Labor and Employment

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that The Council of State Governments requests that the Congress and the Executive Branch work with the States to promote the quality of life for all men and women of the armed forces and improve state-federal coordination in the provision of and greater access to programs, services, and benefits that support veterans’ employment, education, job training, health, and housing needs.

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, The Council of State Governments requests that the Congress and the Executive Branch pursue educational policies that promote and ensure state flexibility and a healthy state-federal partnership in the vital task of educating America’s children and growing our economy

Struggling from years of insufficient contributions, combined with longer-living retiree populations, many states face mounting public pension liabilities without sufficient assets to cover them. But states aren’t sitting idly by. Public pension reform has been a major topic of conversation in statehouses across the country, and was the focus of the CSG Public Pensions and Retirement Security policy academy Dec. 10.

While some states have not yet resolved their public pension problems, Keith Brainard of the National Association of State Retirement Administrators said that the pension outlook for most states is improving—in part due to recent pension reforms.

In an increasingly complex global economy, few issues are more critical to states and the private sector than workforce development. To facilitate discussion on workforce needs and strategies, CSG has planned a special policy round table event as part of the 2015 CSG National Conference in Nashville, Tenn. The session, "State Pathways to Prosperity—Workforce and Economic Development Round Table," will convene at the Mars Petcare Global Innovation Center in Thompson's Station on the morning of Friday, Dec. 11.

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Hello, I wanted to take a moment to introduce myself.  I am excited to serve as CSG’s Director of Education and Workforce Development.  I hope to be a resource from cradle to career, covering emerging issues and trends for states as well as providing opportunities to talk about policy solutions.

I plan on using this blog to highlight the work of states exceling at meeting the education and workforce needs...

Last week, after Illinois Comptroller Leslie Munger announced that a cash flow problem caused by a deadlock in the state’s budget negotiations would force Illinois to delay its November pension payment, Fitch Ratings--one of the “Big Three” credit rating agencies--lowered the state’s bond rating. For many states, pension reform has been achieved only after long, and often contentious, battles across all three branches of government. To help state leaders better understand how their fellow policymakers are tackling pension concerns, CSG will host a public pension and retirement security policy academy on Thursday, Dec. 10, in conjunction with the CSG 2015 National Conference in Nashville, Tenn. The session will begin with Pensions 101, an overview of pension and retirement security issues facing states.

CSG Midwest
Across the country, the number of “earn while you learn” programs is growing rapidly, and some states in the Midwest are leading the way with new policies to expand apprenticeship opportunities.

The Department of Labor awarded more than $39.3 million in grants last week to enhance unemployment insurance programs in 43 states. “For more than 80 years, the unemployment insurance system has been a crucial lifeline for millions of working people who lost their job through no fault of their own,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez in a press release. “These grants will help states use every tool at its disposal to ensure payments are available to those who are eligible, and take important steps to reduce and recover improper payments. The funds will also identify new ways to level the playing field for responsible employers.”

According to research from the Department of Commerce by Jeffrey Hall and Chris Rasmussen, goods exports (manufactured products, agricultural products, natural resources and used/second-hand products) supported 7.1 million jobs in 2014 – up one million jobs, or 16.4 percent, over 2009 levels. In 2014, export-supported jobs made up 5.1 percent of total employment. The importance of goods exports to states, however, varies significantly. In Alaska and Washington for example, goods exports support more than one out of ten jobs. In 16 states, exports support 3 percent or less of total employment. From 2009 to 2014, exports have become even more important to job growth. Over this period, the number of jobs supported by exports grew in all but seven states. 

Nearly 5 million white collar workers who make more than $23,660 a year are not eligible for overtime pay. This includes convenience store managers, fast food assistant managers, or office workers who may be expected to work overtime, yet receive no compensation for the extra time. But under a proposal by President Obama, this would soon change. Obama hopes to double the current salary threshold for overtime pay for salaried workers by 2016.

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