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Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
Tue Jul 21

Experts Urge Fed To Pursue 'Genuine Full Employment' Before Rate Hike

The Federal Reserve should pursue "genuine full employment" with "robust wage growth" before raising interest rates, experts from the Center for Popular Democracy and the Economic Policy Institute argue in a new report.

The report authors say the Fed, the central bank of the United States, can help reverse wage stagnation and narrow gender and racial wage gaps through its monetary policy.

Most Americans have faced wage stagnation over the last 35 years, despite there being a 64.9 percent growth in productivity during this time, according to the report. Wage growth also remained sluggish last month, with average hourly earnings increasing only 2 percent in June from one year ago.

A move by the Fed to slow the economy with an interest rate hike before "genuine full employment" is achieved will "hamper the ability of workers' wages to rise," the authors wrote.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
Wed Jul 8

Job Openings Hit Record High In May, But 'Quits Rate' Doesn't Move

The number of U.S. job openings reached a record high in May at nearly 5.4 million, but new hires were down slightly during that month. The rate of people voluntarily quitting their jobs, an indication of labor market strength, didn't budge in May either.

That's according to the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey released Tuesday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Job openings ticked up from 5.33 million in April to 5.36 million in May, representing the highest level since positions started getting tabulated in December 2000.

Despite a record number of job openings, new hires inched down a bit to 5 million in May from 5.03 million in April. The hiring rate slipped from 3.6 percent in April to 3.5 percent in May and "remains significantly below its pre-recession level," according to an analysis of the new survey by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), a Washington, D.C. think tank.

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
Wed Jun 24

Cash-Strapped Illinois Getting Shortchanged In Federal Revenues, Report Shows

A new study by the Illinois Economic Policy Institute makes the case for closing the "payer state" gap at the federal level. Progress Illinois takes a look at the new research.

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
Mon Jun 22

The Pope's Climate Change Encyclical 'Raises Urgency' For IL Clean Energy Bill, Advocates Say

After Pope Francis called for climate action in an encyclical on the environment last week, local faith leaders and state Sen. Jacqueline Collins say Illinois lawmakers could help carry out the pope's message by approving a pending clean energy bill.