The Workweek: A Round-Up of Labor Market Links for the Week Ending 4/6/17

This week’s labor market news on bartenders, Bernanke, and coal.

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:

The Kids Are Not All Alright

Youth unemployment remains a major concern around the globe and particularly in Europe. According to data released by Eurostat on Monday, the unemployment rate for youth (under age 25) stood at 19.4% in February for the euro-area. Although this is an improvement over the last few years, it’s still twice as high as the euro-area’s overall unemployment rate. Meanwhile there’s a lot of variation across Europe, with youth unemployment rate ranging from 6.6% in Germany to an astounding 45.2% in Greece. Given the importance of getting work experience early in life, the high youth unemployment rates in the southern part of Europe suggest that economic woes in these countries are likely to continue for a long time to come. (Bloomberg)

Bingeing on Uber

The standard employer-employee relationship means that the boss tells the worker where to go and what to do. When it comes to Uber, however, drivers are classified as independent contractors, and so the firm has to find alternative ways to align the drivers’ interests with those of the company. To do this, Uber has experimented with many different  “nudges” drawn from behavioral science, including “video game techniques, graphics and noncash rewards” according to a report in the New York Times. For example, automatically loading the next program, a tactic drawn from Netflix to encourage binge-watching, may entice drivers to drive for longer than they had planned, or — as I like to call it — “binge-driving.” But here’s the question: how much do these behavioral approaches align incentives in ways that clearly pay off for the driver as well as Uber? (New York Times)

Don’t Quit Your Day Job

A post on the New York Fed’s Liberty Street Economics blog this week drew attention to recent research on survey data confirming something we have long known at the Indeed Hiring Lab: it’s very common for  workers currently in employment to look for another job. Furthermore, it’s also easier to find a job if you already have a job. Is this a case of “give a task to a busy person if you want it done fast” or of employers taking unemployment as a negative signal? As a typical two-handed economist I think it’s probably some of both. (Federal Reserve Bank of New York)

Where Everybody Knows Your Name

Flexible working arrangements are growing ever more popular, but literally working from home may be a bit lonely.  Perhaps, as a result, co-working options have developed in many places. The latest trend, according to Bloomberg Technology, is for bars and restaurants to convert their idle daytime space into productive areas for remote workers. Now, instead of camping out at a table at a coffee shop all day, people can pay monthly subscriptions for wifi and workspace during the day— and a guaranteed spot at the bar when happy hour starts. (Bloomberg)

Poverty Traps

Southern cities tend to perform poorly when it comes to upward income mobility, according to a new ranking released by the Equality of Opportunity Project. Charlotte, North Carolina, came last on the list despite looking good on many other economic measures. How to explain this? Although there isn’t a single smoking gun, tax policy appears to be more regressive and education spending is notably lower in these states compared with their more mobile northern counterparts. (The Atlantic)