Have a Criminal Record? It Soon Might Not Hold You Back From Getting a Job in NYC

Ines Njers via Compfight cc
A job can keep a man out of prison. The catch is that the people statistically most likely to go to prison--those who have spent time in prison before--are also the people statistically least likely to get a job. The studies vary a bit: the unemployment rate is somewhere between 50 and 75 percent for former prisoners a year after release.

The job market is competitive enough these days. An application with a check mark in that box beside "Have you ever been convicted of a crime?" is sometimes just one less application a prospective employer has to read.

New York City may even that playing field this week.

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Workin' 9 to 5: NYC Government Salaries Lag Behind Other Cities

Categories: Economics

The New York Times is comparing the salaries of New York City government workers to those working the same jobs in other cities. The good news, of course, is while they have less money, they do not have mo' problems. That is, if you concede to the arguments presented here. This is concerning when you consider that NYC municipal workers used to make more than their counterparts in some of these cities and also they work hard for their money. So hard for it honey.

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The Power of New York City's Farmers' Markets

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The scene at the Greenmarket at Brooklyn's Grand Army Plaza.
In a populist sense, a farmers' market is like the gastronomic version of a town hall; citizens come to barter with other citizens, trading locally grown strawberries instead of talking points. Every day of the week, you can find one of these fine establishments in almost every borough. It is a trend of the Great Recession: swap the supermarket for the cheaper, more utilitarian alternative. And, according to a report just released by Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, New York City is steamrolling this food upheaval forward as farmers' markets slowly take over public spaces.

The report states that there are now 138 farmers' markets in the Big Apple - a number that, statewide, has doubled to over 500 in the past decade. And this isn't just a metropolitan thing anymore: across the country, there are more than 7,000 farmers' markets operating daily; in 2000, there were about 2,000. Why such a spike?

"Farmers' markets boost local communities and promote a healthy and sustainable food system," DiNapoli said. "These markets enhance communities and the lives of those who live nearby."

So let's take a quote from Bill Clinton to answer that question: it's the economy, stupid.

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Big Apple's Unemployment Rate Hits 10% Again

We hate the phrase 'double-dip,' especially when it becomes an unfortunate reality.

In September of 2009, as President Obama's stimulus package was beginning to leak into the economy, New York City's unemployment rate hit its peak of 10.1% and stayed there for six months. Since then, the job numbers for the city hovered around 9.7% - dipping this past April to 9.5% for the first time - even as the start-up craze and Brooklyn cultural explosion continued to consume New York's attention. 

But, this past May, it was evident that we were backing ourselves up into the same old corner of 2009, with figures pointing to a 9.7% unemployment rate. And June's number all but proved that the City might stil be in the economic shitter.

According to the Labor Department's reports this past week, it looks like New York is returning to the gloomy heights of yesteryear. Yes, five months before Election Day, a tenth of the metropolis's labor force, or 370,000 residents, is once again on the unemployment line at a rate that is 1.8 percent points higher than the national average. However, the numbers from the report paint an interesting dualism between stagnation and production.

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John Liu is Concerned About Income Inequality; Mayor Bloomberg Says We Need the One Percent

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Sam Levin
Mayor Mike Bloomberg takes questions today at Google's headquarters in Manhattan.
Today, City Comptroller John Liu and Mayor Mike Bloomberg talked about the actual one percent of New York City. And unsurprisingly, they differ in their views on how the wealthiest top percent of New Yorkers impact the city's economy.

Liu, who is expected to run for mayor in 2013, released a report today on income disparity in the city, finding that the top one percent of income tax filers receive one-third of all city personal income -- a share which his office says is nearly twice the national average. The report, called "Income Inequality in New York City," -- drawing on Occupy Wall Street rhetoric -- found that nationally, the top one percent accounts for 16.9 percent of income, while in New York, the richest percent account for 32.5 percent of reported income in 2009 (which is the most recent data available from the state).

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Was Colonial America 'Egalitarian'?

America might have had a lot more in common with Sweden than IKEA furniture and H&M clothing, according to new research.

Two economists now say that the Founding Fathers' nation was "more egalitarian than anywhere else in the measurable world," reports Reuters (via New York Times.)

Hm. This sounds rather strange, considering that Colonial America had arguably the most inegalitarian institution ever -- slavery. Some researchers insist, however, they have financial data to back up claims that the U.S. was "a great country for the 99 percent, particularly compared with the folks back in the old country."

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Happy May Day: NY Post Columnist Nicole Gelinas Argues Against Living Wage Bill (Of Course)

No shocker here, but a New York Post op-ed contributor is peddling the same misleading bullshit about minimum wage increases that opponents always peddle.

Enter Nicole Gelinas.

Raising minimum wage -- as per the Fair Wages for New Yorkers Act -- is "left-wing social engineering." (Classic Post prose, really.)

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Veto! Bloomberg Rejects Wage Bills, Says City Council Proposal Would Kill Jobs

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via nyc.gov feed.
As expected, Mayor Mike Bloomberg today vetoed the City Council's wage legislation, but unlike his past public comments on the matter, he didn't go so far as to compare the bills to Communism.

Still, if the legislation passes, Bloomberg will sue.

The proposals in question were the prevailing and living wage bills, which essentially would require that businesses pay employees higher wages -- $10 an hour plus benefits, instead of the current $7.25 minimum hourly wage -- at some city-subsidized developments.

The bills are significant because they have come to represent a politically important challenge for City Council Speaker Quinn, a mayoral hopeful who has been forced to navigate the competing interests of business and labor leaders in negotiating the legislation. Additionally, the living wage battle has pitted the mayor against Quinn, who has typically been seen as the potential successor most aligned with Bloomberg's views, especially given their pro-business records.

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America Added 120,000 Jobs in March: Is This Good or Bad?

In March, the U.S. added 120,000 more jobs, just released Bureau of Labor stats indicate. Now, this sure sounds like a lot, but compared to February -- when America's payroll swelled by 240,000 jobs -- this turns out not to be all that exuberant.

But is this cause for concern or disappointment?

Economists were banking on continued employment growth in March -- and hoped for 200,000 new positions.

Still, the national unemployment rate dipped to 8.2 percent, down from 8.3 percent in February -- def a step in the right direction.

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Facing Onslaught of Negative Press, Comptroller John Liu Delivers Policy Speech

Sam Levin
Comptroller John Liu at his State of the City speech.
Bad timing for Comptroller John Liu.

Yesterday, news broke that Xing Wu Pan, a fundraiser for the campaign of Liu -- a likely mayoral candidate -- was indicted on federal wire fraud charges.

The Daily News also dug deeper into the departure of Liu's top deputy, who allegedly was clashing with the comptroller's chief campaign bundler.

All this, a day before Liu delivered his State of the City speech -- a move seen as an effort to move away from the negative publicity and focus on citywide policy issues that could set the groundwork for his mayoral campaign.

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