Work-From-Anywhere Perks Give Silicon Valley a New Edge in Talent War

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The Wall Street Journal 27 July, 2021 - 07:01am 87 views

Since the pandemic spurred leading tech companies to embrace “work from anywhere” policies, that advantage is fading fast. Now that a software engineer or marketing guru can work from a creekside cabin while still pulling down big bucks from Facebook or Salesforce , smaller firms far from the coasts are feeling the pinch.

For Havenly, landing new hires now means competing with companies all over the country, and hanging onto talent has been harder than ever. At one point, even members of Havenly’s executive team were a flight risk.

“My CMO and my CFO were both like, ‘Listen, we love this company but the reality right now is I have an old friend reaching out to me,’ ” said Lee Mayer, Havenly’s co-founder and CEO. She almost lost multiple executives to Bay Area companies offering on average 20% salary increases and no requirement to relocate. “I was getting recruited” too, she said.

Some of the biggest names in tech aren’t just allowing existing workers to relocate out of the Bay Area, they are also starting to hire in places they hadn’t often recruited from before. The result is the most geographically distributed tech labor market to date. That’s leading to above-market rates for workers in smaller hubs, forcing local companies to raise wages to keep up with the cost of living and fend off deeper-pocketed rivals from California, Seattle and New York.

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Some states forced to restore $300 unemployment benefits after jobless Americans sue

Fox Business 27 July, 2021 - 08:57am

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Former Chase chief economist Anthony Chan on high unemployment claims and the labor market recovery.

Judges in Maryland and Indiana have ruled the two states must resume paying the extra jobless aid that had been halted earlier this year until the lawsuits are resolved. The rulings mean that roughly 500,000 unemployed workers in those states should see a continuance of their benefits, according to an estimate from the National Employment Law Project (NELP).

Maryland and Indiana are among a group of 26 states, all but one led by Republican governors, prematurely ending one of three federal unemployment programs that provided jobless workers with an extra $300 a week, on top of their regular state benefits, and extended eligibility for contract workers as well as those who had exhausted their regular state benefits. 

Unemployed residents in Indiana were the first to take legal action in an attempt to block the state's push to end pandemic unemployment benefit programs; in mid-June, two nonprofit groups sued Gov. Eric Holcomb, arguing that he had "violated the clear mandates of Indiana's unemployment statute — to secure all rights and benefits available for unemployed individuals."

A state judge ruled at the beginning of July that Indiana must continue paying the federal money to roughly 230,000 Hoosiers until the lawsuit is decided, arguing a "preponderance of evidence" suggested the early termination of the program violates state law.

"A loss of housing or medical care and the inability to provide food, shelter and adequate childcare for a family constitute irreparable harm pending resolution of this cause of action and are not adequately compensable by an award of damages," Marion Superior Court Judge John Hanley wrote in his decision.  

"There will be no gap in payments for eligible claimants," said Regina Ashley, chief unemployment insurance officer at the state Department of Workforce Development. 

In Maryland, a Baltimore judge in a preliminary injunction ordered the state to "immediately take all actions necessary to ensure that Maryland residents continue to receive any and all expanded and/or supplemental unemployment benefits." Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, said the state was complying with the ruling from Judge Lawrence Fletcher-Hill.

Similar lawsuits in Arkansas, Ohio, Texas, Florida and Oklahoma are still pending. 

The unemployment programs, which Congress created in March 2020 and voted twice to extend, are not poised to expire until Sept. 6, 2021. GOP lawmakers have blamed the extra unemployment aid for anemic job growth in April and May, although economists have also cited a lack of child care and fears of contracting COVID-19 for the hiring shortage. 

There remain about 6.8 million fewer jobs than there were in February 2020, before the pandemic shut down broad swaths of the nation's economy. 

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One big reason 25% to 40% of jobless Americans make more on unemployment than on the job

Las Cruces Sun-News 27 July, 2021 - 06:00am

Why are state lawmakers pulling the plug on that $300 weekly increase? It largely boils down to labor shortages and fear of halting progress on the economic recovery front. Lawmakers are concerned that if the jobless continue to get an extra $300 a week in unemployment on top of their regular state benefits, they won't be motivated to go out and find work.

It's estimated that 25% to 40% of jobless workers are earning more money on unemployment than they did at their previous jobs thanks to that $300 weekly boost. When we consider that the federal minimum wage sits at just $7.25, that's not shocking.

Someone earning minimum wage while working 40 hours a week would take in $290 a week. That means those getting an extra $300 a week from unemployment automatically come out ahead, even without taking their regular state benefits into account. Throw in the fact that some minimum wage workers somehow have to swing the cost of childcare to do their jobs, and it's no wonder some unemployed people may not be rushing to apply for open positions.

In fact, according to Census data from May, it's estimated that nearly 7.3 million Americans are not working currently because they're home caring for children. When we weigh the cost of childcare against the minimum wage, it's easy to see why so many people have no choice but to opt out.

The states that are ending boosted unemployment benefits early are hoping that doing so will result in a wave of job applications. But what they may find instead is that minimum wages, coupled with other constraints, create a situation where the jobless choose to remain unemployed regardless of whatever work-related opportunities may be out there.

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