Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Labor Line

April 2014___________________________________

Labor line has job news and commentary with a one stop short cut for America's job markets and job related data including the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

This month's job and employment summary data are below. This month's inflation data is below.

The Establishment Job Report and Establishment Job Details for data released April 4, 2014.

American Job Market The Chronicle

Current Job and Employment Data

Total Non-Farm Establishment Jobs up 192,000 to 137,928,000
Total Private Jobs up 192,000 to 116,087,000
Total Government Employment up 0 to 21,841,000

Employment Note
Civilian Non-Institutional Population up 173,000 to 247,258,000
Civilian Labor Force up 503,000 to 156,227,000
Employed up 476,000 to 145,742,000
Employed Men up 608,000 to 77,416,000
Employed Women down 133,000 to 68,325,000
Unemployed up 27,000 to 10,486,000
Not in the Labor Force down 331,000 to 91,030,000

Unemployment Rate stayed the same at 6.6%, or 10,486/156,227
Labor Force Participation Rate went up .2 percent to 63.2%, or 156,227 /247,258

Prices and inflation measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for all Urban Consumers was down 1.69 percent for 2010.

The April CPI report for the 12 months ending with March, shows the

CPI for All Items was up 1.5%
CPI for Food and Beverages was up 1.7%
CPI for Housing was up 2.8%
CPI for Apparel was up .5%
CPI for Transportation including gasoline was down 1.2%
CPI for Medical Care was up 2.2%
CPI for Recreation was up .3%
CPI for Education was up 3.2%
CPI for Communication was down .9%

This Month's Establishment Jobs Press Report


The Bureau of Labor Statistics published its April report of jobs in March. Both the civilian labor force and the employed were up by large amounts, but the unemployed did not go down; the unemployed were up 27 thousand, a modest amount, but enough to keep the unemployment rate steady at 6.7 percent. The extra large increase of 503 thousand into the labor force was enough to raise the participation rate .2 percent to 63.2 percent. Better, but still at historic lows.

The seasonally adjusted total of establishment jobs was up 192 thousand for March, up slightly from last month. The increase was 167 thousand more private sector service jobs combined with an increase of 25 thousand goods production jobs and no change in government service jobs.

Construction was up 19 thousand jobs with most of the increase in heavy and civil engineering construction. Manufacturing was off a thousand jobs, a bad sign. A small increase in motor vehicle employment could not make up for the decline of non-durable goods, especially food processing. Natural resources added a net of 7 thousand jobs mostly because of logging and support activities in mining.

Government had a net change of zero jobs with a decline in federal and state employment offsetting the increase in local government. The federal government is down to a total of 2.7 million jobs. The local government increase was 3.6 thousand jobs outside of education and 8.1 thousand new jobs in public education. State public education was also up with 2 thousand more jobs. Private education was added 6.7 thousand jobs for a combined increase of 9 thousand more jobs in education.

Professional and business services had the biggest job gains among services in March adding 57 thousand more jobs. It was the big gainer last month as well. However professional and technical services made a modest gain of 10.4 thousand new jobs with the rest of the jobs at establishments managing companies and administrative support services. Temporary help services added half the jobs: 28.5 thousand. Computer design and related services was next with 6.1 thousand new jobs.

Leisure and hospitality jobs increased 29 thousand, more than last month and the month before that. Again restaurants gains topped the list with 30.4 thousand more jobs that made up for small losses in arts, entertainment and recreation. Accommodations added 2.7 thousand jobs.

Trade, transportation and utilities added 38 thousand jobs for March with job gains in retail trade of 21.3 thousand jobs including 9 thousand new jobs at food and beverage stores and 5.1 thousand at sports, hobby, book and music stores. Only building material and garden supply stores declined for March, possibly weather related. Transportation were also up a modest 7.9 thousand jobs. Utility jobs were up slightly for the month but remain at 550 thousand, where they have been for the last three years.

Health care added 27 thousand jobs after last month's smaller increase. This month's growth in health employment about equals the 5 year average of 1.87 percent. Ambulatory care added 19.4 thousand jobs; hospitals added 4 thousand jobs, which is good news because job growth at hospitals has been stalled for a year.

March jobs for financial activities were up 1 thousand and up 2 thousand for information services. Net gains in real estate offset the losses in the banking and finance sub sectors. Ho-hum. Among remaining services repair and maintenance services added 2.8 thousand jobs after last month's small losses. Personal services picked up 3.5 thousand jobs, but a smaller gain than last month. Personal services are up only 19 thousand over March a year ago.

The March job picture still falls short of a good month, even though there is improvement in the job totals over the last several months. Manufacturing keeps doing nothing much. There are only 72 thousand more manufacturing jobs for the 12 months just ended. Restaurants are the only consistent gainers with 323.2 thousand new jobs over the last 12 months, more than all of health care. Nothing in the March report is good enough to call it good.


March Details

Non Farm Total +192
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported Non-Farm employment for establishments increased from February by 192 thousand jobs for a(n) March total of 137.928 million. (Note 1 below) An increase of 192 thousand each month for the next 12 months represents an annual growth rate of 1.67%. The annual growth rate from a year ago beginning March 2013 was +1.66%; the average annual growth rate from 5 years ago beginning March 2009 was +.81%; from 15 years ago beginning March 1999 it was .49%. America needs growth around 1.5 percent a year to keep itself employed.


Sector breakdown for 12 Sectors in 000's of jobs

1. Natural Resources +7
Natural Resources including logging and mining were up 7 thousand from February at 898 thousand jobs in March. An increase of 7 thousand jobs each month for the next 12 months would be an annual growth rate of +9.43 percent. Natural resource jobs are up 38 thousand for the 12 months just ended. Jobs in the 1990's totaled around 770 thousand. Job growth here will be small compared to America's job needs. This is the smallest of 12 major sectors of the economy with .7 percent of establishment jobs.

2. Construction +19
Construction jobs were up 19 thousand from February at 5.964 million jobs in March. An increase of 19 thousand jobs each month for the next 12 months would be an annual growth rate of +3.84 percent. Construction jobs are up 152 thousand for the last 12 months. The growth rate for the last 5 years is -1.06%. Construction jobs rank 9th among the 12 sectors with 4.3 percent of non farm employment.

3. Manufacturing -1
Manufacturing jobs were down 1 thousand from February at 12.079 million jobs in March. A decrease of 1 thousand jobs each month for the next 12 months would be an annual growth rate of -.10 percent. Manufacturing jobs were up for the last 12 months by 72 thousand. The growth rate for the last 5 years is -.21%. In 1994, manufacturing ranked 2nd but now ranks 6th among 12 major sectors in the economy with 8.8 percent of establishment jobs.

4. Trade, Transportation & Utility +38
Trade, both wholesale and retail, transportation and utility employment was up by 38 thousand jobs from February to 26.212 million jobs in March. These jobs tend to increase at a slower rate than the total of non-farm jobs, but an increase of 38 thousand each month for the next 12 months would be an annual growth rate of +1.74 percent. Jobs are up by 529 thousand for the last 12 months. Growth rates for the last 5 years are +.82 percent. Jobs in these sectors rank first as the biggest sectors with combined employment of 19.0 percent of total establishment employment.

5. Information Services +2
Information Services employment were up by 2 from February to 2.665 million jobs in March. An increase of 2 thousand each month for the next 12 months would be an annual growth rate of +.90 percent. (Note 2 below) Jobs are down by 29 thousand for the last 12 months. Monthly employment in information services gyrates month to month and has been doing so for over a decade. Information jobs reached 3.7 million at the end of 2000, but started dropping, reaching 3 million by 2004 and continues below 2.7 million now. Information Services is a small sector ranking 11th of 12 with 2.0 percent of establishment jobs.

6. Financial Activities +1
Financial Activities were up 1 thousand jobs from February to 7.910 million in March. An increase of 1 thousand each month for the next 12 months would be an annual growth rate of +.15 percent. Jobs are up 57 thousand for the last 12 months. (Note 3 below)This sector also includes real estate as well as real estate lending. Financial Services has been declining with negative annual growth rates, a 5 year growth rate of -.04 percent, and a 15 year growth rate of
+.16 percent. Financial activities rank 8 of 12 with 5.8 percent of establishment jobs.

7. Business & Professional Services +57
Business and Professional Service jobs went up 57 thousand from February to 19.029 million in March. An increase of 57 thousand each month for the next 12 months would be an annual growth rate of +3.61 percent. Jobs are up 667 thousand for the last 12 months. Note 4 The annual growth rate for the last 5 years was 2.57 percent. It ranks as 2nd among the 12 sectors. It was third in May 1993, when manufacturing was bigger and second rank now with 13.7 percent of establishment employment.

8. Education including public and private +9
Education jobs went up 9 thousand jobs from February at 13.565 million in March. These include public and private education. An increase of 9 thousand each month for the next 12 months would be an annual growth rate of +.76 percent. Jobs are up 63 thousand for the last 12 months. (note 5) The 15 year growth rate equals 1.21 percent, faster than the national average. Education ranks 4th among 12 sectors with 9.8 percent of establishment jobs.

9. Health Care +27
Health care jobs were up 27 thousand from February to 17.940 million in March. An increase of 27 thousand each month for the next 12 months would be an annual growth rate of +1.81 percent. Jobs are up 289 thousand for the last 12 months. (note 6) The current month was below long term trends and less than growth from a year ago when the annual growth rate was +1.87 percent. Health care has been growing at +2.41 percent annual growth rate for 15 years, a rate not quite double the national rate. Health care ranks 3rd of 12 with 13.0 percent of establishment jobs.

10. Leisure and hospitality +29
Leisure and hospitality jobs went up 29 thousand from February to 14.518 million in March. An increase of 29 thousand each month for the next 12 months would be an annual growth rate of +2.40 percent. Jobs are up 406 thousand for the last 12 months. (note 7) The 5 year growth rate is 2.03%. More than 80 percent of leisure and hospitality are accommodations and restaurants assuring that most of the new jobs are in restaurants. Leisure and hospitality ranks 4th of 12 with 10.5 percent of establishment jobs. It moved up from 7th in the 1990's to 5th in the last few years.

11. Other +6
Other Service jobs, which include repair, maintenance, personal services and non-profit organizations went up 6 thousand from February to 5.489 million in March. An increase of 6 thousand each month for the next 12 months would be an annual growth rate of +1.31 percent. Jobs are up 40 thousand for the last 12 months. (note 8) Other services had +.39 percent growth for the last 5 years. These sectors rank 10th of 12 with 4.0 percent of total non-farm establishment jobs.

12. Government, excluding education -1
Government service employment was down 1 thousand jobs from February to 11.660 million in March. A decrease of 1 thousand each month for the next 12 months would be an annual growth rate of -.06 percent. Jobs are down 34 thousand for the last 12 months. (note 9) Government jobs excluding education tend to increase slowly but surely with a 15 year growth rate of .30 percent. Government, excluding education, ranks 7th of 12 with 8.5 percent of total non-farm establishment jobs.


Sector Notes___________________________

(1) The total cited above is non-farm establishment employment that counts jobs and not people. If one person has two jobs then two jobs are counted. It excludes agricultural employment and the self employed. Out of a total of people employed agricultural employment typically has about 1.5 percent, the self employed about 6.8 percent, the rest make up wage and salary employment. Jobs and people employed are close to the same, but not identical numbers because jobs are not the same as people employed: some hold two jobs. Remember all these totals are jobs. back

(2) Information Services is part of the new North American Industry Classification System(NAICS). It includes firms or establishments in publishing, motion picture & sound recording, broadcasting, Internet publishing and broadcasting, telecommunications, ISPs, web search portals, data processing, libraries, archives and a few others.back

(3) Financial Activities includes deposit and non-deposit credit firms, most of which are still known as banks, savings and loan and credit unions, but also real estate firms and general and commercial rental and leasing.back

(4) Business and Professional services includes the professional areas such as legal services, architecture, engineering, computing, advertising and supporting services including office services, facilities support, services to buildings, security services, employment agencies and so on.back

(5) Education includes private and public education. Therefore education job totals include public schools and colleges as well as private schools and colleges. back

(6) Health care includes ambulatory care, private hospitals, nursing and residential care, and social services including child care. back

(7) Leisure and hospitality has establishment with arts, entertainment and recreation which has performing arts, spectator sports, gambling, fitness centers and others, which are the leisure part. The hospitality part has accommodations, motels, hotels, RV parks, and full service and fast food restaurants. back

(8) Other is a smorgasbord of repair and maintenance services, especially car repair, personal services and non-profit services of organizations like foundations, social advocacy and civic groups, and business, professional, labor unions, political groups and political parties. back

(9) Government job totals include federal, state, and local government administrative work but without education jobs. back



Jobs are not the same as employment because jobs are counted once but one person could have two jobs adding one to employment but two to jobs. Also the employment numbers include agricultural workers, the self employed, unpaid family workers, household workers and those on unpaid leave. Jobs are establishment jobs and non-other. back


Sunday, April 6, 2014

Free Speech, Picketing and Bribery and the McCutcheon Case

The phrasing in the first amendment to the U.S Constitution intends to guarantee the right of free speech and the right to peaceably assemble to redress grievances. The Supreme Court just decided that campaign finance laws that limit contributions to candidates limit free speech. In this case known as McCutcheon v. FEC it might be an example of the justices changing the subject to justify a personal agenda rather than application of a constitutional principle like free speech. Before you decide how you think read below and compare the case known as Truax v. Corrigan (257 U.S. 312).

The case of Truax versus Corrigan resulted from a strike of employees at a restaurant in Bisbee Arizona. Strikers picketed, displayed banners and passed out brochures condemning the restaurant as unfair to unions and encouraging customers to boycott. Revenues dropped 50 percent as a result of union résistance. The restaurant filed for an injunction to end picketing as a cause of irreparable harm to the restaurant. Restaurant attorneys claimed the union could not rely on the recently enacted Arizona law that forbid restraining orders and injunctions in a labor dispute. They claimed the Arizona law violated 14th amendment rights against the taking of property without due process of law and denied them equal protection of the law.

The state court dismissed the case and the Arizona Supreme Court concurred citing the state law. The case moved to the U.S. Supreme Court, where the majority opinion written by Chief Justice William Howard Taft reversed the Arizona courts.

The Taft opinion declared "plaintiff's business is a property right" protected from injury caused by the striker's picketing. Pickets induced willing patrons to leave "by having agents of the union walk forward and back in front of plaintiff's restaurant . . ." and by having agents at the restaurant "during all business hours" to "continuously announce in a loud voice, audible for a great distance, that the restaurant was unfair to the labor union." Willing and would-be patrons were asked "Can you patronize such a place and look the world in the face?" and told "All ye who enter here leave all hope behind" and "Don't be a traitor to humanity."

Justice Taft characterized the picketing as a "campaign" of "unlawful annoyance and a hurtful nuisance in respect of the free access to the plaintiffs' place of business" that "was compelling every customer or would be customer to run the gauntlet of most uncomfortable publicity, aggressive and annoying importunity, libelous attacks, and fear of injurious consequences, illegally inflicted, to his reputation and standing in the community."

After declaring union picketing an unlawful conspiracy, Justice Taft and the majority declared the Arizona law forbidding injunctions in labor disputes to be an unconstitutional "subordination of fundamental principles of right and justice." If "a wrongful and highly injurious invasion of property rights," allowed by the Arizona Supreme Court is "practically sanctioned" by the U.S. Supreme Court, then the owner will be "stripped of all real remedy," which is "wholly at variance" with the principle against taking property without due process of law in the 14th amendment.
Further, the majority declared the Arizona law denied the restaurant owner the 14th amendment guarantee of equal protection of the law. Instead the majority declared the law created class privilege for unions because a violation of property rights from picketing would be subject to injunction under Arizona law, "except when committed by ex-employees of the injured person."

Justice Oliver Holmes wrote a blunt dissent for the court minority who recognized the majority opinion depended entirely from defining business as a "thing" with property rights. "By calling a business 'property' you make it seem like land, and lead up to the conclusion that a statute cannot substantially cut down the advantages of ownership existing before the statute was passed." . . . Business "is a course of conduct and like other conduct is subject to substantial modification according to time and circumstances both in itself and in regard to what shall justify doing it harm." Justice Holmes added "There is nothing that I more deprecate than the use of the Fourteenth Amendment beyond the absolute compulsion of its words to prevent the making of social experiments that an important part of the community desires . . ."

In Truax v. Corrigan the court changed the subject from the right to picket as an expression of free speech and free assembly to a violation of property rights and due process. Pickets that block streets, break windows or destroy property can be arrested, but not as pickets, as criminals committing misdemeanor crimes. Pickets that assemble on public property to protest and redress grievances are engaged in one of the most fundamental rights of democracy, except that William Howard Taft, lawyer, federal judge, president of the United States, Yale University law professor and Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court would not recognize his opinion as a grant of protection and privilege to the well-to-do and the upper class.

In McCutcheon v. FEC the majority of the court changed the subject from bribery to free speech. The majority acknowledges the bribery issue, but defines it away by demanding bribery be a proven transaction with thorough evidence of an exchange of money for political favors, whereas Congress and many others notice how wealthy corporate campaign contributions correlate with political favors.

Picketing is the poor man’s avenue to free speech; inexpensive and equally available to all. When free speech was a disadvantage to the well to do the Supreme Court made it an unconstitutional interference with property rights. Now that limits on campaign contributions are a disadvantage to the well to do the Supreme Court makes these limits an unconstitutional interference with free speech.

Heads I win, tails you lose. Think of that as judicial precedent at the U.S. Supreme Court.

Friday, March 7, 2014

The UAW Election Failure

The United Autoworkers (UAW) lost their February 12, 2014 representation election to establish a UAW local in the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The vote was reported as 626 yes, 712 no. The election was conducted by the National Labor Relations Board, but there was an unusual amount of confusion about statements made by VWGOA management and actions and statements of opposition from politicians and outsiders with no personal stake in the outcome.

Tennessee Senator Bob Corker was quoted in three separate articles in the Washington Post. (1) In the first, he said, "If Volkswagen turns then its BMW, then it's Mercedes, then it's Nissan, hurting the entire South-East if they get the momentum." In the second, he said, "This is all about money. They feel like if they can get under the hood with a company in the south, then they can make progress in other places." In the third, he said "He'd been "assured" that Volkswagen would make a planned new SUV in Chattanooga rather than Mexico if workers voted no."

Others lined up against the UAW and also Volkswagen. State Senator Bo Watson threatened there would be a "very tough time" winning tax incentives for a plant expansion if the vote succeeds even though the original plant received $577 million in tax subsidies. Grover Norquist who runs the Center for Worker Freedom funded opposition billboards and fliers. The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation found eight plant employees to help challenge legal procedure under the National Labor Relations Act. A web site of anti-union materials was set up:

As bad as the outsiders got to be, the UAW had to confront continuing disadvantages from anti-union legacies that remain in spite of U.S. labor law. Furthermore VWGOA did confusing things American companies do not do when confronted with a labor union. Usually when a union tries to organize a local affiliate it requests an election from the NLRB. The company then jumps into action to bully and browbeat their employees to vote no. Because companies get their way so often, unions try to use the alternative "card check" to get a majority to sign cards in support of unionization.

In this case it is reported a majority of the employees signed cards in a union effort to organize the plant over several years. The company could have legally agreed to have the UAW represent its hourly employees, and done so knowing Tennessee is a right to work state that prohibits dues check off or a union shop for those employees who hate unions. Instead they made confusing statements suggesting they wanted to settle the issue of labor relations before they would proceed with a plant expansion. Specifically the quote I found was made by a German official Stephan Wolf "We will only agree to an expansion of the site or any other model contract when it is clear how to proceed with the employees' representatives in the United States."

Some of the Chattanooga workforce apparently interpreted the VW statement as an ultimatum: they had to unionize or expansion would not go forward and so the UAW decided that statement made it a good time to go to Chattanooga and speak again in favor of unionization. The UAW encouraged their thinking as a way to get the workforce to accept the UAW or persuade the workforce they could help them.

The anti-union southern opposition started howling coercion and claimed the UAW wanted to organize VWGOA without a vote. The company then backtracked and released another statement saying labor relations would not influence their decision for plant expansion. The quote I found was made by the head of the Global works council, Bernd Osterloh. He said that expansion of VWGOA’s Chattanooga plant would not hinge on unionization of the plant’s employees. “The decision about a vehicle will always be made along economic and employment policy lines. It has absolutely nothing to do with the whole topic about whether there is a union there or not.”

If a company decides they want to accept union representation with card check and not a vote, they can do it. If the company decides they want a vote, they can ask the NLRB for a vote, but it is the company that asks, not the anti-union politicians and pressure groups. The anti-union groups and politicians found some anti-union employees and helped them file an unfair labor practice claim that the UAW used coercive methods in contradiction to section 8(b) of the National Labor Relations Act, but card check was still up to Volkswagen.

The Election Agreement

When the company decided to have a NLRB election they sat down with the UAW and drafted a 22 page document titled "An Agreement for a Representation Election," hereafter the Election Agreement. In the cover materials on the website, no2uaw, the objectors call the 22 page Election Agreement a sellout. A careful review of the Election Agreement makes this claim hard to brush off. Among other things there are two sections that defines the bargaining unit and a Dual Model. Much of the material in the agreement sounds painfully close to a company union that has a long history from years past.

In the early years of the last century business denounced union organizers as outside agitators, always claiming their employees were happy and contented until the agitators arrived to cause trouble. After World War I it became popular in business to defeat the outsiders by setting up company unions. One of the earliest company union plans was the John D. Rockefeller Jr Employee Representation Plan. Business regarded themselves as progressive because a company union plan allowed company employees to elect representatives to speak, or even complain, to management without being summarily fired, but management did not give up any decision making authority over their employees. They maintained the options of an open shop.

In the early part of the great depression Congress passed the National Industrial Recovery Act that included Section 7: employees shall have the right to organize and bargain collectively through representatives of their own choosing. Companies claimed their company unions fulfilled the requirements of the new law, but the Unions disagreed and when the National Labor Relations Act, aka the Wagner Act, was passed in 1935, it included wording to define a labor organization and ban the company union.

That was Section 2(5): The term "labor organization" means any organization of any kind, or any agency or employee representation committee or plan, in which employees participate and which exists for the purpose, in whole or in part, of dealing with employers concerning grievances, labor disputes, wages, rates of pay, hours of employment, or conditions of work.

Then Section 8(a)(2): It shall be an unfair labor practice for an employer to dominate or interfere with the formation or administration of any labor organization or contribute financial or other support to it.

In the first paragraph of the Agreement, both the Volkswagen Group of America (VWGOA) and the UAW acknowledge they are proposing something not proposed before. They call it a Question Concerning Representation(QCR), which they agree to address in the Election Agreement with an expedited representation election and by establishing “certain shared principles that the UAW and VWGOA agree shall form the basis for their conduct, activities and relationship between the date of this Election Agreement and such NLRB-conducted representation election, and their future relationship and understandings. . .”

The next section of the Agreement has stipulations in whereas clauses to be incorporated as principles to the Agreement. Here the UAW agreed to establish an employee works council with VWGOA principles and participation. The discussion reads like the UAW is giving up union functions to the VWGOA works council where it reads “the UAW acknowledges, supports and shares VWGOA's commitment to the development of an innovative model of Labor relations . . . in which a lawfully recognized or certified bargaining representative would delegate functions and responsibilities ordinarily belonging to a union . . .”

Then there is “the UAW would delegate to the Works Council many of the functions and responsibilities ordinarily performed by unions as bargaining representative in the United States that it shall support the Dual Model as the basis for a relationship with VWGOA and that it is committed to the delegation to the Works Council of certain duties, responsibilities and functions that are traditionally the subject of collective bargaining . . .”

The Dual Model mentioned above appears as an appendix at the end of the Election Agreement. It uses similar language to delegate authority and responsibilities to the works council, which would be used later to negotiate a collective bargaining agreement.

Explaining the Vote

Explaining the vote requires some conjecture primarily because the use and abuse of United States labor law assures some uncertainty. If VWGOA wanted to form works councils that establishes a grievance procedure or other union functions listed in Section 2(5), they could be subject to unfair labor practice charges of dominating or interfering with the administration or formation of a union under section 8(a)(2).

The UAW or other international union might file an unfair labor practice to end the works councils. The employees themselves could decide to organize their own Independent Labor Union(ILU) at the VW Chattanooga plant and they could file an unfair labor practice complaint with the National Labor Relations Board that the works council was in effect a company union. However, a National Labor Relations Board ruling against VWGOA would only bring a cease and desist order under unfair labor practice rules.

The VWGOA decision to sit down with the UAW and make an Election Agreement to organize a local at the Chattanooga plant suggest they wanted to use the works council badly enough to attempt to avoid potential unfair labor practice claims, but did not want work councils badly enough to give up the authority to set up and operate their works councils the way they do in Germany. To use the vernacular, they wanted to have their cake and eat it too.

Based on the written terms of the Election Agreement, the VWGOA agreed to conditions for a free election that avoided adversial attacks on the UAW and unions. Wording included “The parties and their representatives will communicate with employees in a non adversarial, positive manner and will not defame or make any untruthful statements regarding one another or their respective employees and representatives . . . VWGOA shall not take a position opposed to such representation. . . .”

Between 1935 to 1947 it was an unfair labor practice for employers to speak to or contact employees. That changed with the Taft-Hartley Amendments of 1947. New wording now referred to as the management free speech amendments provide many options for employers to speak against a union. Section 8(c) allows that expressing of any views, arguments, or opinions, or the dissemination thereof, whether in written, printed, graphic, or visual form, shall not constitute or be evidence of an unfair labor practice under any of the provisions of this Act, if such expression contains no threat of reprisal or force or promise of benefit.

The whole of the Election Agreement suggests the UAW negotiated the opportunity to have an election without management interference in exchange for delegating customary union perogatives to management. In the years since 1947 there has been no change in what constitutes a labor organization or a company union that would allow the UAW and VWGOA to agree for the UAW to delegate union functions to management. In effect, VWGOA agreed to give up what is not an unfair labor practice to get the UAW to agree to do what is an unfair labor practice. The Election Agreement puts both parties in a labor law netherworld.

VWGOA apparently honored its commitment but before the election there were outside threats from Tennessee politicians to eliminate tax advantages for VWGOA and fromTennessee Senator Corker that VWGOA would move work to Mexico if the union won the election. Even though these claims were not supported by VW, they probably influenced votes in the election.

I confess a hard time believing the employees at VWGOA do not know their own best interests. Based on the Election Agreement it appears quite rational for an employee to weigh the expense of union dues and other implied threats against potential gains from the UAW Election Agreement, and then vote no.

How much southern politicians and union haters everywhere influenced the election cannot be known, but union elections have too many abuses to believe the votes reflect the true sentiments of employees at VWGOA in Chattanooga, or anywhere else. Companies routinely demand their employees attend anti union meetings on company time and listen to threats of layoffs, wage cuts, outsourcing and plant closings. They go beyond what is allowed in the section 8(c) knowing unfair labor practice filings have few sanctions even when they lose, which they quite often do. Companies can fire employees for union organizing knowing they will lose unfair practice decisions, but sanctions will be mitigated back wages after years of delay so they go ahead anyway.

New Ideas

Remember that in spite of all the anti union talk heaped on the UAW and employees, 626 voted yes, and they were southerners no less. It does suggest a significant number in Chattanooga and around the country might welcome some help to organize a collective defense against the current onslaught against labor.

The result suggests organized labor needs a new Modus Operandi. It might be time to question spending rank and file dues on politicians and political campaigns. Woodrow Wilson, Bill Clinton and Barak Obama were Democrats elected as the friends of labor, but their friendliness has never relieved labor’s fundamental political and legal disadvantages, then or now.

The National Labor Relations Act is not friendly to labor because it is not intended to help labor so much as it is designed, amended and interpreted to prevent strikes, boycotts and disruptions. The disadvantages of organizing under it have become so severe it is close to impossible to organize a plant over the determined opposition of business and now the active opposition of anti union politicians.

Without help from the law or politics labor has to look for some economic leverage, which is also difficult in surplus labor markets in an economy managed to have surplus labor and excess capacity. Unions might want to lower dues and promote soldiarity and job actions across many labor markets. Autoworkers have more in common with nurses, engineers and fast food cooks than they apparently realize and so do you if you work for wages.

After the latest attack on labor an excerpt of the declaration of principles from the short lived Socialist Trade and Labor Alliance of 1902 sounds relevant.

"The methods and spirits of labor organization are absolutely impotent to resist the absolute aggressions of concentrated capital . . . ; that the economic power of the capitalist class . . . rests upon institutions, essentially political, which . . . cannot be radically changed . . . except through the direct action of the people themselves, economically and politically united as a class."

And so on.

[1] "In Tennessee, the UAW finds an unusual ally", WP February 11, 2014, "Union Vote at VW plant is seen as bellwether," WP, February 14, 2014, "Volkswagen workers reject UAW in Tenn.; Union looks for Plan B to enter South," WP, February 15, 2014.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Inflation and $10.10 Minimum Wage

President Obama has proposed an increase in the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour that might be considered and passed by Congress, or might not. The last increase in the minimum wage was July 24, 2009 when it went up to $7.25 an hour. Even though inflation rates are low a wage fixed for almost 5 years loses buying power over time.

How much buying power changes depends on the comparison years. For example the minimum wage in 2000 was $5.15 an hour, but now it is $7.25 an hour. To have the buying power of the 2000 minimum wage in 2013, the 2013 minimum wage would need to be $6.97. Instead it is $7.25, a 3.9 percent increase in the buying power of the minimum wage from 2000 to 2013. Buying power adjustments to value are made with the all city Consumer Price Index published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

However, the minimum wage has a history of remaining fixed for long periods. One period was 1981 to until 1989 when the minimum wage was fixed at $3.35 an hour. Another was the late 1990’s until 2007 when the minimum wage was fixed at $5.15 an hour. It was these long periods where the buying power declined the most. For example, to have the buying power of the 1980 minimum wage the 2013 minimum wage would need to be $8.76 an hour. Instead it is $7.25 an hour, a 21 percent decrease in the value of the minimum wage from 1980 to 2013.

To have the buying power of the 1960 minimum wage the 2013 minimum wage would need to be $9.84 an hour. Instead it is $7.25, a 35.7 percent decrease in the buying power of the minimum wage from 1960 to 2013.

Between 1960 and 1990 the minimum wage lost 64 percent of its buying power. Inflation in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s ran as high as 11 percent a year and low wage jobs lost significant value during these years. Between 1990 and 2013 the minimum wage has recovered 17.6 percent of its lost value. For those who took minimum wage jobs after 1990 their buying power has increased slightly although almost all of the recovered value has came after 2007. Unfortunately, the value of the minimum wage remains far below what it was in the 1960’s and 1970’s.


The minimum wage would be more effective to protect low wage buying power if it was indexed to the Consumer Price Index at the end of each year. A comparison of President Obama’s proposed new minimum wage of $10.10 an hour and $7.25 an hour with an annual cost of living adjustment illustrates the benefit.

For someone earning the minimum wage working full time from 2010 through 2014, their annual income would be $15,080. [$7.25 x 2080] At a minimum wage of $10.10 an hour they would earn $21,008. The additional income over the old minimum totals $5,928, if the cost of living adjustment comes at the end of this year for the 2015 year.

For someone earning $7.25 an hour adjusted for the published inflation rate applied at the end of the year and a forecast two percent inflation rate through 2014, their wage at the beginning of 2015 would be $8.19 an hour. But here is the surprise: the extra income including the raise they would get for 2015, even at the low $8.19 an hour, comes to $6,704.00 or $776.00 more than the Obama plan. The result assumes any new minimum wage would apply at the beginning of 2015.

In general the longer the Congress delays a cost of living adjustment for the minimum wage and the higher the rate of inflation, the more benefit from indexing. But that is the purpose of indexing: prevent delays and take advantage of compounding.

The politics of the minimum wage confounds the best hopes for a significant increase in the minimum wage. Even a $10.10 an hour minimum draws complaints and opposition. Business and the Republicans always oppose an increase since it adds costs but not profits. Economists use their most sinister tones to forecast a decline in employment, as if those who lose their low wage job will never work again. Democrats take a more accommodating tone, but have not protected the value of the minimum wage. If President Obama wants to discuss a living wage indexed to inflation it will be something new after years of the status quo on wages. I am not holding my breath!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Unwinding

George Packer, The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America, (NY: Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 2013), 430 pages, $27.00

Some believe Americans live in a new age of decline. In The Unwinding author George Packer invites readers to test their views on decline while reading 430 pages of journalistic narrative on a selection of Americans and their activities from the last twenty-five years.

The book does not have chapters, but conveys the passage of time with one page reprints of media headlines and quotations from selected years: 1978, 1984, 1987, 1994, 1999, 2003, 2008, 2010, 2012. In between there are sections with extensive interview material from the lives of three people, Dean, Jeff and Tammy, and background material and interviews of people connected to three places, Silicon Valley, Tampa, Florida and Wall Street. Interspersed among these sections are somewhat shorter reviews of ten people with varied claims to celebrity status: Newt Gingrich, Oprah Winfrey, Raymond Carver, Sam Walton, Colin Powell, Alice Waters, Robert Rubin, Jay-Z, Andrew Breitbart, and Elizabeth Warren.

Almost half the book, 201 pages, narrates the interviews and biographical material of Dean, Jeff and Tammy. Dean grew up north of Greensboro, North Carolina on a family owned tobacco farm actually farmed by his grandfather. After finishing high school in 1981 he worked at RJ Reynolds Tobacco, but then returned to college. After college he spent eight years in Pennsylvania selling Johnson and Johnson products, but was too restless to continue. He returned to North Carolina to begin a career as an entrepreneur, opening a store he called Red Birch Country Market in 1997 and later a bio-diesel processing facility.

Jeff grew up in Huntsville Alabama the son of a chemical engineer. As a student at the University of Alabama he started the Alabama Political Union and invited Senator Joe Biden to debate SALT II with Senator Jake Garn. He finished college, got an MBA, worked for Smith Barney and E.F. Hutton, but he was so impressed with Biden he was always ready to work in a Biden for president campaign, which he did starting in 1986.

Tammy grew up on the east side of Youngstown, Ohio. She lived with her great grandmother, who supported her and her mother cleaning houses. She got pregnant at 15, was on welfare, worked as a cashier, had two more children, got an AA degree, and finally left welfare for a manufacturing job in 1988.

Their continuing tales of hard work and effort in the 1990’s and up to the present become the symbols for the unwinding of small entrepreneurial opportunities in the story of Dean, for a career in politics for Jeff, and for supporting yourself and a family in manufacturing for Tammy. No happy endings here.

I would call the material for Dean, Jeff and Tammy subtle compared to the material for Silicon Valley, Tampa, and Wall Street. These sections offer a blunter picture of ethical choices, or failures as you can decide. Silicon Valley material primarily follows the career and attitudes of Peter Thiel, best known for his part in developing PayPal and financing the expansion of Facebook.

In the narrative sections on Tampa we read about local homeowners victimized by the rogues and scoundrels who brought America the collateralized debt security and millions of home mortgage foreclosures. The section on Wall Street briefly develops the Wall Street contribution to the 2008 recession, but most of the material here covers the Occupy Wall Street movement, its organizers, their efforts, hopes and failures.

The ten celebrity profiles vary widely, but not as much from varied achievements as from varied degrees of arrogance and personal ambition run wild. Among the profiles I believe Packer picked the best symbol of an America unwinding: Newt Gingrich. In the early 1990’s Gingrich unified the angry and disaffected into a GOP voting block perfecting empty statements like “Corrupt liberal bosses cheat, lie, and steal to impose their sick pathetic cynicism and bizarre radical stagnation in order to destroy America.” Others among the celebrity ten let ambition cloud their personal and ethical judgment but none in the group quite so much as Gingrich.

The author avoids making personal judgments or drawing conclusions for the reader. He chose the people and places to make his argument, but leaves it up to the reader to agree or disagree. The book is long but the sections remain separate from each other and can be read as individual pieces. There is historical material mentioned in a few places like a discussion of the steel industry in Youngstown, but the narrative relies almost entirely on interviews and recently published secondary material. There is a short bibliography and notes on sources but not text citations.

I marked a couple of places that jumped out for me. In the commentary about Dean there was mention of white people living in small, obscure places and getting poorer and poorer who vote for the party that wants to deregulate Wall Street and zero out taxes on capital gains. I always want to believe voters are smart enough to vote for their best interests, but I can’t think of a thing the GOP is offering the working poor.

Toward the end of the book Packer quotes from commentary by Peter Thiel made after the lucrative sale of PayPal. He is quoted on page 388 as refusing to submit to “the ideology of the inevitability of the death of every individual.” With the current state of medical research he expects to live to 120, but 150 is becoming thinkable and research might extend to infinity and beyond.

Sometimes I hear comments from the rich and well placed that suggest they think of themselves as too important to die, but I do not recall any quite as blunt as Mr. Thiel. While I remain unsure that America’s current troubles mean decline, the Unwinding gives many reasons to distrust the rich, but that is a recurring American theme and not an Unwinding.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Toll Lane Finance

Some cities and states are experimenting with tolls lanes on congested commuter highways to cut commute times. The new lanes are called HOT lanes, which stands for High Occupancy Toll. Highway officials argue the new policy gives a choice to crawl along in traffic or get in the fast lane.

State Department of Transportation officials around the country tell reporters they see toll lanes as a crucial way to generate revenue in an era of tight budgets. But they have not generated the revenue they expected even though they like the idea of managing traffic by adjusting prices. However, the economics of Hot Lanes guarantees the desire to raise revenue works against their ability to ease traffic congestion.

The Wall Street Journal reports 21 HOT lanes open around the country. [“Life in the Fast Lane, at a Cost”, WSJ, Nov 29, 2013] Road planners require a transponder mounted in commuter’s cars that allow charging a toll that can be varied depending on traffic, but admit tolls as high as $.90 a mile in the Atlanta HOT lanes have kept revenue and use down. Some who object to the charges call HOT lanes “Lexus Lanes” useful to the well-to-do who can afford high tolls.

It is important to remember the only reason to pay for a trip in a HOT lane is to save time. If the fees go down that does encourage more use of the lanes, but it also means the HOT lanes will be more congested and potentially raise trip times. It also suggests the free lanes will be less congested and lower trip times for the free users.

In Virginia along I-95, officials have promoted car pooling by reserving 2 lanes as HOV lanes of three or more people while leaving 3 lanes open to all traffic. To show how well the 14 mile car pool lanes work they released a compilation of information of several recent years about respective travel times from 6:30 AM to 9:30 AM.

The two HOV-3 lanes carried an average 31,700 people in 8,600 cars at an average time of 29 minutes. The three open lanes carried 23,500 people in 21,300 cars at an average time of 64 minutes. The HOV-3 lanes allowed a savings of 35 minutes with an average of 4,300 cars per lane, but the unrestricted lanes were badly congested with 7,100 cars per lane.

The system of car pool lanes has operated for many years without tolls, which officials say they want to keep, but in addition to allow single or two occupancy cars to switch into the HOV3 lanes by paying a toll. Officials in Virginia are suggesting a toll of $5 to $7 dollars is needed for the 14 mile trip on I-95, but the higher the fee the fewer the riders and the less the revenue.

Lower fees will not raise revenue unless the percentage increase in riders is greater than the percentage decrease in the tolls. However, the bigger the increase of riders they get to switch the more quickly the fast lanes will get congested and raise travel times in the HOT lanes and defeat the program.

Everything about the proposals so far indicates fees will have to be high to keep travel times down. High tolls mean HOT lanes work primarily for the well-to-do that do not, or cannot, carpool or worry about travel expenses. In the mean time road planners will have to decide whether they want to allocate scare travel space to the highest bidder or raise revenue for road budgets. They can’t do both.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Jobs with Animals

For those with an interest in animals who would like to pursue a career working with animals it is worth knowing the Standard Occupational Classification has ten occupations doing various things with, or for, animals. In 2012 there were 437.9 thousand jobs in these occupations.

The ten Standard Occupational Classifications with their 2012 employment, average annual change in employment since 2000.and SOC definition are below.

#19-1011 Animal Scientist– 2,120, 45/yr
Conduct research in the genetics, nutrition, reproduction, growth, and development of domestic farm animals. Also known as dairy scientist, poultry scientist. Animal scientists work for better, lower cost ways to produce meat, poultry, eggs and milk.

A few animal scientists work in private industry especially food processing, but most work at state universities and state funded agricultural experiment stations doing food related research. A doctorate in biology, chemistry or relevant engineering is necessary for independent research although a BA degree in an agricultural science field qualifies to assist in research.

The entry wage for the national market in the 10th percentile for animal scientist is reported as $34,550 in 2012. The 25th percentile wage equals $43,940. The median wage is $61,680, the 75th percentile wage equals $91,160, and the 90th percentile wage is $129,440.

The wages of animal scientists have kept up with inflation for the last decade. For example, to have the buying power of the 2006 median wage of $47,800 in 2012, the animal scientist wage would need to be $54,437.53. In stead it was $61,680, a 13.3 percent increase in the real wage for those six years.

#19-1023 Zoologists and Wildlife Biologists– 18,650, 578/yr
Study the origins, behavior, diseases, genetics, and life processes of animals and wildlife. May specialize in wildlife research and management, including the collection and analysis of biological data to determine the environmental effects of present and potential use of land and water areas. Also known by specialty as Ornithologist, Mammalogists, Herpetologist, Ichthyologists

Government employs nearly two thirds of zoologists and wildlife biologists. A few percent work in education as teachers and few more work in the private sector as consultants. A B.A. degree is a minimum requirement, but a PhD is necessary to lead independent research.

The entry wage for the national market in the 10th percentile for Zoologists and Wildlife Biologists is reported as $37,100 in 2012. The 25th percentile wage equals $45,790. The median wage is $57,710, the 75th percentile wage equals $73,010, and the 90th percentile wage is $95,430.

The wages of Zoologists and Wildlife Biologists have not kept up with inflation for the last decade. For example, to have the buying power of the 2006 median wage of $53,300 in 2012, the Zoologists and Wildlife Biologists wage would need to be $60,701.15. Instead it was $57,710, a -4.93 percent increase in the real wage for those six years.

#29-1131 Veterinarian– 56,020, 1,313/yr
Diagnose and treat diseases and dysfunctions of animals. May engage in a particular function, such as research and development, consultation, administration, technical writing, sale or production of commercial products, or rendering of technical services to commercial firms or other organizations. Include veterinarians who inspect livestock. Also known as Animal Pathologist, Animal Surgeon, Veterinary Bacteriologist, Veterinary Inspector

A Veterinarian requires four years of college and then a veterinarian degree from one of Americans 29 vet schools, which are primarily at state universities. Almost all work in veterinary services either as a salaried employee or self employed. A small percent work teaching and a small percent in research.

The entry wage for the national market in the 10th percentile for Veterinarian is reported as $51,530 in 2012. The 25th percentile wage equals $67,040. The median wage is $84,460, the 75th percentile wage equals $108,640, and the 90th percentile wage is $144,100.

The wages of Veterinarian have kept up with inflation for the last decade. For example, to have the buying power of the 2006 median wage of $71,990 in 2012, the Veterinarian wage would need to be $81,986.41. In stead it was $84,460, a 3.02 percent increase in the real wage for those six years.

#29-2056 Veterinary Technologists and Technicians– 83,350, 2,748/yr
Perform medical tests in a laboratory environment for use in the treatment and diagnosis of diseases in animals. Prepare vaccines and serums for prevention of diseases. Prepare tissue samples, take blood samples, and execute laboratory tests, such as urinalysis and blood counts. Clean and sterilize instruments and materials and maintain equipment and machines. Also known as Animal Technician; Veterinary X-ray Operator

A Veterinary Technologist or Technician has the same types of duties in a veterinary practice that a registered nurse has in the health care field. To qualify an AA or BA degree in animal health technology or veterinary technician assistant is necessary. Virtually all of them work in veterinary services because they assist veterinarians.

The entry wage for the national market in the 10th percentile for Veterinary Technologists and Technicians is reported as $21,030 in 2012. The 25th percentile wage equals $25,150. The median wage is $30,290, the 75th percentile wage equals $36,580, and the 90th percentile wage is $44,030.

The wages of Veterinary Technologists and Technicians have not kept up with inflation for the last decade. For example, to have the buying power of the 2006 median wage of $26,780 in 2012, the Veterinary Technologists and Technicians wage would need to be $30,498.63. In stead it was $30,290, a -.68 percent increase in the real wage for those six years.

#31-9096 Veterinary Assistants & Laboratory Animal Caretakers– 71,500, 1,358/yr
Feed, water, and examine pets and other non-farm animals for signs of illness, disease, or injury in laboratories and animal hospitals and clinics. Clean and disinfect cages and work areas, and sterilize laboratory and surgical equipment. May provide routine post-operative care, administer medication orally or topically, or prepare samples for laboratory examination under the supervision of veterinary or laboratory animal technologists or technicians, veterinarians, or scientists.

Veterinary assistants work for veterinary technologists or veterinarians either in their vet practices or helping to care for animals that are part of veterinary research Training is usually on the job training.

The entry wage for the national market in the 10th percentile for Veterinary Assistants and Laboratory Animal Caretakers is reported as $17,150 in 2012. The 25th percentile wage equals $19,220. The median wage is $23,130, the 75th percentile wage equals $28,840, and the 90th percentile wage is $35,510.

The wages of Veterinary Assistants and Laboratory Animal Caretakers have kept up with inflation for the last decade. For example, to have the buying power of the 2006 median wage of $19,960 in 2012, the Veterinary Assistants and Laboratory Animal Caretakers wage would need to be $22,731.61. In stead it was $23,130, a 1.75 percent increase in the real wage for those six years.

#33-9011 Animal Control Workers – 13,890, 486/yr
Handle animals for the purpose of investigations of mistreatment, or control of abandoned, dangerous, or unattended animals. Also known as Animal Warden; Dog Catcher; Humane Officer

Almost 90 percent of Animal Control Workers work for a municipal government. The rest work for civic associations like humane societies. There are no educational requirements beyond high school. Training is mostly on the job training.

The entry wage for the national market in the 10th percentile for Animal Control Workers is reported as $19,730 in 2012. The 25th percentile wage equals $25,090. The median wage is $31,680, the 75th percentile wage equals $39,920, and the 90th percentile wage is $50,730.

The wages of Animal Control Workers have not kept up with inflation for the last decade. For example, to have the buying power of the 2006 median wage of $27,910 in 2012, the Animal Control Workers wage would need to be $31,785.54. In stead it was $31,680, a -.33 percent increase in the real wage for those six years.

#39-2011 Animal Trainers - 11,170, 398/yr
Train animals for riding, harness, security, performance, or obedience, or assisting persons with disabilities. Accustom animals to human voice and contact; condition animals to respond to commands. Train animals according to prescribed standards for show or competition. May train animals to carry pack loads or work as part of a pack team. Also known as Dog Trainer; Horse Breaker; Lion Trainer

More than half of animal trainers are self-employed and most train dogs or horses. Agriculture, forestry and hunting also employ another 25 to 30 percent. Nine to ten percent train animals as paid employees of pet services companies or retail pet stores. Zoos, nature parks, historical sites, spectator sports employ another 5 percent. A high school education is adequate as formal education and the rest is on the job training from someone more experienced.

The entry wage for the national market in the 10th percentile for Animal Trainers is reported as $17,580 in 2012. The 25th percentile wage equals $19,860. The median wage is $25,270, the 75th percentile wage equals $36,560, and the 90th percentile wage is $49,840.

The wages of Animal Trainers have not kept up with inflation for the last decade. For example, to have the buying power of the 2006 median wage of $26,310 in 2012, the Animal Trainers wage would need to be $29,963.37. In stead it was $25,270, a -15.66 percent increase in the real wage for those six years.

#39-2021 Non-farm Animal Caretakers -- 150,140, 5,275/yr
Feed, water, groom, bathe, exercise, or otherwise care for pets and other nonfarm animals, such as dogs, cats, ornamental fish or birds, zoo animals, and mice. Work in settings such as kennels, animal shelters, zoos, circuses, and aquariums. May keep records of feedings, treatments, and animals received or discharged. May clean, disinfect, and repair cages, pens, or fish tanks. Also known as Dog Walker, Dog Groomer, Kennel Worker; Stable Attendant

The entry wage for the national market in the 10th percentile for Non-farm Animal Caretakers is reported as $16,490 in 2012. The 25th percentile wage equals $17,790. The median wage is $19,690, the 75th percentile wage equals $24,590, and the 90th percentile wage is $32,500.

The wages of Non-farm Animal Caretakers have not kept up with inflation for the last decade. For example, to have the buying power of the 2006 median wage of $18,140 in 2012, the Non-farm Animal Caretakers wage would need to be $20,658.89. In stead it was $19,690, a -4.69 percent increase in the real wage for those six years.

#45-2021 Animal Breeders– 1,460, -18/yr
Breed animals such as cattle, goats, horses, sheep, swine, poultry, dogs, cats, or pet birds. Select and breed animals according to their genealogy, characteristics, and offspring. May require knowledge of artificial insemination techniques and equipment use. May involve keeping records on heats, birth intervals, or pedigree. Also known as Artificial Inseminator; Chicken Fancier; Horse Breeder

Animal breeders are mostly self employed but many do work as salaried employees in agriculture. Less than one percent work in other industries. A high school education and prior experience with animals is enough training in many situations but more animal breeders use the science of genetics and statistics to evaluate breeding rates for good growth, meat, milk and egg production rates.

The entry wage for the national market in the 10th percentile for Animal Breeders is reported as $18,110 in 2012. The 25th percentile wage equals $24,650. The median wage is $34,250, the 75th percentile wage equals $49,460, and the 90th percentile wage is $59,340.

The wages of Animal Breeders have kept up with inflation for the last decade. For example, to have the buying power of the 2006 median wage of $27,090 in 2012, the Animal Breeders wage would need to be $30,851.67. In stead it was $34,250, an 11.02 percent increase in the real wage for those six years.

#45-2093 Farm workers– 29,570, -558/yr
Attend to live farm, ranch, or aqua-cultural animals that may include cattle, sheep, swine, goats, horses and other equines, poultry, finfish, shellfish, and bees. Attend to animals produced for animal products, such as meat, fur, skins, feathers, eggs, milk, and honey. Duties may include feeding, watering, herding, grazing, castrating, branding, de-beaking, weighing, catching, and loading animals. May maintain records on animals; examine animals to detect diseases and injuries; assist in birth deliveries; and administer medications, vaccinations, or insecticides as appropriate. May clean and maintain animal housing areas. Include workers who shear wool from sheep, and collect eggs in hatcheries. Also known as Horse Groomer; Beekeeper; Livestock Feeder

The entry wage for the national market in the 10th percentile for Farm workers is reported as $16,690 in 2012. The 25th percentile wage equals $18,430. The median wage is $22,060, the 75th percentile wage equals $28,210, and the 90th percentile wage is $35,790.

The wages of farm workers have kept up with inflation for the last decade. For example, to have the buying power of the 2006 median wage of $19,060 in 2012, the Farm workers wage would need to be $21,706.64. In stead it was $22,060, a 1.63 percent increase in the real wage for those six years.


Non-farm animal care taker has 34 percent of the 437.9 thousand jobs in the ten occupations. It also has the most new jobs over the last decade, but unfortunately the lowest median wage, which has not kept up with inflation since 2006. Only three of the ten occupations have a median wage over $50,000 – animal scientist, zoologist and wildlife biologist, veterinarian – and three more have median wages in the $30,000’s -- Veterinary Technologists and Technicians, Animal Control Workers, Animal Breeders can be considered career employment. Three have median wages in the $20,000’s – Veterinary Assistants & Laboratory Animal Caretakers, animal trainer, farm worker. Non-farm Animal Caretakers – has a median salary below $19,690.