Friday Roundup: CA tax credits, robots, wage & benefits increase, tech apprenticeships, June jobs numbers

There are always a few items we’ve read during the week that deserve more attention but don’t make it into our regular posts. So we bundle them for the Friday roundup.

Here’s this week’s bundle:

Los Angeles Times: State’s economic development agency moves ahead on diversity rules for tax credits, but not without some criticism

The state agency in charge of handing out hundreds of millions of dollars in tax credits to companies that promise Californians jobs is moving closer to requiring those businesses to say how they plan to make their workforce more diverse.

Businesses soon will have to describe their hiring and recruiting practices to ensure women and people of color have equal access to jobs as part of their applications for tax dollars, according to a plan unveiled last month by GoBiz, the state’s economic development department. The new rules are expected to be in place by November.

Seattle Times: A scary glance at the job market of 2035

The World Bank predicts that 47 percent of U.S. jobs are at risk of automation…But this is relatively small. According to the bank, 77 percent of the jobs in China are at risk; 72 percent in Thailand; 69 percent in India, and 85 percent in Ethiopia. The average for advanced OECD nations is 57 percent.

The article states, “For the authors of the report, creativity is an increasingly sought after skill, while the employment landscape in 2035 will work ‘to the advantage of tomorrow’s entrepreneur.’“

Washington Research Council: Washington average wage increases — so will UI benefits and taxes and workers’ comp COLAs 

Last week the Employment Security Department (ESD) reported that the state’s average annual wage was $56,273 in 2015 (a 2.6 percent increase over the previous year)… According to ESD, for new claims, the minimum weekly unemployment benefit will increase from $158 to $162 and the maximum weekly unemployment benefit will increase from $664 to $681. Additionally, for 2017, unemployment taxes will be paid by employers on the first $45,000 of an employee’s wages. Washington’s taxable wage base was $44,000 in 2016 (the highest in the nation).

Today the Department of Labor and Industries announced that due to the average wage increase, workers’ compensation time-loss and pension benefits will increase by 2.6 percent.

Seattle Times: Two new apprenticeship programs in Seattle area aim to launch tech careers

Both Seattle Central College and the Washington Technology Industry Association (WTIA), a trade association, will use on-the-job training, via apprenticeships, to teach coding and other tech skills. The programs are being billed as a way to get more local residents to join Seattle’s booming, lucrative tech industry — without having to earn a computer-science degree.

National Association of Manufacturers: The June Jobs Numbers Provided Mixed News on the Labor Market

The June jobs numbers provided mixed news on the labor market, but more than anything, they suggest that the U.S. economy remains much weaker than desired, particularly for manufacturing. On the positive side, manufacturers added 14,000 workers in June, which was encouraging. Yet, the sector has lost 24,000 employees through the first six months of 2016 – a sign that business leaders remain cautious in light of global headwinds and soft demand and production growth.