Morning Ed: Labor {2017.11.08.W}


Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

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71 Responses

  1. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    La1: Fair-minded employers be warned. If you treat your employees well by paying decent wages, the bank will make sure you learn your lesson.Report

    • Avatar Kazzy says:

      What I don’t understand (and I’m admittedly not well-versed in the lingo) is whether this means they anticipate Chipotle losing money… or just making less money then previously predicted.

      Can anyone explain what they’re actually saying?Report

      • Avatar Maribou says:

        @kazzy It’s not very clearly written, at all, so it’s not really on you – but I think they’re actually predicting how Chipotle’s stock will do, so it doesn’t even have to do with the profit of the company per se. They are predicting the stock prices will “underperform”.

        So meta.

        I sort of hate stock analysis for this reason.Report

      • Avatar Marchmaine says:

        BofA is reducing their 2017 predictions of Earnings Per Share (EPS) from $7.6 to $7.4 (and from $10.5 to $9.50 in 2018). Once upon a time they were around $15.

        From investopedia

        Earnings typically refer to after-tax net income. Earnings are the main determinant of share price, because earnings and the circumstances relating to them can indicate whether the business will be profitable and successful in the long run.

        We also know that there are ~28M shares outstanding

        So BoA is predicting $208M Net Income in 2017 vs. $214M Net Income they anticipated. The article cites labor costs above 27% as one reason why Chipotle will have a hard time making up the missing Net. Old fashioned as I am, I’ve always used 30% labor… but these fancy Wall St. Billion$ businesses are squeezing every percent for maximal gains… and Labor costs are one of those things that can be compared within segments pretty closely… so apparently even 27% is a bit much.

        Of course the real issue is that Net Income went from $475M in 2015, to $22M in 2016, to the projected $208M in 2017, and a hoped for $280M in 2018.

        Recall that in 2016 Chipotle was Bacterially challenged and it is reflected heavily in the earnings. So, one way to look at Chipotle is that its coming back, and another way to look at it is that it’s going to take 2-3 more years (at their current rate) to come back to where they were in 2016.

        The Labor cost part of the story?… don’t really see it really… it was just one thing cited by BoA; but then, that’s what BoA analysts do, they cite things; Seems a much bigger issue that people not shit themselves after eating there for a couple of years… then the numbers will be fine. But then, I’m not paid to point this out to you, so invest accordingly.Report

        • Avatar PD Shaw says:

          “. . . so apparently even 27% is a bit much.”

          While they are saying it’s high, they are also saying “further gains from trimming hours will prove difficult.” I think the sequence is 1) massive loss from sanitation scandal; 2) retrenchment through trimming labor and introducing new products; 3) new products (chorizo and queso) are not attracting new traffic; 4) labor costs cannot be trimmed anymore, probably without alienating customers or risking need for overtime; and 5) the company appears to be adrift in a competitive sector with other fast-casual Mexican restaurants, there are other investment opportunities out there.Report

    • Avatar Dark Matter says:

      My read on it is productivity is out of wack with pay. I don’t think they actually mention how much the employees are being paid.Report

  2. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    La2: Top talent might have some personality issues that make them hard to work with. In group work places, being able to get along with others is a requirement.

    La3: Until scientists develop robots that feel like humans to the touch and can emote like humans.

    La4: Isn’t this how Terminator started? I really hope somebody can program some human frailty into robots.

    La5: I can understand a reluctance for a really big change in professions but not a relatively minor change. Coal miner into natural gas extraction work doesn’t really seem that big a leap. Both are manly professions in the same way. The only thing more ridiculous is if they found gold or something in the coal region and the coal miners refused to become gold miners.

    La7: I think a marriage could survive two careers if the couple is childless. That means any overlapping free time can be spent together rather than with children. Otherwise, your probably correct. You can have one career and one job or one career and one house-spouse if children are involved. Determining who gets the job and who gets the career can be difficult though. Its perfectly possible that the career-spouse is more suited to also being a house-spouse than the job-holding spouse regardless of gender. Some professions like lawyer, doctor, or architect are always going to be careers and some other professions can be careers or jobs depending on the level of dedication and attraction to them.Report

    • Avatar PD Shaw says:

      La7: The piece on spousal equality obscures the issue emphasized in its own links that work-based decisions (amount, pace and inflexibility of the work) are the primary reason women leave work or cut-back on their career. In some sense, the underlying complaint is that careers should look more like jobs or at least high benefit jobs.

      The ABA studies on women and Big Law reflect the same issue, and women leave Big Law primarily either to work in business or public administration which have better working conditions. There is a lot of fretting that Big Law is the entry way to the Big Jobs and society needs more prominent women in Big Jobs, but I don’t think women’s choices should be conscripted to some abstract social need.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy says:

        But why is it that that pressure seems to fall disproportionately on women?Report

        • Avatar PD Shaw says:

          I’m not sure I understand your question. With respect to Big Law, everybody knows when they applied and accepted a job that they would get a starting salary nearing $200,000 in exchange for tons of billable (and non-billable) hours. Many decide going in to grab the money, pay off student loans, set aside a nest egg, and change jobs in a few years. I don’t see a problem here; the ABA does because a) they care about the political implications of choice; and b) most of their paid members are in Big Law.Report

          • Avatar Kazzy says:


            You said:
            “The piece on spousal equality obscures the issue emphasized in its own links that work-based decisions (amount, pace and inflexibility of the work) are the primary reason women leave work or cut-back on their career.”

            It seems a tension exists between the demands of certain professions and the demands of home/family life. It seems as if women are pressured to resolve that tension in one way while men are pressured to resolve that tension another way. To simply say, “Well, women choose this and men choose that and that explains it all,” ignores all these social pressures.Report

            • Avatar PD Shaw says:

              But this not about “certain professions,” we’re talking about maybe one-percent of the legal profession. The link makes arguments based upon Harvard MBA graduate attitudes. These are people with choices and alternatives and those that choose to make a ton of money are going to have no social life; it’s not just about home/family. Michelle Obama went to BigLaw and billed over 2,000 hours a year for a few years and switched to government / business. Barack Obama declined to go back to the BigLaw firm he summer clerked for and billed around 800 hours per year and made far less money, but no doubt decent money. These were young adults making reasonable decisions weren’t they?Report

              • Avatar Kazzy says:


                I think maybe we’re talking about different things.

                I work in a school. We often have to call a parent to come pick up their child if they are sick. Or, hell, just to discuss a pressing matter. Guess who we call first, by default, like 99% of the time? The mother.

                This is one of many, many nudges our society sends men and women about what their priorities are supposed to be when this tension emerges. And if often results in women opting for the “job” while men opt for the “career”.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        Many law firms explicitly call the attorney position with more regular fixed hours as the mommy-track jobs. The implication being obvious.Report

    • Avatar Dark Matter says:

      “Top Talent” doesn’t normally create unmaintainable code and push the product completion date back a week for every day they work on it.

      Guy had a break down… and no one noticed. That’s several types of dysfunctional.Report

  3. Avatar Damon says:

    [La1] When you’re margins shrink, this is what happens. While not mentioned in the article that I saw, paying wages above the market rate, would also generate this.

    [La2] EVERYBODY is replaceable. Iron rule of business. We have guy similar to this in my company-well, the dependency aspects, the code documentation issues, but a greater problem is designing a Bently product for a Ford buyer. Do you REALLY need to use twelve 50 dollar connectors on this product? No thought to cost of the product, no thought to productionization of the product. Sometimes I think a few random firings in the engineering dept might put the fear of god in them, but in reality, they’ll be hired within 30 days by another firm or competitor.

    [La7] If you take the issue of kids out I’m sure the percentages change dramatically. I’m a perfect data point. For years the wife and I made similar incomes, then she got a 30 percent increase to take a new job and was quickly promoted to senior leadership, while my career stagnated in organization that I could go no higher in. Oh, there was “career advancement” I was told, if I wanted to move. Yah, not gonna happen. Since I lived in an area with a diverse set of employers, I left and found my current employer.Report

  4. Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

    La7: Two careers can work, even with kids, if one is low key. My wife and I have careers, but hers is more demanding than mine. I have a lot more flexibility with regards to time and work location.Report

    • Avatar bookdragon says:

      This sounds like me and my spouse. We’re both engineers, with 2 kids and have been married for 28 years – so it can work.

      He very much shares domestic duties and even does a bit more in some cases since he has more flexibility. Of course, while some of that is different companies, a component is that if he takes an hour to go run the kids to a dentist appointment, he’s being a good responsible dad which management sees as a positive (as they should). If I do the same, no matter how late I work to more than make up the time I’m seen as putting my family ahead of the job, hence not committed, etc.Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

        Luckily a large portion of my wife’s management chain is women who are also mothers, so she doesn’t get a lot of that attitude, but in the end, my commute is shorter, so a lot of the kid care falls to me.

        One way we make it work is that most of my team is in Europe and the East coast, so I can come into the office at 0600 and be all done with my day in time to meet the school bus, and I can get the bulk of the dinner prep done before my wife gets home. In exchange, she gets the kid off to school in the morning.

        So it can work, if there is some flexibility built into one or both jobs.Report

  5. fillyjonk fillyjonk says:

    La7: I think also the “portability” of the careers can be an issue. In academia, we talk about the “Two-body problem,” meaning both members of a couple are in some specialized field. Back in the days when you could support a family on one academic salary, it was not uncommon for one member of the pair to not work. Or to do stuff like writing/editing.

    People who were ‘superstars,’ sometimes positions were MADE for their spouse so they’d come.

    Or, very commonly, people apply for positions only in areas where there are multiple opportunities so hopefully their spouse will eventually get one.

    My sister-in-law is the specialized-career breadwinner in their family (Chemist). My brother has degrees in math and religion – he writes, I think he’s done a little freelancing, and he makes stained-glass things he sells at craft sales. He’s also the caretaker for their kid.

    I’ve long said people in a field (like academia) where the hours are long and you tend to get your head inside your job too much need a spouse who is in some very hands-on career (like a plumber). Partly for portability – I am guessing a plumber/electrician/similar could find work just about anywhere – but also partly because it’s good to have one person who can maybe easily take a day off to wait for a repair person or the like. (I am single, and I remember one fall when I went without a functioning furnace for two weeks because of a combination of screw-ups on the part of the company I hired to fix it, and the fact that I was not going to cancel class just to wait on a repair guy who might or might not show up).

    I think for someone like me it would also help to have someone around who is doing something totally different, so when I’m sitting around looking at the state of academia and singing the Doom Song, he could be talking about some funny story about what he found plugging a drain line in a house.Report

    • Avatar Maribou says:

      “who can maybe easily take a day off to wait for a repair person or the like. ”

      I totally agree with the rest of your logic but in my experience, plumbers and electricians usually have jobs scheduled weeks in advance and are trying to squeeze in extra customers. So they’d have to be a not very *good* plumber or electrician to have this flexibility. Or manage their own company, so their employees are doing the work and they’re at home on the phone waiting for the fixer people… but then you’d lose the funny stories :).Report

  6. Avatar Doctor Jay says:

    [La5] I agree with @will’s linked Twitter thread in the sense that, yes, one does need some sort of passion for the coding work for it to work. So, does the instructor in a job-retraining program have the passion to communicate to these guys? And if so, are they able to connect on a human level with them. A very transactional approach is going to leave everyone cold.

    I’m not backing down on wanting coding to be a standard part of the public school curriculum, though, since it’s useful to understand something about how coding works, even if you don’t do it for a living. (I know a bunch of people who think of themselves as artists, but know how to code). Also, since we clearly need a lot more programmers, more exposure to the general population would be good.Report

  7. Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

    La1: So we have a bank telling another business how it should be run so the bank is happy? Does Chipotle owe them any money? No? Is BoA somehow privy to all the intricacies of the business? No? Then why does it appear that their opinion is given any real weight?

    I think a lot of companies and investors would probably do well to pay little attention to the forecasts of banks and investment houses, since those institutions haven’t exactly been proving themselves terrible smart about forecasting their own performances in recent years.Report

  8. Avatar Chip Daniels says:

    I don’t get how jobs in “analysis” are automation-resistant.

    Isn’t analysis, like, the thing that AI does best?

    Who is doing all that analysis of my web browsing habits, and knows what ads to push me?

    I do get how jobs interfacing with people like nursing assistants and physical therapists will increase.
    What strikes me is how much this will challenge our existing order along gender and class lines.Report

    • Avatar Kim says:

      Basic analysis is easy. We have smart AIs, but they’ve outsmarted people by getting more data.
      “Analysis” jobs are the ones which nobody does nearly as well as they think they do. If they did, one single analyst would have Nashville TN on the radar for new Amazon HQ.Report

  9. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    Careers, Jobs, and Spouses: I think the issue is more something about regular hours v. irregular hours. First, how are we defining “career” v. “job”. Lots of careers can have irregular hours. Sometimes you work 9-5, sometimes you need to burn the midnight oil for weeks on end. We are discovering lately that lots of jobs (especially retail) can have irregular hours to depending on business and algorithm. But I have a few friends who work in grant/contract administration for the UC system or are low to middle end government lawyers (research attorneys for courts or the day to day stuff that is more about research and writing and in less prestigious offices than the DOJ). These are ostensibly careers but come with regular schedules of the 9-5, 8-4 variety. LeeEsq mentioned that government lawyers doing immigration cases have the option of doing 4 days a week, 10 hours a day once.

    So I think it is more about the end of regular schedules for jobs. Plus I wonder how many cultural differences exist that prevent the career v. job thing from happening.Report

    • Avatar PD Shaw says:

      With respect [L7], I think the competing “career” problem discussed involves the situation in which “he’s not there” to take the kids to the dentist appointment, not because he’ll get fired or he cannot take the time off, but he has a meeting that he won’t cancel, postpone or have someone else cover, or its inconvenient for something he wants to do later and couldn’t she cover it just this once? And the wife has the same sorts of trade-offs, but she usually ends up being the one that makes the trade.

      I don’t know, that may not describe a lot of careers.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq says:

      I’m wondering how many people really have irregular hours in the white collar work world. High end jobs outside of medicine are more likely going to have irregular hours and clients insisting on being served right now as PShaw noted. These are a very small percentage of white collar jobs though. Unless a doctor is on call on a hospital or has to deal with a medical emergency, they are going to have pretty decent control over their schedule once they are relatively established.Report

  10. Avatar Chip Daniels says:

    I read that article, and the follow up response is spot on.

    They hired Dr. Jekyll and promoted and facilitated his behavior up until the point when it became an inconvenience.

    The original story sounded very pat, like those divorce tales exes give, which paint them as innocent victims of irrational monsters.Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

      We had a ‘Rick’ on our team. Luckily we let them go as soon as they started being derogatory to the team. That really needs to be when you toss them. As soon as they feel they can act that way, you likely won’t be coming back from that.Report

      • Avatar Maribou says:

        @oscar-gordon I’ve seen someone come back from that, but only when the situation was complicated by the fact that there was another, more toxic person, actively working to undermine them throughout the org, and the first person got derogatory in defensive-mode.

        Once the more toxic person was gone and people (including the derogatory one) took steps toward healing the rifts, things got better.

        (This is me more or less agreeing with you, ftr. And if we’d gotten rid of the super-toxic person the first time she raged out on someone, the other person never would have gotten to that point. )Report

        • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:


          I could see that. In our case, that wasn’t it. The woman was brilliant, but she was the one developer in our group with a Master’s-CS, and the rest of us are just lowly Engineering types (with degrees ranging from BS to PhD – but, you know, just Engineers, so…). She really had a nasty case of superiority complex, would never document her code, wrote exceeding complicated and compact code, and would then make fun of us and refuse to help when we needed help untangling her logic (stuff like, “If you were real developers, you wouldn’t need me to explain it to you…”).

          My boss let it go for about 6 months (with multiple attempts to correct it) before he strongly suggested she find work elsewhere.Report

          • Avatar Kim says:

            The only way you get to write “really compact and efficient” code and not document it is when you do NOT write bugs, and you can blackbox it… and it doesn’t need to be maintained.

            … you should meet my friend the game developer.Report

          • Avatar Morat20 says:

            Blah. CS degree gives you a better foundation in a lot of ways, but a great deal of good coding is just thinking logically and understanding your toolkit.

            Don’t get me wrong, there’s often a serious qualitative difference between folks with a CS background and everyone else at the beginning, but that gets narrower and narrower with experience.

            That MS in CS would basically mean a good leg up on understanding something new, but code that someone else can’t read is pointless.

            Don’t get me wrong — I drive some of my coworkers a little nuts because I approach some problems differently, but I document the crap out of it so they can fix my code if need be. And I can explain my architecture, and make sure to do so — if might not be the way they would have done it, but it works and they understand it by the time I’m done.

            Which works a lot better than the ultra-efficient C-code used by some of the analytic engine, which is incredibly compact but almost unreadable and completely undocumented. We all hate the guy that wrote that, even though it’s been bug free since he wrote it. It’s just a PITA to expand.Report

            • Avatar Kim says:

              At least your code doesn’t spontaneously generate WarRooms that need to be removed… (to be fair, this is self-modifying code).Report

            • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:


              I follow beer truck logic.

              If I got hit by a beer truck on my way to work, would my coworkers be able to continue to develop my tools?

              I try to make sure that answer is yes.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 says:

                At least one of my coworkers would have to suck it up and learn how vectors work (seriously, they’re not magic. They’re just linked lists pretending to be arrays), but other than that….:)Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

                My coworkers would have to make more of an effort to wrap their heads around thread management, but honestly they are all smart enough to do so, they just like being able to ask me to help troubleshoot their threads when it gets messy.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 says:

                It takes me a bit to get back into thread management if I haven’t messed with them in awhile. (it’s been…seven years now?).

                I had a rather useful OS class back during my Master’s that made you learn threads and thread management, because part of the semester long project was creating a micro-kernal (basically a simulation of an OS sitting on top of Linux.).

                Started with simple user log-in and password management, moved into file management, then concurrent users, then shared memory — and we had to handle the threading and locking ourselves, as part of the “micro-kernal” — which basically meant writing our own locking mechanisms and such rather than using Linux to handle it.

                Anyways, when you have to handle all the nitty gritty of threads yourself, the basics sort of get hammered in.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter says:

                RE: Vectors
                You spend a few months at the start of a project putting them in for devel speed… and then you spend years figuring out that they don’t fit your needs exactly and removing them. The STL in action.Report

              • Avatar Kim says:

                yeah. STL is good for prototyping. Then you take them out and put in the REAL code.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 says:

                Nah, they’re fine here. I used them in place of smallish (no more than a 1000 items, often less than 50) arrays of objects, wherein the size of said array will likely gradually creep up (but always remain small, as these things go) over development cycles.

                Basically write the code once and forget. I used it to replace a ton of arrays where previous coders hadn’t remembered to update indices, or had used const values but not reliably — I was sick of tracking down weird behavior that turned out to be array overwrite issues because someone had forgotten to increase a paired array when they increased the primary.

                All for small crap, where all we ever did was iterate through them, sort them, add and remove items, and clear them and reload new data. The sort of things vectors were made for.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy says:


                In schools, we often talk about having to make things institutional.

                If a given teacher leaves, will everything they do leave with them? If so, we’ve failed to institutionalize what they’ve offered us.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

                I sat down and wrote out a document about threading, but it’s one of those things that you have to wrap your brain around or it will forever be your hobgoblin.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy says:

                Our worlds are different so the problems in schools often arise from not paying attention to what is being done when it is being done… including things like the why and the how and all the thinking that goes into executing something really well… and then after the person leaves, people think, “Well, we vaguely remember how that looked from afar. That ought to be good enough, right?”

                Let’s use the example you shared below from your son’s school. Imagine that was arranged by one teacher and he left. The next year, someone goes, “Let’s do the Veteran’s Day thing again. How’d Mr. Johnson do it? Do we just call some veterans? That should be enough, right? Maybe an email? What else could it entail?”Report

          • Avatar veronica d says:

            @oscar-gordon — To me that sounds like a basic character flaw of a smart, but incurious mind. For example, yeah I’m pretty great at compsci, but dammit I have enough humility to respect other kinds of engineers. After all, they know things I don’t. People who know things I don’t are tremendously valuable.Report

    • Avatar Dark Matter says:

      The median income for a household in [Montgomery] county was $93,373 and the median income for a family was $111,737. (wiki).

      So my minimum wage teenager would do well… and an employer would have to pick whether he hires her or someone a lot less functional who actually needs the money.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy says:

        What folks do you reckon are “a lot less functional” than a teenager?Report

        • Avatar Jaybird says:

          It’s not a lot less functional than *A* teenager, it’s a lot less functional than *HIS* teenager.

          Would you rather hire someone with a somewhat developed upper middle class skill set (though they are but 17) to flip burgers in your burger joint or would you rather hire a 35 year old someone with a GED who specifically asked if the “ban the box” legislation had gone through before filling out an application?

          Yeah, there are potential upsides to both. You’d have to sit and talk with them first. Maybe the 17 year old is rebelling against mommy and daddy and going to join antifa their first opportunity and maybe the 35 year old is turning their life around.Report

        • Avatar Dark Matter says:

          What folks do you reckon are “a lot less functional” than a teenager?

          My teen(*) is organized, dependable, intelligent, studious, and hardworking. Those attributes will lead to her making more than min wage as an adult because her obvious flaws are she has no “experience” or “skills” and time will fix that.

          If you’re an adult and make min wage, why is that? Are you missing one of those attributes? If you’re an employer, do you employ the dependable kid who has no experience or the “experienced” person who isn’t dependable?

          IMHO she’s not the person who gets canned if the cost of labor prices some people off the market. Now granted, a lot of teens are also “un”(whatever) in addition to not having experience or skills… but even they would benefit from having a job.

          (*) I have multiple teens, but only one with a min wage job. It is literally a privilege for her to work there. I allow it only if it doesn’t affect her GPA.Report

          • Avatar Maribou says:

            @dark-matter “If you’re an adult and make min wage, why is that?”

            When I was in that situation it was because I believed in what I was doing, didn’t believe in the value of any of the work I was likely to be able to get that paid more than minimum wage, and didn’t have the cojones (yet) to understand the value of my work and ask for a raise. Also I’m pretty sure if I had asked for a raise, the owner (small business) would have fired me and given me nothing but horrible references if anyone inquired, meaning that literally the only job I’d held in this country wouldn’t be a good reference.

            Nowadays I have the sense and experience to realize that’s not an insurmountable obstacle, but back then I didn’t. (It would have been, in the insular place where I grew up.)

            Also, back then my job was the steady job and Jaybird was pursuing contracts, hopping up job by job to lift his skills. If I’d been unemployed during some of that hopping, we’d have had no income. As it happens that never lasted more than a week or three, but neither of us *knew* that would be the case.

            More than 50 percent of the adults I’ve known who were making minimum wage as adults were, in my opinion as a hiring manager (who doesn’t pay minimum wage), exceptionally employable. Here are some of the reasons why they couldn’t find higher wage work:

            1) Needed flexibility due to unusual caretaking situations (eg adult children with disabilites), needed flexibility as they went to school to improve their employability, needed flexibility as they worked their butts off at multiple jobs to provide for their families in single earner households. Higher wage jobs can insist more sternly on precise hours, unpaid overtime off the books, etc etc.
            2) Had a disability that didn’t affect their work, but which did affect their employment history and/or carried a stigma
            3) In some way did not conform to the Ideal Worker Image (either by choice, eg mohawks, tattoos, or just as commonly because they were queer enough to ping straight people’s gaydar, or not-white enough to ping racism, or “foreign-sounding” enough to ping xenophobia).
            4) Lived in a very economically depressed area where it was hard for anyone to get jobs, either currently or in such a way that it affected their resume
            5) Were missing that vital American skill known as “selling yourself” (other countries have different cultural norms around this, and it was a big adjustment for me when I came here – I was used to being expected to be self-deprecating, for eg).

            I’m not saying there aren’t people who will be the first to get canned for competitive reasons, but there are also plenty of people who are making minimum wage who are ” organized, dependable, intelligent, studious, and hardworking.”.

            It’d be nice to believe outcomes were that reliable, but they really aren’t.Report

            • Avatar Dark Matter says:

              More than 50 percent of the adults I’ve known who were making minimum wage as adults were, in my opinion as a hiring manager (who doesn’t pay minimum wage), exceptionally employable.

              Switch that around and you’re saying (roughly) half of the min wage adults are not exceptionally employable. That doesn’t disagree with the idea an employer would be picking my kid, who doesn’t need the money, over an adult who does.

              Further, the WSJ claims every now and then that 90%(ish) of min wage earners are not breadwinners and live in a household with more money coming in from someone else.

              I agree that there’s a ton of more serious corner cases, but a lot of those corner cases come down to “they could do a lot better and will in the future”. I’ve been in this situation, the owners had no money. Increase min wage and I have no job. It sucked at the time but long term it was great for me because it increased my employability a lot.

              I got to stay in my field and understood (even at the time) that they were paying me to learn skills others would pay me more for. Now maybe it’s unusual that I understood the dynamics and expected the outcome, but that’s a different issue.

              Headhunters and/or employment agencies get paid to correct this type of market imbalance. Before the internet we had the yellow pages, so a half dozen calls and a fax machine were needed but whatever.

              …there are also plenty of people who are making minimum wage who are ” organized, dependable, intelligent, studious, and hardworking.”.

              Then they should have more skills than my kid or, if they do, shop themselves around. Headhunters only get paid if you get a job (and NEVER pay one yourself, that’s a scam).Report

          • Avatar Kazzy says:

            All this stereotyping is cool?Report

    • Avatar Kazzy says:


      I remember when I lived in MoCo (2010ish?), there was an attempt to pass a bill either there or in the district aimed at making Walmart and only Walmart increase wages. They couched it in all sorts of slimy ways, basically saying smaller businesses weren’t included and carving out all sorts of exemptions so other big box retailers were excluded. The goal was to keep Walmart from moving in, it seemed. Do you know what happened with that?Report

      • Avatar Damon says:

        I did a quick google search and couldn’t find out. I remember this as well. I wouldn’t be surprised it it passed and still is in effect, or if it was overturned in the courts. It spawned several actions is various counties. Mont. county is about as anti business as you can get.Report

        • Avatar Kolohe says:

          the bill was allowed to expire. It mandated that any retail store which occupies a single space of over 75,000 square feet to enter into a ‘community benefits agreeement’.

          While the legislation was being considered, the owner of the property that was going to lease it to Wal mart gave up, sold to the property to someone who said they had no plans that included a Walmart.

          That is likely why legislative action was tabled and then abandoned.Report

          • Avatar Kazzy says:

            That really pissed me off. Not because I’m a particular fan of WalMart (I’ve shopped at them and found they’re not for me) but using legislation to basically target a specific business is wrong. I’m not sympathetic to any arguments in favor of it.Report

          • Avatar Dark Matter says:

            I vaguely recall some community pulling this and then being shocked when Walmart opened three stores just outside city(?) limits.Report

    • Avatar Kolohe says:

      There has been some pushback on that study. I don’t know if the study is right or the critics are right, but I believe the County council went into the vote knowing there are 2 sides to the debate. They chose to come down on one side. (I would have probably voted against it)

      And now we’ll see who is right, and who gets and keeps their jobs.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        Well, one thing that I’m wondering about is the various differences between raising the minimum wage when unemployment is, like, 9% and doing it when unemployment is, like, 4.1%.

        (Insert paragraph about U-6 here.)

        It strikes me as EXCEPTIONALLY STUPIEN to do it when it’s 9%. When it’s 4ish? Well… Well… When else would you do it, if not when you’re at 4ish?

        The only problem with the policy is that you can’t make the minimum wage go back down after you raise it to $15. “Whoops, we kinda closed 34 businesses. Who could have possibly predicted this outcome? But we cannot reverse course.”

        At that point, you pretty much have to hope that inflation picks up the slack and makes it so that it’s not such a hard hit for the businesses who get to deal with the new minimum wage in the future.Report

        • Avatar Dark Matter says:

          At that point, you pretty much have to hope that inflation picks up the slack and makes it so that it’s not such a hard hit for the businesses who get to deal with the new minimum wage in the future.

          They’re also indexing it to inflation.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy says:

        I’m trying to think of what 47K jobs are going to be effected. I lived in Bethesda-Rockville for 2 years so am pretty familiar with the area, though obviously moreso with the section adjacent to the District as opposed to some of the farther out areas. But my sense is that most of the minimum wage jobs in the area are in service (mostly food) and retail. Given that you have a very wealthy population and lots of folks who work in the area, there is going to remain a demand for service, food, and retail. So while some jobs may go, I would be shocked if it was 47K. Are there factories or other minimum wage jobs in the county I didn’t know about?Report

        • Avatar aaron david says:

          I have spent zero time there, but I wouldn’t be surprised that there was a lot going on economically that doesn’t get noticed. I know this was true in Sacramento, Fresno and the bay area. Often there is a ton of light manufacturing going on that doesn’t get noticed by the average person who is not in that industry. But that is just a guess.Report

    • Avatar Kim says:

      So, um, still less than losing House of Cards?Report

  11. Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

    Fun little tidbit today. My son’s school had a veterans day assembly today, and veterans with a student in the school were invited to come. Today I got to meet a WWII sailor who was part of the crew of the USS Guadalcanal when it captured the German U-boat U-505. If you are unfamiliar with the U-505, I recommend checking it out at the always fantastic Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago.

    I had to shake the man’s hand.Report