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Manufacturing Jobs are Returning for High School Grads

Labor Department data show the lowest college-going rate since 2013, and a big drop for men, as job market strengthens, especially in manufacturing, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Men who otherwise would likely attend community colleges are finding job opportunities in areas like manufacturing, said Alicia Sasser Modestino, an associate professor of public policy, urban affairs and economics at Northeastern University.

“It’s the manly-man jobs that are finally coming back,” she said.

New high-school graduates are less likely to be enrolled in college than at any point since 2013 and the jobs recovery extends to even teenage workers. Of the 2.9 million people who graduated from high school in 2017, about two-thirds were enrolled in college last October, the lowest rate in four years.

The only racial or ethnic group that reported an increase in college enrollment straight out of high school was African-American students, edging up to 59.4 percent, from 58.2 percent, the Journal reported.


ALABAMA AG JOINS NAM EFFORT AGAINST BASELESS LAWSUITS

The NAM’s Manufacturers’ Accountability Project (MAP) reported this week that it continues to counter frivolous lawsuits against manufacturers filed by several headline-seeking politicians and profit-seeking lawyers.

Now the attorneys generals of 15 states – Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming – have joined manufacturers in the fight, filing an amicus brief in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, arguing against the lawsuits.

MAP Executive Director Lindsey de la Torre called this “a significant step in defending manufacturers in America and discouraging further costly litigation.”

“With strong support from the attorneys general across the country, manufacturers look to spend less time in the courtroom fighting baseless lawsuits that enrich trial lawyers and more time working towards meaningful solutions,” she said.

On Thursday, three of the attorneys general-Leslie Rutledge from Arkansas, Mike Hunter from Oklahoma and Alan Wilson from South Carolina-joined NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons for a panel discussion with reporters at NAM headquarters.


IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

Tax Reform Has America’s Trucking Industry Moving

U.S. Chamber of Commerce (Harrison 4/24) “Sixty-two years ago, at the age of 19, Clarence Werner moved to Omaha, NE, and sold his car to purchase a Ford F800 truck. Today, the company he started, Werner Enterprises, operates a fleet of more than 7,000 trucks and employs nearly 10,000 workers-and this year, those vehicles and those drivers are seeing some significant changes thanks to tax reform.

“‘With the tax cuts, we’ve been able to increase our capital investment this year by $127 million, 90 percent of which is dedicated to trucks and trailers that are cleaner, safer, and better for the American roadways’, Werner Enterprises CEO Derek Leathers said at an event this month at the White House Rose Garden.

“In addition, Leathers said the company has ‘announced increases of $24 million for our 9,500 driver associates, which works out to over $2,400 per professional driver’. A survey of American Trucking Associations members earlier this year revealed that half of carriers were planning to increase wages or offer bonuses as a direct result of tax reform.

Only a few days after the White House event, the trucking industry was one of several industries represented at an event at the U.S. Chamber to explore the benefits and implementation of tax reform.

“Approved by Congress at the end of 2017, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act-the first major overhaul of our nation’s tax code in a generation-has cut rates for businesses of all shapes and sizes, allows for full expensing of investments, and establishes an internationally competitive tax system.”

U.S. weekly jobless claims total 209,000, vs 230,000 expected

CNBC (4/26) “New applications for U.S. unemployment benefits dropped to their lowest level in more than 48 years last week, suggesting that March’s slowdown in job growth was probably temporary. Initial claims for state unemployment benefits fell 24,000 to a seasonally adjusted 209,000 for the week ended April 21, the lowest level since December 1969, the Labor Department said on Thursday.

“Economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims falling to 230,000 in the latest week. Claims appear to be settling after volatility in recent weeks caused by different timings of the Easter and school spring breaks. The labor market is considered to be near or at full employment. The unemployment rate is at a 17-year low of 4.1 percent, not far from the Federal Reserve’s forecast of 3.8 percent by the end of this year.

“The claims report also showed the number of people receiving benefits after an initial week of aid dropped 29,000 to 1.84 million in the week ended April 14. The four-week moving average of the so-called continuing claims declined 9,750 to 1.85 million, the lowest level since January 1974.”

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Dana Beyerle
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