Policy: Economy

Big Ideas: On whistleblowers, pizza and women's jobs

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Jobs,Labor,PennAve,Joseph Lawler,Economy,Whistleblowers

David Callahan at Demos' Policy Shop: There are few better ways to uncover fraud in an industry than to incentivize insiders to blow the whistle on wrongdoing. And a little known part of Dodd-Frank did just that for the securities industry, creating a new whistleblower program run by the Securities and Exchange Commission that can bestow huge rewards on anyone who brings to light evidence of fraud that results in a settlement.

The law is now in its third year of operation, and evidence is mounting that it's really working. And why wouldn't it work: If there is one thing that Wall Street types care about it's money, and so dangling fat carrots before this crowd was brilliant as a way to expose illegality.

According to a new report by the SEC, that agency has received over 6,500 tips and complaints by would-be whistleblowers, with the number of complaints steadily climbing since the law went into effect. Nearly $15 million was paid out last year in whistleblower bounty.

 

OBAMACARE VS. PIZZA

Amy Payne for Heritage's Foundry: Did you know there are 34 million different ways to make a Domino's pizza?

Mary Lynne Carraway can’t fit that on a menu board. But that’s what Obamacare says she has to do: Put up a menu board in each of her 60 Domino’s stores that tells people the calorie count of every possible combination. Of course, all the information is already available online.

“Right now I’m 60 to 70 percent Internet,” Carraway said of her business. “So people can go online and they can look at the nutritional values because it’s all broken up there.”

What would it mean for each of her stores to have to install such a menu board? A cost of about $5,000 per store — and that hits the managers and employees of each store. Those people aren’t numbers: Carraway knows her workers well.

“I have managers that worked for me that some of them have gone to law school, some of them have been accountants,” she said, proud that she is helping people achieve the American dream. And she has worked hard, even though she never intended to be a business owner.

 

WOMEN WINNERS IN THE RECOVERY? THINK AGAIN

Hilary Wething for the Economic Policy Institute's Working Economics: At first glance, it may appear that women are doing better than men. Men lost 3.4 million more jobs in the Great Recession and its aftermath than women — employment among men dropped 8.7 percent while women only saw a 4.0 percent drop in employment. By mid-2009, men had lost so many jobs that women's payroll employment was 50 percent of the work force for the first time in history. In the recovery, men reversed the trend and gained more jobs than women (4.4 million compared to 2.9 milion) but, women still have a smaller jobs gap, 3.6 million compared to 4.4 million for men.

So what’s really going on here? To understand the gender dynamics of employment, it’s crucial to look at the gender breakdowns within industries. ... The industries that have taken the biggest employment hits since 2007 — construction and manufacturing, which dropped 22.3 percent and 12.9 percent, respectively — also have a disproportionately larger share of male workers than in other industries. Industries that have a larger share of female workers, such as health care and social assistance government, fared considerably better: Health care and social assistance employment increased 11.5 percent since December 2007. One story of the Great Recession shows that women fared better than men, as they were disproportionately employed in industries that sustained less dramatic employment drops in the Great Recession than industries that were male dominated.

Within industries however, the story is different: Look at the percentage point difference in employment growth between women and men in manufacturing, for example, and you’ll see that female employment has dropped 18.2 percent since 2007 while male employment has fallen by much less — 10.8 percent. Conversely, in health care and social assistance both men and women saw gains in employment since 2007, but growth in male employment surpassed growth in female employment by five percentage points. ... While the jobs gap for men is larger than it is for women, men are nevertheless seeing stronger gains than women within most industries.

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