projects to come back by focusing on the benefits of face-to-face collaborations, but many employees would still rather stick to Zoom calls.“If that’s what they want, that’s what they want,” he said. “You can’t force anyone to do anything these days. You can only urge.” More

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    Low-Wage Workers Now Have Options, Which Could Mean a Raise

    The sharp rebound in hiring, especially in service industries, is widening opportunities and prompting employers to compete on pay.McDonald’s is raising wages at its company-owned restaurants. It is also helping its franchisees hang on to workers with funding for backup child care, elder care and tuition assistance. Pay is up at Chipotle, too, and Papa John’s and many of its franchisees are offering hiring and referral bonuses.The reason? “In January, 8 percent of restaurant operators rated recruitment and retention of work force as their top challenge,” Hudson Riehle, senior vice president for research at the National Restaurant Association, said in an email. “By May, that number had risen to 72 percent.”Restaurant workers — burger flippers and bussers, cooks and waiters — have emerged from the pandemic recession to find themselves in a position they could not have imagined a couple of years ago: They have options. They can afford to wait for a better deal.In the first five months of the year, restaurants put out 61 percent more “workers wanted” posts for waiters and waitresses than they had in the same months of 2018 and 2019, before the coronavirus pandemic shut down bars and restaurants around the country, according to data from Burning Glass, a job market analytics firm.That’s not all: The jobs that waiters and waitresses typically transition to — as bartenders, hosts and hostesses, chefs and food preparation workers — are booming, too.Something similar is happening all along the least-paid end of the labor market. Many employers have blamed expanded unemployment benefits for their troubles in filling gaping job vacancies. But the sharp rebound in hiring — clustered in urban service industries — is creating bottlenecks in sets of occupations that are improving prospects across much of the nation’s low-wage labor force.Marcela Escobari, Ian Seyal and Carlos Daboin Contreras of the Brookings Institution in Washington offer an occupation-by-occupation analysis of this dynamic.Of the roughly 11 million jobs lost between the first quarter of 2020 and the first quarter of this year, they found, over four million were in occupations that are bouncing back with a double benefit: Demand for workers is high, and they are launching pads for sometimes higher-paying jobs that are also growing rapidly.For instance, between January and May there were twice as many job postings for construction laborers as the average for the same five months of 2018 and 2019, according to the Brookings analysis. What’s more, painters and carpenters — two occupations that construction workers typically move to — are also awash in offers.At the same time, construction may be drawing workers from other occupations. While many contractors — especially in residential building — are desperate for workers, “trucking seems to be even more desperate,” noted Ken Simonson, chief economist of the Associated General Contractors of America. One reason might be that construction, with its high pay, tends to attract a lot of truckers.“A lot of construction workers have commercial drivers’ licenses,” Mr. Simonson added. “Trucking companies call it poaching. I would call it luring.”Building cleaners are in hot demand. But an unemployed janitor who wants something better can probably get a job as a groundskeeper, a house cleaner or a construction laborer. These are among the five occupations that building cleaners most often move to, according to the Brookings data. And they are booming, too.Something similar is happening in the market for personal care aides and nursing and home health aides, along with practical and vocational nurses, who are much better paid. All are experiencing a jump in job postings.Some two-thirds of the more than four million jobs are in occupations at the lower end of the wage structure, paying less than $17.26 an hour. The job market is booming far less for occupations paying more than $30.“What’s happening right now is not about the wages of college grads going up — it’s about the wages of lifeguards at my pool,” said Betsey Stevenson, a former chief economist at the Labor Department who is now at the University of Michigan. “That closing of the wage differential could persist.”And this might help explain the peculiar nature of the labor market’s rebound from the pandemic, in which high unemployment coexists with complaints of labor shortages.“Undergirding that is the sense that workers at the very bottom have options to work for a better job,” Ms. Stevenson said. “What employers are used to paying won’t really cut it.”More than 3 percent of workers in the private sector quit in April, according to the Labor Department. That is the highest rate since the government started collecting the data two decades ago. The rate eased only slightly in May, to 2.8 percent. And quitting is particularly notable near the least-paid tier of the labor market: 5.3 percent of workers in leisure and hospitality and 4 percent of workers in retail quit in May.A Domino’s pizza outlet in St. Louis was looking for workers last month.Whitney Curtis for The New York TimesPay seems to be responding. Wages of workers with only a high school certificate have been gaining ground on the pay of their peers with more education since the spring of last year.Might this be just a flash in the pan? Heidi Shierholz, who was also a chief economist at the Labor Department during the Obama administration and is now director of policy at the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute, is skeptical that the job market is breaking with its decades-long trend of wage stagnation at the bottom and lavish rewards at the top.“How much of what this captures is just a trampoline effect?” she wondered. “The jobs that come back tend to look like the jobs that were lost.” After the dust settles and the employment holes created by the pandemic in several industries fill up, the deal offered to workers might look much like it did before the pandemic.Ultimately, “we are stuck in a world where labor is very cheap and we don’t expect much from it,” Ms. Stevenson said. “I don’t see this pandemic fundamentally reshaping that.” Ms. Shierholz put it this way: “There has not been any fundamental restructuring of power in the economy.”Some of the more lasting changes brought about by the pandemic could work against low-wage workers. Restaurants, taxi fleets and hotels in big cities are likely to see less business as companies cut back on business travel and people working remotely cut back on downtown lunches and happy hours.More job losses should be expected if fast food joints and other service businesses decide to replace their face-to-face workers with robots and software. Yet there are signs that the country’s low-wage labor force might be in for more lasting raises.Even before the pandemic, wages of less-educated workers were rising at the fastest rate in over a decade, propelled by shrinking unemployment. And after the temporary expansion of unemployment insurance ends, with Covid-19 under control and children back at school, workers may be unwilling to accept the deals they accepted in the past.Jed Kolko, chief economist at the job placement site Indeed, pointed to one bit of evidence: the increase in the reservation wage — the lowest wage that workers will accept to take a job.According to data from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the average reservation wage is growing fastest for workers without a college degree, hitting $61,483 in March, 26 percent more than a year earlier. Aside from a dip at the start of the pandemic, it has been rising since November 2017.“That suggests it is a deeper trend,” Mr. Kolko noted. “It’s not just about the recovery.”Other trends could support higher wages at the bottom. The aging of the population, notably, is shrinking the pool of able-bodied workers and increasing demand for care workers, who toil for low pay but are vital to support a growing cohort of older Americans.“There was a work force crisis in the home care industry before Covid,” said Kevin Smith, chief executive of Best of Care in Quincy, Mass., and president of the state industry association. “Covid really laid that bare and exacerbated the crisis.”With more families turning their backs on nursing homes, which were early hotbeds of coronavirus infections, Mr. Smith said, personal care aides and home health aides are in even shorter supply.“The demand for services like ours has never been higher,” he said. “That’s never going back.”And some of the changes brought about by the pandemic might create new transition opportunities that are not yet in the Brookings data. The accelerated shift to online shopping may be a dire development for retail workers, but it will probably fuel demand for warehouse workers and delivery truck drivers.The coronavirus outbreak induced such an unusual recession that any predictions are risky. And yet, as Ms. Escobari of Brookings pointed out, the recovery may provide rare opportunities for those toiling for low wages.“This time, people searching for jobs may have a lot of different options,” she said. “That is not typical.” More

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    Job-Hunters, Have You Posted Your Résumé on TikTok?

    “Calling all recruiters!” Makena Yee, 21, a college student in Seattle, shouted into her camera in a recent TikTok video. “These are the reasons why you should hire me!”Ms. Yee went on to outline her qualifications. “I’m driven with confidence, I love keeping organized, I’m adaptive and I’m a team player,” she said, as images of companies she had worked for flashed up on a green screen behind her.The 60-second video quickly racked up over 182,000 views and hundreds of comments. Users tagged potential employers. “Someone hire herrrr!” one commenter implored. Ms. Yee said she had received more than 15 job leads, which she plans to pursue after a summer internship.In modern job searches, tidy one-page résumés are increasingly going the way of the fax machine. That may be accelerated by an app known for viral lip-syncing and dance videos, which is popularizing the TikTok résumé.

    @makena.yee
    Here are the reasons why YOU should hire me! Don’t be shy, let’s get in touch. #tiktokresumes #tiktokpartner ♬ original sound – MAKENA As more college students and recent graduates use TikTok to network and find work, the company has introduced a program allowing people to apply directly for jobs. And employers, many facing labor shortages, are interested. Chipotle, Target, Alo Yoga, Sweetgreen and more than three dozen other companies have started hiring people via the app.The TikTok résumé is central to these efforts. Job applicants submit videos with the hashtag #TikTokResumes and through TikTokresumes.com to show off their skills, something like a personal essay of old. They include their contact information and, if they want, their LinkedIn profile. Employers review the videos, which must be set to public, and schedule interviews with the applicants they find the most compelling.The résumés are an effort to help young people “get the bag” and get paid, Kayla Dixon, a marketing manager at TikTok who developed the program, said in a statement.They are also an outgrowth of a part of TikTok called careertok, where people share job-hunting advice, résumé tips and job opportunities. Videos with the hashtag #edutokcareer have amassed over 1.2 billion views since TikTok was introduced in the United States in 2018.But the video résumés have also raised concerns. The format strips away a level of anonymity, allowing employers to potentially dismiss candidates based on how someone looks or acts. Much of the networking on TikTok also depends on amassing views, which can be hard for those who aren’t adept at creating content or who have struggled to get equal distribution in the app’s feed.TikTok is not the first social platform that companies have sought to leverage for recruiting. LinkedIn, the professional networking site owned by Microsoft, is heavily used by both job seekers and recruiters. In 2015, Taco Bell advertised internship opportunities on Snapchat, and in 2017, McDonald’s let people apply for jobs through a Snapchat tool known as “Snaplications.” That same year, Facebook began allowing companies to post job openings to their pages and to communicate with applicants through Facebook Messenger.TikTok is now taking it further with video applications, rather than a swipe up to a more traditional application page. Though TikTok résumés are open to people of all ages, top videos submitted through the hashtag are from Gen Z users, most of whom are in college. The app said over 800 applicants had submitted TikTok résumés in the past week.“Hiring people or sourcing candidates through video just feels like a natural evolution of where we are in a society,” said Karyn Spencer, global chief marketing officer of Whalar, an influencer company that recently hired an employee off TikTok. “We’re all communicating more and more through video and photos, yet so many résumés our hiring team receives feel like 1985.”

    @kallijroberts @tiktokplease accept this as my formal elle woods-style video application to be one of your interns! #fyp #internship #legallyblonde ♬ motive x promiscuous – elfixsounds Kalli Roberts, 23, a student at Brigham Young University in Utah, said the 2001 movie “Legally Blonde” had inspired her TikTok résumé. She recreated the famous application video that the main character, Elle Woods, played by Reese Witherspoon, submitted in a bid to attend Harvard Law School.“Please accept this as my formal Elle Woods style video application,” Ms. Roberts wrote in the caption. Her TikTok went viral, and she is now interning in TikTok’s global business department.“I didn’t feel like my personality or who I actually am was captured in my paper résumé,” Ms. Roberts said. TikTok let her showcase skills, like video editing and public speaking, that might have been line items on a written application, she said, adding, “I had 10 other companies outside of TikTok say, ‘If they don’t want you, we do.’”Many recruiters are looking beyond standardized applications online or through networking sites like LinkedIn, said Sherveen Mashayekhi, co-founder and chief executive of Free Agency, a start-up focused on hiring in the tech industry.“Cover letters aren’t being read and résumés aren’t predictive, so alternative formats are necessary,” he said. “Over the next five to 10 years, it won’t just be video. There will be these other assessments like games for the early stage of the hiring process.”TikTok’s headquarters in Culver City, Calif. The company said it had recruited several employees through videos submitted on the platform.Rozette Rago for The New York TimesSome companies said TikTok résumés were a useful way to evaluate candidates for public-facing roles. Chipotle has posted over 100 open positions to the app so far to hire restaurant team members, said Tressie Lieberman, the chain’s vice president for digital marketing.“We do real cooking in our restaurants,” she said. “We’re excited to see people’s cooking skills, whether it’s putting chicken on the grill, knife skills or people making guacamole at home and bringing those capabilities into the restaurant.”World Wrestling Entertainment is also using TikTok to recruit, said Paul Levesque, the WWE executive vice president for global talent strategy and development, who is better known as the wrestler Triple H. He said video résumés offered a better sense of an applicant’s personality, which is something the company values.“For us, it’s slightly different than a regular office position where you’re looking at someone’s background,” he said. “We’re really looking for charisma.”Shopify, an e-commerce platform, said it had started turning to TikTok to find engineers.“There are smart entrepreneurial technical people everywhere,” said Farhan Thawar, Shopify’s vice president for engineering. “We have this thing where if you can’t explain a technical topic to a 5-year-old, then you probably don’t understand the topic. So having a medium like TikTok is perfect.”Other employers raised questions about relying on virality to determine a candidate’s worthiness. Adore Me, a lingerie company, began experimenting with recruiting through TikTok in January. Chloé Chanudet, Adore Me’s chief marketing officer, said she worried about who got the most distribution in the feed.“Plus size or women of color are much more likely to not have their videos published or be under review for several days,” she said. “We have the same worry that their TikTok résumés may be biased from the algorithm.”TikTok said it “does not moderate content on the basis of shape, size or ability.”

    @coop.cm

    Tiktok do your thing! Check out ➡️ #TikTokResumes #TikTokPartner #productmanagment#jobsearch #graduated
    ♬ original sound – Christian �� Some Gen Z job hunters said they weren’t deterred. Christian Medina, 24, an aspiring product manager who graduated from college last year, said he had gotten six job leads since posting a TikTok video last month seeking a product management role.“Finding a job for a recent grad is almost impossible, and LinkedIn was not the most helpful for me,” he said. “I will definitely continue to use TikTok résumés.” More

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    Building Solar Farms May Not Build the Middle Class

    To hear Democrats tell it, a green job is supposed to be a good job — and not just good for the planet.The Green New Deal, first introduced in 2019, sought to “create millions of good, high-wage jobs.” And in March, when President Biden unveiled his $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan, he emphasized the “good-paying” union jobs it would produce while reining in climate change.“My American Jobs Plan will put hundreds of thousands of people to work,” Mr. Biden said, “paying the same exact rate that a union man or woman would get.”But on its current trajectory, the green economy is shaping up to look less like the industrial workplace that lifted workers into the middle class in the 20th century than something more akin to an Amazon warehouse or a fleet of Uber drivers: grueling work schedules, few unions, middling wages and limited benefits.Kellogg Dipzinski has seen this up close, at Assembly Solar, a nearly 2,000-acre solar farm under construction near Flint, Mich.“Hey I see your ads for help,” Mr. Dipzinski, an organizer with the local electrical workers union, texted the site’s project manager in May. “We have manpower. I’ll be out that way Friday.”“Hahahahaha …. yes — help needed on unskilled low wage workers,” was the response. “Competing with our federal government for unemployment is tough.”For workers used to the pay standards of traditional energy industries, such declarations may be jarring. Building an electricity plant powered by fossil fuels usually requires hundreds of electricians, pipe fitters, millwrights and boilermakers who typically earn more than $100,000 a year in wages and benefits when they are unionized.But on solar farms, workers are often nonunion construction laborers who earn an hourly wage in the upper teens with modest benefits — even as the projects are backed by some of the largest investment firms in the world. In the case of Assembly Solar, the backer is D.E. Shaw, with more than $50 billion in assets under management, whose renewable energy arm owns and will operate the plant.While Mr. Biden has proposed higher wage floors for such work, the Senate prospects for this approach are murky. And absent such protections — or even with them — there’s a nagging concern among worker advocates that the shift to green jobs may reinforce inequality rather than alleviate it.“The clean tech industry is incredibly anti-union,” said Jim Harrison, the director of renewable energy for the Utility Workers Union of America. “It’s a lot of transient work, work that is marginal, precarious and very difficult to be able to organize.”The Lessons of 2009Since 2000, the United States has lost about two million private-sector union jobs, which pay above-average wages. To help revive such “high-quality middle-class” employment, as Mr. Biden refers to it, he has proposed federal subsidies to plug abandoned oil and gas wells, build electric vehicles and charging stations and speed the transition to renewable energy.Industry studies, including one cited by the White House, suggest that vastly increasing the number of wind and solar farms could produce over half a million jobs a year over the next decade — primarily in construction and manufacturing.David Popp, an economist at Syracuse University, said those job estimates were roughly in line with his study of the green jobs created by the Recovery Act of 2009, but with two caveats: First, the green jobs created then coincided with a loss of jobs elsewhere, including high-paying, unionized industrial jobs. And the green jobs did not appear to raise the wages of workers who filled them.The effect of Mr. Biden’s plan, which would go further in displacing well-paid workers in fossil-fuel-related industries, could be similarly disappointing.In the energy industry, it takes far more people to operate a coal-powered electricity plant than it takes to operate a wind farm. Many solar farms often make do without a single worker on site.In 2023, a coal- and gas-powered plant called D.E. Karn, about an hour away from the Assembly Solar site in Michigan, is scheduled to shut down. The plant’s 130 maintenance and operations workers, who are represented by the Utility Workers Union of America and whose wages begin around $40 an hour plus benefits, are guaranteed jobs at the same wage within 60 miles. But the union, which has lost nearly 15 percent of the 50,000 members nationally that it had five years ago, says many will have to take less appealing jobs. The utility, Consumers Energy, concedes that it doesn’t have nearly enough renewable energy jobs to absorb all the workers.Joe Duvall, the local union president at the D.E. Karn generating complex in Essexville, Mich. The plant, about an hour away from the Assembly Solar site, is scheduled to go offline in 2023.Erin Schaff/The New York Times“A handful will retire,” said Joe Duvall, the local union president. “The younger ones I think have been searching for what they’d like to do outside of Karn.”While some of the new green construction jobs, such as building new power lines, may pay well, many will pay less than traditional energy industry construction jobs. The construction of a new fossil fuel plant in Michigan employs hundreds of skilled tradespeople who typically make at least $60 an hour in wages and benefits, said Mike Barnwell, the head of the carpenters union in the state.By contrast, about two-thirds of the roughly 250 workers employed on a typical utility-scale solar project are lower-skilled, according to Anthony Prisco, the head of the renewable energy practice for the staffing firm Aerotek. Mr. Prisco said his company pays “around $20” per hour for these positions, depending on the market, and that they are generally nonunion.Mr. Biden has proposed that clean energy projects, which are subsidized by federal tax credits, pay construction workers so-called prevailing wages — a level set by the government in each locality. A few states, most prominently New York, have enacted similar mandates.But it’s not clear that the Senate Democrats will be able to enact a prevailing wage mandate over Republican opposition. And the experience of the Recovery Act, which also required prevailing wages, suggests that such requirements are less effective at raising wages than union representation. Union officials also say that much of the difference in compensation arises from benefits rather than pay.A Different Kind of OwnerUnion officials concede that some tasks, like lifting solar panels onto racks, don’t necessarily require a skilled trades worker. But they say that even these tasks should be directly supervised by tradespeople, and that many others must be performed by tradespeople to ensure safety and quality. “If you hire people off the street at $15 per hour, they’re not skilled and they get injuries,” Mr. Barnwell said. “We would never let a bunch of assemblers work together alone.”One potentially dangerous job is wiring the hundreds or thousands of connections on a typical project — from solar panels to boxes that combine their energy to the inverters and transformers that make the electricity compatible with the rest of the grid.Mr. Barnwell’s union has developed a contract that would employ far more skilled workers than the industry norm so that two-thirds of the workers on a project are tradespeople or apprentices. To be more competitive with nonunion employers, the contract offers tradespeople only $18 an hour in benefits, roughly half the usual amount, and a wage of slightly under $30 an hour. Apprentices earn 60 to 95 percent of that wage plus benefits, depending on experience.So far, there have been relatively few takers. A key reason is that while utilities have traditionally built their own coal- and gas-powered plants, they tend to obtain wind and solar energy from other companies through so-called power purchase agreements. That electricity is then sent to customers through the grid just like electricity from any other source.Once construction is completed, many solar farms often operate without a single worker on-site.Erin Schaff/The New York TimesWhen utilities build their own plants, they have little incentive to drive down labor costs because their rate of return is set by regulators — around 10 percent of their initial investment a year, according to securities filings.But when a solar farm is built and owned by another company — typically a green energy upstart, a traditional energy giant or an investment firm like D.E. Shaw, the owner of Assembly Solar in Michigan — that company has every incentive to hold down costs.A lower price helps secure the purchase agreement in the first place. And because the revenue is largely determined by the purchase agreement, a company like D.E. Shaw must keep costs low to have a chance of earning the kind of double-digit returns that a regulated utility earns. Every dollar D.E. Shaw saves on labor is a dollar more for its investors.“For third parties selling power to utilities, they are competing to get the contract,” said Leah Stokes, a political science professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara, who studies utilities. “And the difference between what they’re paid and what their costs are is profit.”Union Labor, ‘Where Possible’In mid-2019, the electrical workers union in Flint elected a trim and tightly coiled man named Greg Remington as its business manager and de facto leader. Around the same time, Mr. Remington ran into an official with Ranger Power, the company developing the project for D.E. Shaw, at a local planning commission meeting.“He was all smiles — ‘Oh, yeah, we look forward to meeting,’” Mr. Remington said of the official. “But he never returned another phone call. I sent emails and he never got back to me.”Development is the stage of a solar project in which a company buys or leases land, secures permits and negotiates a power purchase agreement with a utility. After that, the developer may cede control of the project to a company that will build, own and operate it.But the two companies often work in tandem, as in the case of D.E. Shaw and Ranger Power, which are joint-venture partners “on certain Midwest projects and assets,” according to a Ranger spokeswoman. D.E. Shaw helps fund Ranger Power’s projects, and its involvement provides the resources and credibility to get projects off the ground.Greg Remington, the business manager at the electrical workers local in Flint, Mich. “A lot of this stuff, you’ve got to strike while the iron is hot,” he said of getting a union foothold in green energy construction projects.Erin Schaff/The New York TimesWhen a lawyer for Ranger Power appeared at a Board of Zoning Appeals hearing in Indiana to help advance a Ranger project there in 2019, he emphasized that “the development backing is from D.E. Shaw Renewable Investments,” adding that “they own and operate 31 wind and solar projects across the nation, and they have over $50 billion in investments.” (The firm’s project portfolio is now much larger.)Still, given the sometimes messy maneuvering that goes into obtaining land and permits, it can be helpful for a prominent firm like D.E. Shaw to stand at arm’s length from the development process.In a 2018 letter to a local building trades council in Southern Illinois, known as the Egyptian Building Trades, a Ranger Power official wrote that a solar project the company was developing in the area was “committed to using the appropriate affiliates of the Egyptian Building Trades, where possible, to provide skilled craftsmen and women to perform the construction of the project.” The letter said any entity that acquired the project would be required to honor the commitment.But the project mostly hired nonunion workers to install solar panels. According to a complaint filed by a local union last fall with the Illinois Commerce Commission, the construction contractor has used workers who are not qualified and not supervised by a qualified person “to perform electrical wiring and connections” and paid them less than the union rate.Prairie State Solar, an entity owned by D.E. Shaw that was created to oversee the project, has denied the claims. Prairie State has hired union tradespeople for a portion of the work. Ranger officials likewise played up the construction jobs that the Assembly Solar project would bring to Michigan. But by the time Mr. Remington got involved, the county had approved the project and he had little leverage to ensure that they were union jobs. “A lot of this stuff, you’ve got to strike while the iron is hot,” he said.County officials say that the project is bringing large benefits — including payments to landowners and tax revenue — and that they have no say over organized labor’s involvement. “I don’t think it’s our responsibility in any way to intervene on behalf of or against a union,” said Greg Brodeur, a county commissioner.‘Like a Moving Assembly Line’On an afternoon in mid-May, several laborers coming off their shift at Assembly Solar said they were grateful for the work, which they said paid $16 an hour and provided health insurance and 401(k) contributions. Two said they had moved to the area from Memphis and two from Mississippi, where they had made $9 to $15 an hour — one as a cook, two in construction and one as a mechanic.Jeff Ordower, an organizer with the Green Workers Alliance, a group that pushes for better conditions on such projects, said that out-of-state workers often found jobs through recruiters, some of whom make promises about pay that don’t materialize, and that many workers ended up in the red before starting. “You don’t get money till you get there,” Mr. Ordower said. “You’re borrowing money from friends and family just to get to the gig.”The Assembly Solar workers described their jobs installing panels: Two workers “throw glass,” meaning they lift a panel onto the rack, while a third “catches it,” meaning he or she guides the panel into place. Another group of workers passes by afterward and secures the panels to the rack.One of the men, who identified himself as Travis Shaw, said he typically worked from 7 a.m. until 5 p.m. six days a week, including overtime. Another worker, Quendarious Foster, who had been on the job for two weeks, said the workers motivated themselves by trying to beat their daily record, which stood at 30 “trackers,” each holding several dozen panels.“Solar is like a moving assembly line,” said Mr. Prisco, the staffing agency leader. “Instead of the product moving down the line, the people move. It replicates itself over and over again across 1,000, 2,000 acres.”The solar industry is shaping up to look less like a workers’ paradise than something more akin to an Amazon warehouse: grueling work schedules, middling wages and steady profits for wealthy investors.Erin Schaff/The New York TimesMr. Prisco and other experts said meeting a tight deadline was often critical. In some cases, project owners must pay a penalty to the electricity buyer if there are delays.Elsewhere on the site, Mr. Remington pointed out a worker whom he had seen splicing together cables, but she declined to comment when approached by a reporter. Mr. Remington, who visits frequently and has the moxie of a man who, by his own accounting, has been chased around “by some of the finest sheriffs” in Michigan during hunting season, said he had asked the worker the day before if she was a licensed journeyman or if a journeyman was directly supervising her work, as state regulations require. The worker indicated that neither was the case.A spokeswoman for McCarthy Building Companies, the construction contractor for D.E. Shaw Renewable Investments, said that all electrical apprentices were supervised by licensed journeymen at the state-mandated ratio of three-to-one or better and that all splices involved a licensed electrician.During a brief encounter on site with a reporter, Brian Timmer, the project manager who had exchanged a text with a union organizer, said, “That’s the reason I can’t talk to you” when he was asked about union labor. “It gets a lot of people upset.” (Mr. Remington said he was later told by McCarthy that it might use union electricians for a limited assignment — repairing some defective components.)The county electrical inspector, Dane Deisler, said that McCarthy had produced licenses when he had asked to see them, but that he hadn’t “physically gone through and counted” the licenses and didn’t know how many licensed electricians were on site.Mr. Remington is convinced there are far fewer than a project of this scale requires. “That’s a high-voltage splice box right there,” he said while driving around the perimeter, alluding to potential dangers. He pointed to another box and said, “Tell me if you don’t think that’s electrical work.”Later, explaining why he invested so much effort in a job site where few of his members are likely to be employed, Mr. Remington reflected on the future. “Well, this is going to be the only show in town,” he said. “I want us to have a piece of it.” More