employment | KUOW News and Information

employment

In the United States, there's a record number of jobs open: around 6 million. That's just about one job opening for every officially unemployed person in the country.

Matching the unemployed with the right job is difficult, but there are some things employers could do to improve the odds.

Washington state employers added 20,000 jobs on a seasonally adjusted basis last month according to the latest numbers out Wednesday from the state’s Employment Security Department.

A new Seattle-based app helps part-time workers swap shifts.
Brie Ripley

Kim Malcolm speaks with Bloomberg News Tech Reporter Dina Bass about a new Seattle-based app, Shyft. The app is designed to help part-time shift workers trade schedules with other workers. 


Roberta Siao, a Brazilian immigrant in London, found that her dual status as a foreigner and mother made it impossible to find work. Yet at Mazi Mas, a London-based pop-up restaurant and catering service focused on training and employing immigrant and refugee women, she has found more than just a paying job. She tells her story in her own words.

All over eastern Kentucky, you see cars and pickup trucks with black license plates proclaiming the owner is a "friend of coal."

Even though the license plates are all over, it's getting harder to find actual coal miners here: Fewer than 6,000 remain in the state, where the coal industry is shrinking fast. More than 10,000 coal workers have been laid off since 2008.

Many have had to leave the area to find work, but a few have found employment in other — and sometime unexpected — fields, as businesses are innovating to use former coal workers in new ways.

The pace of job creation slowed substantially last month, the Labor Department said Friday.

Employers added 160,000 employees in April, downshifting from the monthly average of 192,000 workers so far this year. That was a disappointment for many job seekers.

But the country does have one group enjoying lots of opportunities: newly minted college graduates. In fact, economists say this might be the best time to be graduating in a decade.

Sharon Long found her calling later in life. Back in the 1980s, she was a single mom trying to support her two kids, holding down several jobs at once — none of which she liked much.

"I worked at the Dairy Queen, and I cleaned a dentist's office, and I was a secretary," Long recalls, on a recent visit with StoryCorps. "I hated every morning I got up."

But, as she tells her colleague Steve Sutter, everything changed for her at age 40. When she she took her daughter to register for college, a financial aid officer persuaded Long to enroll herself.

About 150 workers in Seattle received settlement money in the past year because their employer broke the minimum wage law.

The obvious candidates for word of the year are the labels of the year's big stories — new words like "microaggression" or resurgent ones like "refugees." But sometimes a big theme is captured in more subtle ways. So for my word of the year, I offer you the revival of "gig" as the name for a new economic order. It's the last chapter in the life of a little word that has tracked the rise and fall of the great American job.

The "steady upward climb" in job creation around the Northwest continues this summer.

Washington, Idaho and Oregon have all placed in the top ten nationally for job growth over the past year.

Refugees Get Friends In Powerful Places With Seattle Job Program

Jul 1, 2015
Masar Altaie, right, with KUOW's Kim Malcolm.
KUOW Photo/Hannah Burn

Kim Malcolm talks with refugee Masar Altaie about her experience in Tatweer, a Seattle-based employment program run out of Jewish Family Service of Seattle. Tatweer helps connect refugees with local mentors in their fields. For information on how to volunteer, go here.

Flickr Photo/Victoria Pickering

The latest figures show the unemployment rate in Washington state is holding steady at 6.3 percent. The Employment Security Department said the state added an estimated 6,700 jobs in March. The biggest job gains last month were seen in professional and business services.

In recent years, companies ranging from JPMorgan Chase to Walmart to Boeing have announced special hiring programs for veterans. Seattle coffee giant Starbucks is the latest.

All of these companies are trying to bring down a stubbornly high unemployment rate for veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. But to succeed, companies have to take the time to understand the skills of service members.

Flickr Photo/moominmolly

Marcie Sillman talks with David Yamada, law professor at Suffolk University, about the legal gray area of intern rights, including unpaid internships, in light of Condé Nast ending their internship program.

From the Stand With Our Checkers Facebook page.

With just two hours left on the strike countdown clock, a tentative agreement was reached on Monday night between grocery workers and four major chains: Safeway, Fred Meyer, QFC and Albertson’s.

Grocery Unions Prep For Strike As Talks Heat Up

Oct 16, 2013
KUOW Photo/Bond Huberman

As they debate their contracts, grocery workers insist they’re serious about striking: Picket captains have been tapped at hundreds of stores throughout the region, and strike headquarters have popped up in five counties.

A final inspector general's report released Tuesday condemns the Bonneville Power Administration for discriminating against veterans and other applicants during jobs hires.

Bonneville is this region's biggest wholesale electricity and transmission provider. 

BPA issued a contrite response to the scathing report from the U.S. Energy Department's inspector general.

KUOW Photo/Carolyn Adolph

The economic future of this region is still tied to the future of  Boeing, the region's bellwether employer.  The aerospace industry pays 7.5 percent of the wages in Washington state, and Boeing remains the region’s largest private employer, with 85,000 local jobs.

Flickr Photo/Canadian Pacific

Seattle’s Paid Sick and Safe Time Ordinance is a year old this week. The law requires employers with more than four workers to provide paid time off for illness or a safety issue. But not all employers are on board with it.

Flickr Photo/woodleywonderworks

  According to the most recent numbers, about seven percent of Washingtonians are currently unemployed and seeking work. But more companies are requiring online applications, and hitting the pavement and handing out resumes might become a thing of the past. When your first impression is a PDF how can you stand out from the rest?

David Hyde gets the answer from Dr. Tracy Wilen-Daugenti. She’s a visiting scholar at Stanford University's Media X program and a former Silicon Valley executive. She has held leadership positions at Apple, HP, Cisco Systems and the Apollo Group, and she’s the author of a number of books on business.

Seattle Workers, What Are Your Rights?

Jun 17, 2013

 In 2011, Seattle became the third city in the nation to mandate paid sick leave for employees. But the specifics of the law have been very confusing for workers and their employers. Not surprisingly, sick leave isn’t the only employee rights law that causes confusion. In many industries, long hours and sporadic schedules can make employee protection laws pretty murky. Employment lawyer Lindsay Halm answers questions from listeners and talks to David Hyde about the rights of Washington state workers.

For more information, please visit Washington Labor & Industries.

City Council Might Change The Rules For Hiring Criminals

Jun 10, 2013

The Seattle City Council is voting this afternoon on whether to ban employers from immediately asking about the criminal history of new applicants. They would have to wait until after an initial review of the application. After that, a past conviction can still figure into the hiring process. But that’s only if the employer proves that there’s a direct relationship between applicant’s crime and the job they’re applying for.

The Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce has opposed this legislation from the beginning. Due to its influence, several changes have been made since November. However, the chamber still takes issue parts of the proposal. David Hyde talks to George Allen, the chamber's senior vice president of government relations. We also hear from local attorney Merf Ehman, one of the driving forces behind the City Council’s proposal.

Pop Your Blue Collar: The Evolution Of Blue Collar Work In The US

May 22, 2013
Flickr Photo/WSDOT

 In the past decade, blue collar jobs have diminished. But in the coming decade, that tide is expected to change. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects an additional 2.7 million new blue collar jobs such as home health care aides and rebar and iron maintenance workers by 2020. Ross Reynolds talks with Tim Sweeney and Dan Jacoby about the future of blue collar work and education. 

Should Unpaid Internships Be Banned?

May 16, 2013
Flickr photo/Edwin and Kelly Tofslie

A lawsuit against Fox Searchlight Pictures has sparked a fierce debate over whether the US should ban all unpaid internships. Eric Glatt is the plaintiff in the case. He interned at Fox for free, but now he says that his unpaid internship was illegal and that every unpaid internship should be banned.

Steve Cohen is also a former unpaid intern, and he disagrees. Cohen says interns cost time and money and paying them misses the point. Glatt and Cohen debate the issue, and David Hyde takes calls from listeners.

How Does Washington State Help Workers With Developmental Disabilities?

May 9, 2013
Flickr Photo/Tony Hall

Washington State’s Developmental Disabilities Administration helps people with disabilities like autism, cerebral palsy and down syndrome find work. The DDA serves nearly 9,000 adults over the age of 21.

Ross Reynolds interviews Dr. Pat Brown, director of the University of Washington’s employment program. Ross also talks with Doug Wilson, a sales manager at Copiers Northwest, who employs people with developmental disabilities and Shawn Christensen, a man with cerebral palsy who works at Regal Cinemas in Renton.

The production line at a Boeing facility.
Courtesy/Boeing Company

Boeing officials say pink slips will go out Friday to about a hundred engineers in the Puget Sound area. It’s the first round of more expected cuts for the engineering staff, which Boeing said it plans to reduce by 1,500 to 1,700 positions through layoffs and job openings that will not be filled.

Greendays Gardening: Open Phones

Mar 26, 2013
Cherry trees
Flickr Photo/Camknows

With temperatures near 60 in the forecast, gardening season is in full swing. Did your plants survive last week's cold snap and snow? How do you keep your garden alive in the ever-changing weather? Our experts are here to answer your questions. Call us at 206.543.5869 or send an email to weekday@kuow.org.

Will Your Job Be Terminated By A Robot?

Mar 14, 2013
Flickr Photo/Eirik Newth

Earlier this year IBM’s supercomputer, Watson, took a job with health care company WellPoint. Watson isn’t the only robot taking our jobs. By the end of the century, an estimated 70 percent of current occupations will be replaced by automation. Digital labor will take over assembly lines, write articles and even give legal advice. Where will that leave humans? 

There were 236,000 jobs added to payrolls in February — many more than expected — and the jobless rate unexpectedly dropped by two-tenths of a point, to 7.7 percent, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday.

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