comscore Low jobless rate masks financial struggles | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
Briefs | Business

Low jobless rate masks financial struggles

WASHINGTON >> Despite an ultralow 3.9 percent unemployment rate, about one-third of U.S. adults faced financial insecurity last year and often struggled to pay unexpected expenses, a Federal Reserve survey found.

For 3 in 10 adults, their monthly incomes fluctuated — often because their work schedules changed at short notice — and that caused about 1 in 10 Americans to miss some bill payments, according to the report released Tuesday. Forty percent of adults would have had to borrow money or sell something to pay an emergency expense of just $400.

The data suggest that financial security evades even many of those who are working. About one-third of U.S. adults relied on “gig” work or side jobs last year to bolster their incomes. Fewer than 4 of 10 Americans think their retirement savings are sufficient, and a quarter have none at all, the Fed survey found.

At the same time, the survey finds the improving economy is benefiting more Americans, at all education and income levels. Nearly three-quarters of U.S. adults say they are either “living comfortably” or “doing OK” financially, up from 71 percent in 2016 and 10 points higher than when the annual survey began in 2013.

Democrats offer way to fund teachers’ raises

WASHINGTON >> Responding to teacher walkouts across the country, congressional Democrats on Tuesday proposed raising teachers’ salaries by canceling the tax cut for the nation’s top 1 percent of earners.

The Republican-controlled Congress was unlikely to support the idea of giving states and school districts $50 billion over a decade to fund the teacher raises at the expense of dismantling the hard-won tax bill.

But the proposal gives Democrats an issue they can use ahead of the November midterm elections. Teachers have won widespread support, even in conservative areas, as they complain about low pay.

McDonald’s workers file harassment claims

NEW YORK >> Energized by the #MeToo movement, two national advocacy groups are teaming up to lodge sexual harassment complaints against McDonald’s on behalf of 10 women who have worked at the fast food restaurant in nine cities.

The workers — one of them a 15-year-old from St. Louis — alleged groping, propositions for sex, indecent exposure and lewd comments by supervisors. According to their complaints, when the women reported the harassment, they were ignored or mocked, and in some cases suffered retaliation.

The legal effort was organized by Fight for $15, which campaigns to raise pay for low-wage workers. The complaints, filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, were announced Tuesday, two days ahead of the company’s annual shareholder meeting in Oak Brook, Ill.

ON THE MOVE

Rose Kirland, district director for Toastmasters Hawaii, has announced the following two members as the organization’s advertising, marketing anchors for District 49 Toastmasters’ 2017-2018 term:

>> Robert Cravalho is a retired Honolulu police officer with more than 30 years of service. His expertise is in executive leadership, conflict management and administrative communication. Cravalho also has been a member of Toastmasters for 13 years and served as a district governor for District 49. He became one of 75 accredited speakers in the world last year and is the first member from District 49 to obtain the title.

>> Daena Davis is a human resources manager for GSI Service Group and has been with the company for nearly four years. Davis also has been a member of the Downtown Business Associates Toastmasters for the past two years and is their vice president of education.

Atlas Insurance Agency has announced that Sharilyn Tanaka has been promoted to vice president of AOAO and Personal Lines. She has joined Atlas as a Personal Lines account manager 10 years ago and has progressed through several management positions. Tanaka is also a member of Toastmasters, Community Associations Institute, Community Council of Maui and Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM Hawaii).

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