The Workweek: A Round-Up of Labor Market Links for the Week Ending 1/6/16

This week’s labor market news on gig economy, e-commerce jobs, the middle class and more.

Happy new year, and welcome back to The Workweek, the Indeed Hiring Lab’s round-up of the latest research, news, and perspectives that made us think deeply or differently about the labor market this week. It’s your guide to the most important new insights about work.

Here are our picks for this week:

Minimum Wages Increase

At the start of the year, dozens of states and localities raised their minimum wage, some by a small cost-of-living adjustment and others by larger amounts. Economists continue to debate the effects: small increases in the minimum wage appear to reduce employment less in practice than economic theory would suggest. But the effect of larger increases could be different. Brace yourself for lots of minimum-wage research in the coming years. (FiveThirtyEight)

Do Not Reply, S’il Vous Plait

Also at the start of this year, a new French law took effect making it easier for workers to preserve boundaries between work time and personal time. All but the smallest employers are required to establish “right-to-disconnect” rules, such as limiting the use of “reply-all” or making clear that employees aren’t expected to respond to emails off-hours. (New York Times)

Manufacturing Is Probably Not Coming Back

Manufacturing jobs are a shrinking share of employment in the U.S. and in large European countries. While competition from China is part of the reason, automation and other technological innovations are pushing manufacturers to use machines and higher-skilled workers in place of less-educated workers. Two proposed strategies to bring manufacturing back — negotiations with individual manufacturers, and imposing tariffs on imports — are unlikely to work and could backfire. (The Economist)

What Keeps Men From Looking at Women’s Jobs

Most of the fastest-growing occupations are traditionally held by women, such as occupational therapy assistants and home-health aides. But many disappearing jobs (manufacturing occupations, for instance) are traditionally male — and men have been reluctant to move into majority female roles, instead choosing to look “for the job you used to have.” One strategy: some hospitals are advertising the manly side of hospital work. (New York Times)

Universal Basic Income and the Incentive to Work

Numerous proposals and experiments are bubbling up for a “universal basic income,” a fixed payout that all citizens would receive as automation makes more people jobless. Yet a debate rages about whether a basic income will further devalue work and leave people with less of a sense of purpose, or whether a basic income would provide a greater incentive to work than today’s government programs do.