Labor and Economic Development Committee Report

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

Legislators
Chair:
Representative Juan Zapata, Florida
Vice-Chairs:
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

 

March 15, 2010
Vol. III, No. 3
 


COMMITTEE UPDATE   

NCSL Webinars:

State Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund Solvency
Friday, March 19, 2010 at 3:00 pm EST
Join us for this FREE 90-minute webinar on critical unemployment trust fund solvency issues facing the states. The webinar is hosted by the National Conference of State Legislatures, the National Governors Association, the National Association of State Workforce Agencies and the U.S. Department of Labor. Discussion will focus on state unemployment insurance trust fund management and strategies to address trust fund solvency. It is designed for individuals who may be new to the solvency issue or may like an update. Registration Information. Contact for more information: James Ward or 202-624-8683.

Recordings now available for the following recently presented webinars:
Pensions   
Friday, Feb. 19, 2010
This webinar discussed critical pension issues facing the states. Included was information from the Pew Center on the States’ hot-off-the press report on state pension liabilities and state actions to address them.

Unemployment Insurance: A Primer for States
Friday, Feb. 26, 2010
This webinar provided an overview of the unemployment insurance system and explored state options to deal with trust fund shortfalls.

NCSL 2010 Spring Forum

This year's Spring Forum will be held on April 8-10, 2010 at the Marriot Wardman Park in Washington, D.C. Below are relevant links for the meeting:
Labor and Economic Development Committee Agenda

• Online Registration

Hotel Cut off Extended to Tuesday, March 23: Call the hotel directly at 202-328-2000 to make reservations. Indicate that you are attending the "NCSL Conference" to receive the special room rate.

Committee Business Meeting, Friday, April 9 at 9:45 a.m.:
The Labor and Economic Development Committee will meet to consider the following expiring policy resolutions (As selected by committee members at Fall Forum), Employment Security System Funding and Free Trade and Federalism and other lobbying interests during its business meeting. Please take time to review the polices and the NCSL policy and procedures page on the website  before the meeting. Any new policies must be submitted by March 26, 2010 to be considered at the 2010 Spring Forum. If you have any additional questions please contact Diana Hinton Noel at 202-624-7779 in NCSL’s Washington, D.C. office.


IN THE NEWS

• U.S. Department of Labor to Define Green Jobs
Tuesday, March 16, 2010 – The U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Notice of Solicitation of Comments on a proposed definition of green jobs was made public at the Federal Register. More information can be found on BLS’s website. BLS will solicit public comments on the definition and approach BLS plans to use in measuring green jobs through the Federal Register Notice.

The comment period is open for 45 days. BLS’s Notice of Solicitation of Comments outlines its plans to use two approaches in identifying environmental economic activity and measuring associated jobs.

  • The output approach, which identifies establishments that produce green goods and services and counts the associated jobs. Green goods and services are classified in certain industries.
  • The process approach, which identifies establishments that use environmentally-friendly production processes and practices and counts the associated jobs. These processes may be used in any industry.

How to Submit Comments: Comments on BLS’ Notice should be sent to Richard Clayton, Office of Industry Employment Statistics,Bureau of Labor Statistics, Room 4840, 2 Massachusetts Avenue, NE., Washington, DC 20212; or by email to: green@bls.gov.

Grant Notification
The U.S. Department of Labor announced three new grant opportunities totaling $193.2 million:

  • $125 million in Community-Based Job Training grants
  • $1.2 million in Trade Adjustment Assistance grants
  • $67 million in Indian and Native American Employment and Training Program grants

For more information, please visit DOL's Grant Page.
 

 

Senate Approves Unemployment Extension in the Jobs Bill

On Wednesday, March 10, the Senate passed its version of the jobs bill (H.R. 4213) which included an extension of the Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC), the Federal Additional Compensation and the temporary funding provisions for the Federal-State Extended Benefits program. The EUC was extended to December 31, 2010. The full text of the unemployment provisions can be found on the GPO site.

The next test for H.R. 4213 is the U.S. House of Representatives. There is no clear indication whether leadership will schedule it for an immediate vote or go to conference. It’s leaning toward conference committee, meaning that final action on this measure could slip into late March or early April. One issue causing some concern is the offsets in H.R. 4213, some of which also show up in the Senate-passed health care reform bill. NCSL will track further developments closely. Keep current on these issues by going to NCSL’s budget/jobs webpage

Unemployment Situation

National Unemployment Remains at 9.7% for February 2010
The national unemployment rate remained at 9.7% for February 2010, according to figures released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics on March 5, 2010. The construction and retail trade sectors saw job losses, while the temporary services sector added jobs.The total number of unemployed remained little changed, at 14.9 million workers, as did long-term unemployment, with 6.4 million workers having been unemployed for 27 weeks or longer. National unemployment figures for March, 2010, will be released on Friday, April 2, 2010.

State Unemployment Figures for January, 2010
The Bureau of Labor Statistics released state unemployment figures for January on March 10, 2010. Thirty-six states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia saw increases, although most were statistically insignificant increases. On the bright side, 34 states have rates that are below the national average. Figures for February will be released on Friday, March 26, 2010.


RECENT REPORTS

New NCSL LegisBrief

Recovery Act Funding for Youth Employment

GAO Reports

• Recovery Act: One Year Later, States' and Localities' Uses of Funds and Opportunities to Strengthen Accountability (GAO-10-437, March 03, 2010)

• Native American Housing: Tribes Generally View Block Grant Program as Effective, but Tracking of Infrastructure Plans and Investments Needs Improvement (GAO-10-326, Feb. 25, 2010)

• Native American Housing: GAO Survey of Tribal Housing Officials (GAO-10-373SP, February 2010), an E-supplement to GAO-10-326 (GAO-10-373SP, Feb. 25, 2010)

• Support for Low-Income Individuals and Families: A Review of Recent GAO Work (GAO-10-342R, Feb. 22, 2010)


Congressional Budget Office Reports

• H.R. 4213, American Workers, State, and Business Relief Act of 2010

Estimated Impact of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act on Employment and Economic Output From October 2009 Through December 2009

Policies for Increasing Economic Growth and Employment in the Short Term


U.S. Department of Labor Reports

• Reinvesting in America's Youth: Lessons from the 2009 Recovery Act Summer Youth Employment Initiative (Full Report or Executive Summary)