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Labour: Time for government to start listening

17 November 2011
The FMF published an article more than a year ago saying that it was crisis time in South Africa. The country’s greatest crisis lies in the large-scale unemployment that is causing havoc in the lives of millions of people. The situation has not improved. In fact, it is being made…

Iniquity of Labour Laws Today and the Land Act in 1913

09 November 2011
It is a different time and we have a different government but history in this country is being repeated. Labour law in South Africa today is wreaking the same havoc on the millions of unemployed as the 1913 Land Act did on black sharecroppers. Like those victims of the past,…

Did Stimulus Dollars Hire the Unemployed?

30 Sep 11   FMF Policy Bulletin
To test the effect of job incentives included in the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (AARA), or stimulus package, researchers at the Marcatus Center conducted a survey of hundreds of firms, non-profit institutes and local governments to gather information on worker and employer behaviour in response to certain provisions.…

Ten-Point Plan to Create US Jobs

30 Sep 11   FMF Policy Bulletin
The Competitive Enterprise Institute released a 10-point plan to create US jobs in response to President Obama's jobs speech last week. Suggestions include: Repeal financial "reform" laws, such as Dodd-Frank and the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, that are causing economic uncertainty and dissuading businesses from expanding, investing and hiring for new projects.…

The Freelance Economy

22 Sep 11   FMF Policy Bulletin
Today, careers consist of piecing together various types of work, juggling multiple clients, learning to be marketing and accounting experts, and creating offices in bedrooms/coffee shops/co-working spaces. Independent workers abound. This transition is nothing less than a revolution, says Sara Horowitz, the founder of Freelancers Union, a non-profit organisation representing…

Number of Green Jobs in US Fails to Live Up to Promises

15 Sep 11   FMF Policy Bulletin
In the Bay Area of the US, as in much of the country, the green economy is not proving to be the job-creation engine that many politicians envisioned. President Obama once pledged to create 5 million green jobs over 10 years. California Gov. Jerry Brown promised 500,000 clean-technology jobs state-wide…

Unemployed versus Unions: Getting the Priorities Right

09 Sep 11  
More than 6 million South Africans are unemployed and unionised members are becoming more cautious about their union engagement. Union membership is on the decline, and this trend has been exacerbated by the decline in the labour market, which according to Stats SA lost 191,000 jobs since the global recession…

Solving the US Jobs Problem

18 Aug 11   FMF Policy Bulletin
As the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act winds down, the unemployment rate remains over 9 per cent and the economy is idling. It is increasingly clear that Keynesian stimulus has failed to get the economy where it needs to be. Now what? The U.S. economy faces problems that are structural…

Years of High American Unemployment Ahead at Recovery's Pace

27 Jul 11   FMF Policy Bulletin
Despite the official end of the recession in June 2009, the labour market remains stagnant. Employment has fallen by nearly 7 million jobs since the recession began. Unemployment remains above 9 per cent. This is the weakest recovery of the post-World War II era. Current policies have not stimulated business…

Jobs, jobs, jobs? then denationalise the unemployed

01 Jul 11   Eustace Davie
At the stroke of a pen, 5-million more people could enter the workforce today. Current legislative and regulatory barriers prevent employers – from the largest to the smallest – from employing labour by mutual agreement. Because of this, more than 7-million people are being denied entry into the labour market. The…

Freedom for all in South Africa

28 Jun 11   Jasson Urbach
Despite a plethora of evidence that economically free societies are better off by virtually every measure of wellbeing than societies that are directed and controlled by a central authority, there continues to be significant opposition to ideas of political and economic freedom. Indeed, in the South African context much of…

Prioritising Economic Freedom over Social Entitlements

09 Jun 11   FMF Policy Bulletin
Freedom and entitlement are largely two different paradigms to think about the fundamentals of economic development. Depending on the balance between free choices and more coerced decisions, individual opportunities to learn, own, work, save, invest, trade, protect and so forth could vary greatly across countries and over time, says Jean-Pierre…

UK jobless claims on the rise

03 Jun 11   FMF Policy Bulletin
UK unemployment claims last month rose at the fastest pace since January last year, underlining the fragility of the recovery as government spending cuts and accelerating inflation sap consumer confidence. Jobless benefit claims increased by 12,400 from March to 1.47-million, the Office for National Statistics said yesterday in London. Unemployment measured…

Minimum wage harms those it is designed to help

27 May 11   FMF Policy Bulletin
The authors of a new US study titled "Unequal Harm: Racial Disparities in the Employment Consequences of Minimum Wage Increases" state that it would be easy to say the high employment levels for young adults is an unfortunate by-product of the recession, but you'd be wrong. The study demonstrates that…

The seen vs unseen in the Walmart saga

20 May 11   Jasson Urbach
The anti-Walmart coalition claims that if the Competition Tribunal allows Walmart’s private bid to buy out Massmart to go ahead without any conditions the result will be “thousands of potential job losses”. This is a curious position. We know that whenever Walmart enters a new market, prices on average decline…

Factories shut over minimum pay row

11 May 11   Jasson Urbach
Edward West reports in the Business Day (Factories shut over minimum pay row, May 4, 2011) that, the National Bargaining Council for the Clothing Manufacturing Industry recently closed two factories in Newcastle, KwaZulu-Natal, in an effort to force employers to pay government legislated minimum wages. West reports, “South African Clothing…

Employment

29 Apr 11   FMF Policy Bulletin
Andrew Kenny writes in the Business Day (Employment, Apr. 19, 2011), “Between our catastrophic levels of unemployment and the prospect of an economy with full employment stands the impenetrable barrier of our labour laws. These wicked laws are not only throwing millions of our people into the dustbin of joblessness,…

Effect of Mandated Minimum Wage on US Jobs

30 Mar 11   FMF Policy Bulletin
In 2006, the last full year in which the U.S. federal minimum wage was a constant value throughout the whole year (at least before 2010) approximately 6,595,383 individuals in the United States earned $7.25 per hour or less. For 2010, the first full year in which the U.S. federal minimum…

Extended Unemployment Benefits Present Policy Concerns

15 Mar 11   FMF Policy Bulletin
US states provide unemployment insurance (UI) benefits to involuntarily unemployed workers. UI benefits typically replace 35 per cent to 40 per cent of a worker's weekly income. Normally, states provide UI benefits for up to 26 weeks. Workers in states with high unemployment rates may collect extended benefits for an…

Exports Create Better Jobs, but Not Necessarily More Jobs

15 Mar 11   FMF Policy Bulletin
Much has been made of the increase in US exports last year and the jobs exports create. Export growth is a good thing. However, the impact of exports on jobs and gross domestic product (GDP) must be considered in conjunction with the accompanying increase in imports. In both the year…

Assist school leavers to find work

09 Feb 11   David Davie
With the around 500,000 successful matriculants starting to push and squeeze their way into the job market, we have to wonder how many will succeed in finding jobs and how many will end up joining the ranks of the long term unemployed. South Africa’s unusually high level of unemployment is…

High Labour Costs = Fewer Jobs

02 Feb 11   FMF Policy Bulletin
Most people intuitively know that the worst thing government can do in the middle of the deepest recession in 70 years is enact policies that increase the expected cost of labour. Yet that is exactly what happened last spring, with the passage of the health care reform bill, says John…