This interesting article dissects the BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics) monthly report. Truck job growth might be slowing, but warehouse jobs are declining. Is that due to increased automation? Or is it due to fewer people wanting the jobs, when the economy has so many others?
One good thing in this article is a discussion of the seasonally adjusted number in comparison to the absolute number. Economists consider the seasonally adjusted number more important for forecasting and for deducing the economics of the situation. However, we do what to know the absolute number of reports.
The BLS reports are always of some interest, and this article captures the facts nicely.
The labor strike at the port of Felixstowe in the UK is growing more acrimonious. German ports of Hamburg and Bremerhaven are also seeing industrial actions. The current negotiations on the US West coast are also not seeing results yet. And there are impending strikes at Liverpool and the East Coast US looming.
I think there are going to be more of these strikes and actions for more pay and better benefits for port workers.
From the union perspective, when is a better time to strike? When congestion is a problem, when everyone is complaining about missed or late delivery, that is clearly the time to get management to cough up more wages and benefits. And the ocean carriers and port terminal operators are clearly making big money from the high freight rates for containers. some ocean lines have made over 100% profit this past year.
And it’s also true that the recent spate of inflation is making even substantial proposed raises seem paltry. Inflation at 10% makes a single-digit percent raise going backward for workers.
Abandoning your crew is an awful thing to do. Yet around the world there are frequent cases. This year has been one of the worst. The usual motivation is a cash shortage, or bankruptcy.
Most ships are incorporated as separate companies. That allows the owner to declare bankruptcy of the ship without jeopardizing his wealth. But guess who is paying the seamens’ wages? The ship. It’s too easy.
The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) has been working hard for seafarers for many years. They count the number of seafarers whose wages go unpaid for more than two months. That’s the definition of abandonment of the seafarers.
Maritime is a wild world; seafarers deserve fair treatment, and it’s useful that some group is trying to look out for them.