Friday Facts and Figures: November 8, 2019

Friday Facts and Figures is a brief digital newsletter focusing on data points from NJPP reports, research, and policy debates in New Jersey and beyond.
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At Least 1 Year

On Thursday, the Senate Labor Committee will consider a bill that would all but guarantee the suspension of New Jersey’s $15 minimum wage. The proposal, S3607, would pause the phase in of the minimum wage for at least one year if broad and arbitrary metrics are hit: any increase in unemployment and any annual drop in sales tax receipts. NJPP President Brandon McKoy had this to say about the bill: “With income inequality at an all time high, this bill moves New Jersey in the wrong direction and rolls back one of the most consequential, pro-worker policies in state history less than a year after it was signed into law.” [NJPP / Brandon McKoy]


New York City’s restaurant industry is thriving, further proving that a $15 minimum wage helps workers and businesses alike. Restaurant revenue and employment are up, as low-paid workers have more money to eat out and restaurants do not have to raise prices much to pay higher wages. According to Nicole Hallett, employment law professor at the University at Buffalo, “a pay increase for low-wage workers doesn’t have to be a zero sum game. In fact, evidence suggests that everyone can win.” [Business Insider / Nicole Hallett]

Two Thirds

Even with a higher minimum wage, unpredictable work schedules disrupt the work-life balance of far too many workers in New Jersey. Employers in low-paid sectors, like food service and retail, increasingly use software to “microadjust” workers’ schedules based on things like customer traffic, sales, and the weather. This results in workers getting called in for shifts with little to no notice, with some even being told to go home once they get to work due to a new microadjustment. A recent study by the University of California found that workers of color, particularly women, are much more likely to be assigned irregular work schedules, and that two thirds of service workers get less than two weeks’ notice of when they have to work. [Politico NJ / Katherine Landergan]


Approximately 400,000 immigrants from El Salvador, Honduras, and Haiti are under threat of deportation if the Trump administration succeeds in ending their Temporary Protective Status (TPS) protections. The Trump administration wanted to end TPS protections for these refugees in time for the 2020 election, according to a new Senate Foreign Relations Committee report commissioned by Senator Bob Menendez. The report includes internal State Department documents showing that senior State Department officials and career diplomats repeatedly warned the administration that ending TPS protections would put national security, foreign relations, and American-born children at risk. [ / Jonathan D. Salant]


New research finds that Medicaid expansion has saved the lives of at least 19,00 adults aged 55 to 64 between 2014 and 2017. Over the same four year period, 15,600 adults died prematurely in states that decided not to expand Medicaid. The authors of the study note that even this research may undercount the full effects of Medicaid expansion, as prolonged exposure to Medicaid results in increasing health improvements. Regardless, the findings make it clear that increased access to health care saves lives. [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities / Matt Broaddus and Aviva Aron-Dine]


Hundreds of people rallied outside the State House on Thursday as advocates renewed their push for driver’s license expansion. Allowing all residents—regardless of immigration status—the ability to get a driver’s license would result in a stronger economy and safer roads as more drivers are trained, tested, and insured. This is a policy proposal to keep an eye on in this year’s lame duck session. [WHYY / Joe Hernandez]

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