Employment

Construction worker.
Naoya Fujii / Flickr - Creative Commons

Nationally the number of people employed in middle-wage jobs rose by 6 percent between 2001 and 2015. But the numbers in North Carolina went in the other direction. 

A picture of a hand holding a camcorder.
Peripitus / Wikipedia

A bill passed by the state legislature would allow business owners to sue employees who secretly record proceedings in the workplace or gain access to documents.

The Property Protection Act offer recourse against corporate espionage and organized retail theft. It would allow employers to sue for punitive damages of up to $5,000 per day.

The North Carolina Farm Bureau's Jake Parker says it would help protect pork and poultry producers from misrepresentation by animal rights activists working undercover at local operations.

Publix is one company with an employee stock ownership plan.
Mike Kalasnik / Flickr Creative Commons

In many workplaces, "the boss" is a board or group of investors.

But in a growing number of businesses, employees are taking ownership. Some use an employee stock ownership plan, or ESOP, and others use a cooperative structure.

 For companies like Southwest and Publix Super Markets, employee engagement is critical because employees are the bosses. The structure can also offer tax incentives.

Small business owners in North Carolina are more optimistic about their companies, but hiring remains stagnant.  A survey released yesterday from PNC Financial says nearly 30 percent of North Carolina businesses report that they are optimistic about their prospects for the next six months.  That's up from 15 percent last fall.  But PNC economist Mekael Teshome says the state's business outlook reflects the slow growth nationwide.

North Carolina has seen an increase in the number of women who graduate from college and work in managerial and professional positions. The Status of Women in North Carolina report shows some workplace improvements, while also detailing a gender wage gap as well as rise in female poverty and obesity.

A nnational report shows the number of working teenagers and young adults is at its lowest point in 50 years. 

Wage Theft

Sep 26, 2012

Wage theft has been called "America's silent crime wave." It’s when businesses steal from their employees through a variety of unconscionable methods. Twenty-six percent of low wage workers don't get paid the minimum wage they are entitled to by law. Seventy-six percent of the country's work force doesn't get paid for the over time they work.

A possible change to how university employees are classified has the UNC system and employee rights groups bickering.

Dave DeWitt: About 22,000 employees who work on the UNC system’s 17 campuses are classified in one of two categories. EPA employees are exempt from the state personnel act, SPA employees are not.

The UNC Board of Governors wants to streamline, and create one category. They say it will allow more local control and create a system that rewards the best employees and allows universities more flexibility in recruitment.

A global business outlook survey conducted by Duke University shows companies are beginning to hire again.

Leoneda Inge:  The quarterly Duke University, CFO Magazine Survey paints a much rosier jobs picture than in the past several quarters.  John Graham is a Finance professor at Duke and director of the survey.   He says Chief Financial Officers are optimistic in 2012.

Better incentives for economic development are one way to tackle North Carolina's high unemployment rate. That's according to the non-profit North Carolina Budget & Tax Center. Report author Allan Freyer says the state should change how it attracts companies.

Economists say the recession is officially over, but many people remain out of work and the unemployed are still feeling the effects of the down economy. But new research suggests that those who never lost their jobs are also still suffering. Some took on twice the responsibilities for no new pay or reduced pay. The effect of that kind of pressure has yet to be studied but experts suspect we will feel the strain at work and at home for years to come.