Foxconn...has shown willingness to make a huge investment in Wisconsin — in exchange for a similarly hefty commitment from the state... On the table is up to $3 billion in state tax breaks... As long as Foxconn keeps hiring U.S. workers at the new flat-screen manufacturing facility, Wisconsin would cut the company $200 million to $250 million a year for up to 15 years. That works out to a rough cost to the state of about $230,700 per worker, assuming the factory goes on to generate 13,000 jobs.

Historically, there is usually an uptick in 1099 work during tough economic times, and then W-2s resurge as jobs are added in recovery. But W-2 jobs did not resurge as usual during our recovery from the last recession; instead, the growth has happened in the 1099 column. That shift raises problems because the United States’ benefits structure has traditionally been attached to the corporation rather than to the state: the expectation was that every employed person would have a W-2 job.

while the industry as a whole isn’t that large, job losses in the coal industry have an outsize effect, devastating coal towns (partly via multiplying effects). That’s because coal workers tend to be concentrated in small areas, around mines. Half of coal miners work in just 25 counties ... Those counties are in nine states: Alabama, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, Wyoming.

we must turn the nearly 60 million low-wage service jobs in food preparation, retail, and childcare into higher-wage, family-supporting jobs. This is analogous to what we did during the New Deal, when we turned low-wage factory jobs into high-paid middle-class jobs. If we were willing to pay a little more for our cars and appliances to create a middle class in the last century, surely we can afford to pay more in this one to the people who serve us food and care for our kids and aging parents.

More workers in general merchandise stores have been laid off since October, about 89,000 Americans. That is more than all of the people employed in the United States coal industry ... The job losses in retail could have unexpected social and political consequences, as huge numbers of low-wage retail employees become economically unhinged, just as manufacturing workers did in recent decades. About one out of every 10 Americans works in retail.

Parts suppliers in the American South compete for low-margin orders against suppliers in Mexico and Asia. They promise delivery schedules they can’t possibly meet and face ruinous penalties if they fall short. Employees work ungodly hours, six or seven days a week, for months on end. Pay is low, turnover is high, training is scant, and safety is an afterthought... Many of the same woes that typify work conditions at contract manufacturers across Asia now bedevil parts plants in the South.

Algorithms can now recognize handwritten language and patterns almost as well as humans and even complete some tasks better than them. They are able to describe the contents of photos and videos. Today 70% of all financial transactions are performed by algorithms ... This all has radical economic consequences: in the coming 10 to 20 years around half of today's jobs will be threatened by algorithms. 40% of today's top 500 companies will have vanished in a decade.

children born in 1940 in California had a roughly 90 percent chance of making more money than their parents did around the age of 30 ... Californians born in 1980 stand less than a 50 percent chance of making more than their parents ... California mirrors the national pattern in income mobility very closely.Nationwide, only 50 percent of Americans born in 1980 were out-earning their parents at the age of 30. That percentage has ticked up a bit in subsequent years, but not by much.

In the US, the number of manufacturing jobs peaked in 1979 and has steadily decreased ever since. At the same time, manufacturing has steadily increased, with the US now producing more goods than any other country but China. Machines aren’t just taking the place of humans on the assembly line. They’re doing a better job. And all this before the coming wave of AI upends so many other sectors of the economy.

Cities and states across the country have raised their wage floors, in some cases to $10 an hour or more. But even in states that have raised their minimum wages, tipped workers are often still stuck earning $2 or $3 an hour. Nebraska, for example, last year raised its minimum wage to $9 an hour while leaving the tipped wage at the federal minimum of $2.13. The gap is even wider in Massachusetts, where the minimum wage is $11 an hour and the tipped wage is only $3.75.