April 5, 2018

With its rolling mountains and vibrant fall foliage, Vermont ranks as one of America’s most beautiful states. But while these sights attract thousands of visitors every year, they’re apparently not enough to convince some residents to remain in Vermont for the long term. In fact, the state’s labor force is smaller today than it was before the last recession. Young people have largely led this exodus, causing Vermont’s median age to become the second-highest in the nation. Combined with a Continue reading

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March 30, 2018

As anyone who’s ever worked in retail knows, dealing with unpredictable work hours can be a frustrating experience. At the Gap, for instance, schedules must be posted 10 days in advance but can change quickly if the staff must prepare for big events like sales promotions or visits from executives. Even during standard operating times this system is far from perfect, with employees uncertain if they’ll work the same shifts from one week to the next. “I don’t count on Continue reading

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March 27, 2018

Nobody ever plans on running late, especially when they’re headed for work. But even the most punctual employee can occasionally be tardy thanks to a faulty alarm clock or unexpected traffic. In fact, a recent CareerBuilder survey of human resource officers and regular staffers found that 25 percent of workers show up late at least once a month. 51 percent of these tardy employees blamed traffic for their delays, followed by oversleeping (31 percent) and bad weather (28 percent).

Along Continue reading

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March 20, 2018

If you love movies, then there’s a good chance you’ve never heard of the Sharknado series. After all, this Syfy franchise about tornados that scoop up hungry sharks probably won’t receive any Oscar nominations in the near future. But while Sharknado may be driven by a silly premise, the making of these movies is serious business. Along with hiring actors and designing sets, the producers must also bring in a crew that is capable of handling everything from setting up Continue reading

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February 16, 2018

Although Americans are known for spending a lot of time at their jobs, they’re not always working during those long hours behind a desk. In fact, a recent Harvard study found that 78 percent of surveyed employees experienced some type of idleness at work. This isn’t referring to laziness or procrastination: “We are talking about time at work when employees are supposed to be working, and available to work, but they are unable to,” said Andrew Brodsky, co-author of the Continue reading

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August 10, 2017

restaurantThe U.S. economy has managed to add thousands of jobs so far this year thanks to big gains in industries like construction and health care. But even these substantial sectors can’t compare to the robust growth of the restaurant industry, which has gained nearly 200,000 new jobs in 2017 alone. And unlike manufacturing or construction work, these jobs aren’t localized to a few lucky cities scattered across the nation. Instead, nearly every American metropolis has seen a boom in restaurant Continue reading

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June 16, 2017

In Japan you can buy almost anything from a vending machine: hot tea, sushi, umbrellas, even bread in a can. This video takes a look at the economic and cultural factors that have contributed to Japan’s vending obsession, such as an excess of coinage and a shortage of unskilled labor.

Questions:

  1. How does Japan’s low birth rate contribute to its vending machine culture?
  2. What are the advantages and disadvantages of relying so heavily on vending machines?
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For most non-rural people, the classic image of a dairy farm likely involves a solitary, bucket-toting farmer trudging out to the barn to milk the cows before dawn. As this video shows, though, modern American dairy farms are far more advanced than most city slickers would imagine. From automated milking machines to robot feeders, these high-tech tools help dairy farmers cut costs while also improving efficiency.

Questions:

 

  1. What are the advantages of automation on dairy farms?
  2. How have labor Continue reading
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April 27, 2017


bankers-regulatorsThe 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform act stands as one of the most complicated pieces of legislation ever devised. The law includes more than 22,000 pages of rules, which is equivalent to about 15 copies of Tolstoy’s epic novel
War and Peace. These guidelines tell banks how much money they must set aside, how they can advertise, what sort of investments they can make, and many other stipulations and requirements.

As you can imagine, keeping track of all those regulations Continue reading

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April 18, 2017

ibmIn the 1980s IBM was one of the first companies to make remote work a priority for its employees. Starting with “remote terminals” installed in staffers’ houses, by 2009 40 percent of the tech company’s 386,000 employees worked from home. In the process, IBM reduced office space by 78 million square feet and started saving $100 million in annual costs. Other companies took IBM’s lead and began to follow the remote trend as well. In fact, 25 percent of American Continue reading

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