The delta variant of COVID-19 continues to leave its mark on the economy with another disappointing jobs report. Earlier in the summer, job creation rose dramatically, only to sink again as coronavirus cases spiked. Again. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the economy added just 194,000 jobs in September, and labor force participation dropped slightly—yet another piece of evidence that increased unemployment benefits were not keeping people from looking for work.
As usual, the Economic Policy Institute’s Elise Gould tweeted essential insights into the jobs report, including that “[t]he bounce back in local government education was weaker than expected for schools reopening in September and seasonally adjusted K-12 employment fell by 144,000,” Black unemployment dropped slightly but remains nearly twice as high as white unemployment, and the leisure and hospitality industry had weak growth at 74,000 jobs added.
It’s more evident than ever that ending the pandemic is the key to a stronger economy.
● A Black former Tesla worker was awarded $137 million for racist abuse on the job. How racist does it have to be to lead to a $137 million judgment, you ask? Suuuuper racist:
“You hear, ‘Hey, boy, come here,’ ‘N-i-g-g-e-r,’ you know, all this,” said Mr. Diaz, who is African American. Then, a few hours into his shift running the elevators, he noticed a drawing on a bale of cardboard. It had an oversize mouth, big eyes, and a bone stuck in the patch of hair scribbled over a long face, with “Booo” written underneath.
On that winter night in the factory, when, he said, a supervisor admitted drawing the figure as a joke, Mr. Diaz had had enough. He typed a complaint to a Tesla manager on his phone. “Racist effigy & drawing” was the subject.
He’s not the only one with a case against Tesla.
● Bank of America is raising its minimum wage to $21 an hour. The bank, which has 174,000 workers in the U.S., started raising its minimum pay in 2015 with a move to $15 an hour, and has obviously continued.
● IATSE’s massive strike authorization vote seems to have shaken loose serious enough negotiating from the big money people that a strike hasn’t happened yet. But let’s not forget what those entertainment workers are talking about:
I worked on a production for Netflix where I did 106 hours and seven days. Working that many hours…they got so much money that they don’t care about the penalties, it feels like. The union will charge them for infringing on our turnaround time. You know, if I get off at midnight I shouldn’t be called back to work until 10 a.m. But if they say, “No, you have to be there at nine,” then that’s called a forced call, meaning that I wasn’t given my full amount of time off. And they’re supposed to be penalized by the union, which means they’re charged a fee for the forced call. The problem is that the companies have so much money. Netflix, they’re fine with it. They’ll pay whatever the fee is and they don’t care. And so that’s why our union is pushing for harsher rules around getting enough time off for people so that they’re not totally drained and worn out.