Economics and Finance

CSG Midwest
Indiana is planning to invest more than $20 million over the next two years into two grant programs that prepare workers to fill existing and looming job vacancies. Under the Next Level Jobs Initiative, the state will pay for workers to get trained at Indiana’s community colleges and help employers train their new hires.
The state currently has approximately 95,000 job openings, and by 2025, another 1 million are expected due to retirements and the creation of new positions. Many of these will be jobs that require some level of education or training beyond high school. According to the National Skills Coalition, by 2024, 55 percent of Indiana’s jobs will be considered “middle skill” — those requiring less than a four-year college degree but calling for some degree, certification or training beyond a high school diploma. 

Thursday, October 19 marked the deadline for cities to apply to become the home of Amazon’s second corporate headquarters, a $5 billion project that is expected to eventually employ 50,000 people with average salaries of more than $100,000. The competition, which the company announced last month, sparked a bidding war that demonstrated the growing importance of ecommerce and logistics to the nation’s economy and that allowed many parts of the country to tout their infrastructure assets and, in some cases, to recognize the infrastructure challenges they may need to face in the future.

The recent hack of the consumer reporting agency Equifax compromised the security of 143 million Americans’ personal information, including Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses, and driver’s license numbers. The incident serves as a stark reminder of the perils of identity theft and its impact on consumer credit reports. As a response to these concerns, certain credit monitoring and control provisions have been granted to consumers through federal and state. 

Right-to-Work legislation has garnered renewed activity in states across the country. Since 2012, six states—Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, West Virginia and Wisconsin—have adopted right-to-work legislation. Conversely, New Hampshire and New Mexico voted against such a measure during their 2017 legislative sessions. Though legislation varies by state, right-to-work laws allow an employee to work for a business without being obligated to join a labor union. Union groups strongly oppose such legislation as they argue it would jeopardize worker wages and benefits and allow workers who do not pay dues to benefit from union wage and benefit negotiations. Advocates of the law maintain that it encourages economic development and provides options for employees.

International trade and investments from foreign nations are major contributors to the United States economy and help support millions of good-paying jobs throughout state and local communities. In today’s global economy, it is imperative that state and local governments play a leading role in coordinating and developing an international trade and investment strategy that gets their community ready to engage and compete in the global marketplace. This session will highlight how state leaders can further engage in international trade, including trade policy and trade promotion.

This full-day event will cover innovative state practices on hiring and retaining workers with disabilities, including how the state can be a model employer, how to engage and support the business community and best practices on providing employment supports for people with disabilities. The policy academy will include success stories from Kentucky, Massachusetts, Nevada and Oregon on the policies and practices of states that lead to higher labor market engagement by people with disabilities.

A recently released study conducted by Roubini Thoughtlab and commissioned by Visa took a look at the economic boost cities might get by going “cashless” – defined as the entire population of a city moving to digital payment usage equal to the top 10 percent of users in that city today. The study estimates that relying more on electronic payments, such as cards and mobile payments, could yield a net benefit of up to $470 billion per year across the 100 cities studied – about three percent of the average GDP for these cities.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee in July signed into law one of the nation’s most comprehensive paid family leave programs, offering workers paid time off for the birth or adoption of a child or for the serious medical condition of the employee or his or her family member. The legislation, which will take effect in 2020, offers eligible workers 12 weeks of either parental or medical leave, or 16 weeks for a combination of both. Only four other states guarantee paid family leave: California, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island, with New York’s program beginning in 2018. The District of Columbia also approved a paid family leave program this year to take effect in 2020.

By Katherine Barrett and Richard Greene
During the years when the baby-boom generation was being introduced to the population of the United States, the fertility rate equaled about three births for each woman of child bearing age. But since the mid-1960s, when the baby boom ceased, fertility rates have been dropping. By the early 1970s, the fertility rate fell below two births per woman, and it has been declining steadily for at least the last 10 years. Since then, the U.S. fertility rate has been below replacement level—the level that is needed for couples to replace themselves in the population—according to the Population Reference Bureau.

The State and Local Tax Deduction, or SALT, recently came under scrutiny amidst the debate over tax reform. Implemented in 1913, SALT allows taxpayers to deduct money paid towards state and local taxes from their taxable federal income. The deduction costs the federal government about $96 billion each year, but state and local governments argue that it is crucial for local development.

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