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Research Roundup: Nine Years of Job Growth Wiped Out, Millions of Workers to Benefit from Minimum Wage Increase, and Much More
PSN on July 16, 2009 - 10:56am
Nine years of job growth wiped out - Employment numbers reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that the last year and a half has seen 6.5 million jobs lost -- meaning the country is now 838,000 jobs below the number in February 2001, according to the Economic Policy Institute. This comes on top of collapsing wage growth, expanding part-time work, and drops in aggregate weekly hours worked.
States and the Stimulus: Are they using it to create jobs and 21st century transportation? - This Smart Growth America evaluates how different states have used stimulus funds during its first 120 days, finding some have used the funds to save energy through road and bridge repairs and making longer-term investments in public transportation, while others have just added new roads while ignoring better options.
Millions of workers will benefit from minimum wage increase - This resource page by the Economic Policy Institute highlights their research showing that the federal minimum wage increase going into effect on July 24th will generate an additional $5.5 billion in consumer spending over the next 12 months. However, because so many states already have higher state minimum wage rates, the effective average minimum wage around the country will rise from $7.46 to $7.71 around the country.
Hunger Doesn’t Take a Vacation: Summer Nutrition Status Report - This Food Research and Action Center report report finds that summer food programs not only help to prevent hunger, but combat childhood obesity and summer learning loss. The report details participation rates in each state and policies to improve participation.
Costly and Dangerous Treatments Weigh Down Health Care - Inefficiencies and waste account for up to $700 billion of health care spending annually -- potentially one-third of all treatments -- according to this report by the Center for American Progress. Fixing this problem means better research on the most cost-effective treatment, changing compensation systems for providers to discourage unnecessary procures, and more health information technology deployed.
Credit crisis and desperate borrowers:
- Desperate Homeowners: Loan Mod Scammers Step in When Loan Servicers Refuse to Provide Relief - This report by National Consumer Law Center find that homeowners are being duped by for-profit loan modification services promising to help them change the terms of their mortgage loans. The report proposes policies for states to protect homeowners, including extending coverage of older laws that address foreclosure rescue scams.
- Phantom Demand: Short-term due date generates need for repeat payday loans, accounting for 76% of total volume - This Center for Responsible Lending report shows that payday loans don't end up addressing short-term credit needs, but end up leading to long-term debt as borrowers sign-up to repeatedly renew loans at astronomical interest rates, driving them further into long-term personal financial crisis.