About the Committee Report

The Committee Report is a periodic publication of NCSL's Standing Committee on Labor and Economic Development.

Committee Staff

2009-2010 Labor and Economic Development Committee Officers

Representative Juan Zapata, Florida
Senator Bill Heath, Georgia
Senator Gary LeBeau, Connecticut
Senator Dave Pankonin, Nebraska
Senator Sharon Stewart-Peregoy, Montana
Representative Anna Fairclough, Alaska
Representative Julie Fisher, Utah
Representative Lana Gordon, Kansas
Representative Earl Hillard, Jr., Alabama
Representative James Johnson, Delaware
Immediate Past Chair:
Representative Brent Yonts, Kentucky

Legislative Staff
Staff Chair:
Andrea Wilko, Utah
Staff Vice-Chairs:
Martha Carter, Nebraska
Gilbert Loredo, Texas
Rkia Rhrib, Kentucky
Gwennetta Tatum, Mississippi

Labor and Economic Development Committee Report

June 25, 2010
Vol. III, No. 5


Committee Update

NCSL 2010 Legislative Summit

Committee officers have planned a variety of interesting sessions for the upcoming Legislative Summit, July 25 – 28, 2010 in Louisville, Kentucky.  The agenda will make your visit to the Bluegrass state an educational and worthwhile experience.  Below is relevant information regarding the NCSL Legislative Summit and committee agenda. 

Registration Information:  Registration is open.  Please visit the NCSL Legislative Summit page to register. Advanced registration closes June 18. 

Hotel: You must register for the meetings before making your hotel reservation. Once you are registered for the meeting, you'll receive a registration confirmation e-mail that contains your housing identification number and a direct link to the NCSL housing page.   

Committee Agenda: The committee’s agenda is on the NCSL website and committee’s Facebook page.  We will have sessions on the following topics:

o    ARRA/Workforce Investment Act Luncheon

o    Career and Technical Education

o    Small Business

o    Manufacturing

o    Tour of Downtown Louisville and Louisville Slugger Factory & Museum

o    Public Pensions and Retirement Series and Reception

o    Workers’ Compensation

o    Unemployment Insurance

o    Global Perspective on Job Creation and Economic Development

Committee Business Meeting: The committee will take up five expiring policies and two new policies in Louisville.  They are as follows:

Expiring Policies:

1.       Employment Security System Funding

2.       Free Trade and Federalism (attached)

3.       NCSL Supports Travel Promotion and Tourism

4.       Responsible Housing

5.       Urging the Federal Government to Provide Authoritative Information to U.S. Public Sector Investors

New Policies (as of June 24):

1.       Career and Technical Education (Joint with the Education Committee)

2.       Economic Development

The deadline for submitting any new policy statements is Wednesday, July 14.  If you have a new policy statement that you wish for the committee to consider, please submit the text to Neal Osten or Molly Ramsdell by the deadline.

In the News

Unemployment Dropped to 9.7% in May 2010 *
The national unemployment rate edged down to 9.7% for May, 2010, according to statistics released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics on June 4, 2010. Jobs were added in the manufacturing, temporary services and mining sectors, while construction employment jobs declined. Unemployment has largely held steady in 2010, with a 9.7% unemployment rate for the first three months of the year, a slight increase to 9.9% for April, and a drop back to 9.7% percent for May. More than 15 million workers remain unemployed and long-term unemployment continues to be a major part of that figure. Approximately 6.8 million Americans have been unemployed for 27 weeks or longer. Over 431,000 jobs were added in May, although the vast majority of those positions were temporary workers hired for the U.S. Census.  * The unemployment rate for June will be released on Friday, July 2, 2010.

State Unemployment Rates for May 2010 *
In another good sign for economic recovery, unemployment dropped in May in thirty-seven states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia, according to figures released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics on June 18, 2010. Only six states saw their unemployment rates rise and the rates in seven states remained the same. For the first time since April, 2006, Michigan did not record the highest unemployment rate among the state. Nevada experienced the highest unemployment rate in May, at 14.0. That is also a record-breaking unemployment rate for Nevada, where the economy and housing markets have been particularly hard hit. Michigan’s unemployment rate dropped almost half a percentage point since April, with 13.6% unemployment for May, followed by California at 12.4% and Rhode Island at 12.3%. In all, 33 states had unemployment rates that were lower than the national unemployment rate of 9.7% for May.  Unemployment was lowest in North Dakota, which had a 3.6 unemployment rate for May, followed by South Dakota at 4.6% and Nebraska, at 4.9%.  * State unemployment figures for June will be released on Tuesday, July 20, 2010.

Senate Democrats Pull Jobs Bill
June 25, 2010
By David Rogers
A Democratic-backed jobs and economic relief bill collapsed in the Senate on Thursday after failing for the third time to break through a wall of Republicans who rejected repeated entreaties to join in advancing the $100 billion-plus package, including aid for cash-strapped states and the unemployed. 

How U.S. Can Launch A Manufacturing Renaissance
USA Today Opinion
By: Andrew N. Liveris
The latest jobs data showed weak private-sector growth — only 41,000 in May, far below expectations and a plunge from March and April. Manufacturers added an encouraging 29,000 of those. But without a national strategy, many lost manufacturing jobs are gone for good.

Recent Reports 

NCSL Reports

State Defined Contribution and Hybrid Pension Plans
June, 2010
By Ron Snell
The overwhelming majority of statewide retirement plans for public employees and for teachers are traditional defined benefit plans. These provide a guaranteed life-time retirement benefit based on an employee's years of service and final salary Although most statewide plans require employee contributions, the benefit is not tied directly to the amount of those contributions. The plans may include post-retirement benefit adjustments, disability and life insurance, and retiree health insurance, although not all do so.  This report looks at 2010 enacted legislation affecting state defined contribution and hybrid pension plans.

A number of states depart from that model. Nebraska did so as long ago as 1967, and Indiana’s public retirement plans have long had a component of individual retirement accounts along with a defined benefit component. Defined contribution plans, often called 401(k) plans, provide a retirement benefit that is based on an account an employee has built up through years of employment. In governmental plans, as a rule, both employers and employees contribute to the account, although this varies from state to state. The employee has some control over how the account is invested, usually on the basis of a menu of options. At retirement, the balance in the fund is the basis of the employee's retirement benefit. The sponsoring government does not guarantee a particular amount of benefit, and usually does not provide post-retirement benefit increases.

Such plans are relatively rare in state governments. This report lists state governments' defined contribution retirement plans designed as primary coverage for a group or class of state employees or state teachers: that is, it includes plans that eligible employees are required to join, or that are one of two or three alternative plans that employees choose among. Some states provide hybrid plans, in which employees are covered by both a defined benefit and a defined contribution plan. Details on the different structures of defined contribution and hybrid plans are below in the discussion on individual plans. The maps on the following pages indicate where such plans exist. 

This report does not include optional deferred compensation plans, like Section 457 plans, which all states offer employees and teachers as a means of augmenting primary pension coverage. Many states have offered defined contribution plans to higher education faculty; this report is not intended to include all such plans.

GAO Reports

International Trade: Exporters' Use of the Earned Import Allowance Program for Haiti Is Negligible because They Favor Other Trade Provisions
GAO-10-654, June 16, 2010

GAO Proactive Testing of ARRA Tax Credits for COBRA Premium Payments
GAO-10-804R, June 14, 2010

State-Level Information on Negative Home Equity and Loan Performance in the Nonprime Mortgage Market
GAO-10-633R, May 14, 2010

Private Pensions: Long-standing Challenges Remain for Multiemployer Pension Plans
GAO-10-708T, May 27, 2010

Recovery Act: States' and Localities' Uses of Funds and Actions Needed to Address Implementation Challenges and Bolster Accountability
GAO-10-604, May 26, 2010

Small Business Administration: Continued Attention Needed to Address Reforms to the Disaster Loan Program
GAO-10-735T, May 19, 2010

Congressional Budget Office Reports

Estimated Impact of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act on Employment and Economic Output from January 2010 Through March 2010
CBO Report May 2010

The Economic and Budget Outlook: May 2010
Presentation by CBO Director Doug Elmendorf to the 35th Annual AAAS Forum on Science and Technology Policy



Monday, July 26, 1:30 pm – 5:00 pm
Rags to Riches: Economic Growth and Vitality in Downtown Louisville
How did downtown Louisville go from almost ruins to one of the premiere destinations in the state?  You will learn the answer to this question and more during this session, including a presentation by Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson.  Immediately following the session will be an informative and spectacular tour of the dynamic Museum Row and Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory. 

Tentative Schedule:
1:30 pm – 2:30 pm: Brief History and Overview of Economic Development in Downtown Louisville
2:30 pm – 3:30 pm: Transportation and tour of Kentucky Museum of Arts and Crafts
3:30 pm – 4:45 pm:  Tour of Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory
4:45 pm – 5:00 pm: Transportation back to Kentucky International Convention Center 

All are welcome to the session, but the tour is limited to 45.  RSVP to Robert Strange.