1. Home health aides and personal care aides are the two fastest growing jobs in the United States. The number of these jobs is expected to grow 70% between 2010 and 2020, according to forecasts from the Department of Labor. The growth has a lot to do with aging Baby Boomers who will need more care-giving in coming years and don’t want to move into nursing homes. As the New York Times reports, “six million of the 40 million Americans older than 65 need some form of daily assistance to live outside a nursing home. Federal officials estimate that the number will double to 12 million by 2030.”
2. The median rate a home-care agency charges a family for a licensed home health aide is $19 an hour. The median rate charged for a licensed personal care aide is $18 an hour.
3. The median wage for home health and personal care aides was $9.70 an hour, and $20,170 a year in 2010, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. About 20 states exempt home care workers from their wage and hour laws. A national survey of domestic workers in 2012 found that 23% were paid below the state minimum wage. 70% were paid less than $13 an hour.
4. Nearly 40% of home care workers rely on public benefits such as Medicaid and food stamps, according to former Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis. In a national survey of domestic workers (including home care workers) 20 percent report that there were times in the previous month when there was no food to eat in their homes because there was no money to buy any.
5. Until last week, if you worked as a home health aide or personal care aide, you were not covered by federal minimum wage and overtime laws.* That’s because your job, which commonly includes things like changing bed-pans, bathing and preparing meals for an elderly or disabled person, had been classified in the same category as casual baby-sitting, and was thus exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act. Last week, the Obama administration announced new rules that will, in most cases, reclassify home care work, and extend minimum wage laws and overtime coverage to those aiding elderly and disabled people in their homes. *The new rules go in to effect in 2015.
6. Minimum wage and overtime laws still won’t apply to you if you’re hired directly by a household, and provide mostly “fellowship and protection” to an elderly or disabled patient. The new rules the Obama administration set last week will apply to all home care aides hired through outside agencies. Most aides fall in to that category. But, if you are hired directly by a household, the rules will only apply if you provide mostly “care” as opposed to mostly “fellowship and protection.” Meaning, you’ll get overtime and minimum wage protection if you spend most of your time doing things like dressing, grooming, feeding and “toileting” a patient or assisting them with taking medications, preparing meals, and light housework. If most of your work for the patient involves things like playing cards with them, reading to them, and taking them out on walks, you won’t be covered under minimum wage or overtime laws.
7. Until 1974, federal minimum wage laws excluded an even wider range of domestic workers employed directly by a household—including housekeepers, cooks or gardeners. In 1974, Congress extended those laws to cover many domestic service workers, but certain kinds of work within that category were left out, including home care workers who tended to the elderly or disabled.
8. Domestic workers weren’t eligible for Social Security benefits until the 1950s, even though Congress passed the Social Security Act in 1935. In 1950, the law was extended to cover domestic workers regularly employed by a single employer. In 1954, domestic workers with jobs at multiple employers were also included. Farm work took a similar path.
The world's largest cruise line has experienced a series of problems aboard its ships, ranging from fires and power outages at sea to the wreck of the Costa Concordia.
The country is the crossroads of East Africa, it has strong ties to the West, and it sent troops into Somalia's endless war. For all these reasons, Kenya was vulnerable to attack from al-Shabab, the Somali militia tied to al-Qaida.
The country is the crossroads of East Africa, it has strong ties to the West and it sent troops into Somali's endless war. For all these reasons, Kenya was vulnerable to attack from al-Shabab, the Somali militia tied to al-Qaida.
Happy cows may come from California, but dairy farmers and cheese producers are at odds with each other over the state's decades-old pricing system. Hundreds of California dairies have gone out of business because of low milk prices.
Hank Van Exel grew up on a large dairy farm his father started in Lodi, California. Beneath a cap that reads Swinging Udders Veternarian Services, his face wears an easy smile. Except when he talks about the recent fortunes of almost a fifth of the state's dairy farms.
"It was devastating," he says, "to see how many of these people have lost everything that their parents have built up."
Van Exel leads me around his farm, where calves moo expectantly at feeding time. Van Exel says the state's pricing system has broken in recent years. "Our feed has jumped over 100 percent, and our milk is as low as it was in the 70's," he says.
On top of that, state and federal milk pricing systems don't treat all milk equally. When California's pricing was created, 60 percent of its milk ended up in cartons. Now drinking milk accounts for just 14 percent. Cheese is now the biggest slice of California's milk market. But under the historic pricing formula, milk used for cheese fetches the lowest price.
In the Depression, that pricing was an incentive to get rid of surplus milk. But now the main buyers of milk also get the lowest price.
Rob Vandenheuvel, with the Milk Producers Council, says the gap between California's cheese milk price and the federal guideline has grown significantly.
"At the end of the day," he says, "we're looking for, how do we get a fair price to our dairy farmers?"
Rachel Kaldor is with the Dairy Institute of California. She says cheese processors agree pricing needs to change. But they now sell throughout the world and have to stay competitive.
"Let us be able to value these products in the market," she says. "We need that milk and we will pay for that milk and we will pay for it in a way that keeps that dairyman in business."
California has an economist working on different milk pricing options right now. And dairy farmer Van Exel says that can't happen soon enough.
Airbus, the second-largest aircraft-maker, says that in 20 years China will overtake the U.S. as the world's top aviation market. The estimates are similar to projections issued by Airbus' bigger rival, Boeing, earlier this year.
It's been a week since a shooting at Washington, D.C.'s Navy Yard left 13 people dead, including the gunman. But is there a consensus forming on how to stop these attacks from happening again? Host Michel Martin speaks with former Congressman Asa Hutchinson; Ron Honberg of the National Alliance on Mental Illness; and the National Crime Prevention Council's Ann Harkins.
The online marketplace for health insurance is scheduled to open in one week. But people are still confused about what that means, and how the Affordable Care Act will affect them. Host Michel Martin runs through health care Q & A with Mary Agnes Cary of Kaiser Health News.
The online marketplace for health insurance is scheduled to open in one week. But people are still confused about what that means and how the Affordable Care Act will affect them. Host Michel Martin runs through a health care Q&A with Mary Agnes Cary of Kaiser Health News.
A college student will be able to shop for health insurance on one of the exchanges planned to open for business in October. But depending on the family's financial circumstances, he may be better off staying on his parents' plan or looking into Medicaid.
Four people have now been charged in connection with Thursday's shooting at Cornell Square Park on the city's South Side. Thirteen people were wounded in the incident, which police say is likely gang-related.
There have been more than 60 mass shootings in the U.S. since 1982; in only one instance was the shooter female. Researchers say that may be because men who want to harm people are more likely than women to use lethal weapons, like guns, and are more likely to blame others for their problems.
Nations will disagree about when and how to stop tyrants from committing mass murder, the president told the U.N. General Assembly. But he made the case that the international community must do more to prevent atrocities. Obama also used his address to say the U.S. is encouraged by signs of moderation from Iran.
A new bill passed in California aims to protect minors from having a permanent record of photos and phrases they might regret. The law signed this week will take effect starting in 2015. It requires website operators to erase posts by the minors who request it. It'll also deliver more restrictions for product advertisements that minors will see online. But the bill does not require websites to delete posts from their servers or delete re-posts by a third party.
Janell Burley Hofmann, a mother of five who also teaches technology workshops, joins Marketplace Tech host Ben Johnson to discuss.
The 7.7-magnitude temblor struck the southern part of the country. Although there are reports of deaths, it could be several days before the full extent of any damage and destruction is known.
The housing sector remains one of the U.S. economy's bright spots. In major cities across the nation, prices in July were up a bit more than 12 percent on average from a year ago.
Facebook is experimenting with a new service called “Autofill with Facebook.” The idea is if you want to buy something on an app, instead of having to enter in all your payment info, you just log in with Facebook. And zap, everything is filled out.
Right now, the social media giant has only partnered with two apps. But, more importantly, Facebook is making a move into what's known as “frictionless payment," which has become the holy grail of online retail. To understand “frictionless payment,” it’s worth remembering what it used to be like to shop on, says Rebecca Lieb, an analyst at the Altimeter Group.
She says in the early days, before eBay bought PayPal, “When you purchased something on eBay, you then had to navigate over to PayPal, sign into your PayPal account, find the auction you just won...”
If Lieb's sheer explanation is enough to make you tune out, you can imagine how the shoppers felt! eBay eventually bought PayPal and now, everything’s just a couple clicks away.
If you've ever bought anything on Amazon or iTunes, you know they are masters of frictionless payment.
“They make transactions faster and easier and also more impulsive,” says Lieb.
And don't I know it. I look at half the songs I have downloaded from iTunes and wonder where they came from. Then I remember the party where everyone was asking if I had this song and that song. That was all it took. Click!
“They’re trying to attract more advertisers to their platform,” Yeager said. “They want to be able to prove that if somebody sees an advertisement within a few clicks they can have a very seamless path to purchase.”
Yaeger says Facebook and Twitter are a long way off. But, he says, if they can make it super easy on to click an ad and buy, especially on a a mobile device, then they'll have a huge advantage over print and TV with advertisers.
The latest Case-Shiller housing index report is out. Long story short, housing prices are going up, but slowly. Interest rates are also on the rise. Not good news for buyers and lenders. Citigroup just announced that it laid off 1,000 employees, all of them from its mortgage division. Several of the country's biggest banks are trimming their mortgage operations. It's the result of big changes happening in the world of refinancing.
If you go back about 20 years and look at mortgage applications, you would find that the vast majority, 80 percent, were new home purchase loans and the rest were refinancings. Today it's nearly the opposite. Only about 30 percent of all mortgage applications are new purchase loans.
"We've had this prolonged refinancing boom because mortgage rates just continued to hit new lows, and a lot of people kept refinancing over and over again," says Greg McBride, a senior analyst with Bankrate.com.
The result of the refinancing boom was that banks hired more employees, and over time the mortgage divisions generated a larger portion of the banks' profits. "Think of it almost like a seesaw in the respect that when rates are really low, refinancing takes off," says McBride.
And now that interest rates are rising, the demand for refinancing is dropping, says Jed Kolko, chief economist at Trulia. "And typically when you have a mortgage rate spike of half a point in a month, which is a big increase but that's what we've had in May and June, refinancing rates tend to drop by almost half."
So what does all this mean for the housing market? For homeowners, it means that refinancing will save them less. For banks, it means they will be looking for ways to make up for the decline in revenue in their mortgage divisions. "I expect we are going to see some banks increasing their home purchase lending, making it easier than it has been to get a mortgage for people that are looking to buy a home," says Kolko.
According to the new Case-Shiller report, that home will cost about 2 percent more than it did last month.
World leaders are gathering for the U.N. General Assembly in New York this week and questions continue to swirl around a possible meeting between President Barack Obama and his Iranian counterpart, Hassan Rouhani. The U.S. and Iran have had icy relations for years, but Rouhani has hinted, however tentatively, that a thaw may be possible. Analysts say U.S. sanctions on Iran, including a trade embargo that bans many Iranian companies from doing business in the U.S., have hit Iran's economy hard. Companies that flout the embargo risk having their assets seized.
Last week, a federal judge in New York said the government can seize a 36-story Fifth Avenue Manhattan skyscraper that is partly owned by The Assa Corporation. The judge called Assa a front for Iran's state-owned Bank Melli.
The U.S. government can seize anything from racehorses to sports cars, said Charles Intriago, president of the Association of Certified Financial Crime Specialists. Typically, he said, U.S. Marshals are assigned to watch over those assets, though in some cases the work is contracted out.
"There have been racehorses seized, for example," he said. "The marshals may not know much about keeping thoroughbred racehorses. They will hire some folks to make sure those horses are maintained in top condition."
That a company with links to Iran might attempt to conduct business in the U.S., given the tensions between the two nations, might strike some as surprising, but Patrick Clawson of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, says it may be more common than assumed.
"There have been some stunning bank accounts," Clawson said. "You have to go -- what was crossing their mind when they opened that bank account. People aren't very bright."
Clawson's awareness of those accounts stems from his service as an expert witness in the court cases of Americans who have been victims of terror attacks that are proven to have ties to Iran, such as the 1983 bombing of the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut, Lebanon. Since the mid-'90s, the U.S. government has allowed victims to sue, to claim some part of the billions of dollars in seized Iranian assets.
"Increasingly," Clawson said, "the courts have ordered the banks to hand that money over to these victims of Iranian-sponsored terrorism, who have now collected hundreds of millions of dollars. And the Iranian government is not happy about this process."
This week, the Chinese government will open the country's first 'free trade zone' in Shanghai. It will be an area of deregulation where foreign companies will be able to sell products and services without import duties or taxes. Marketplace's China Bureau Chief Rob Schmitz says the move has those in the foreign buisness community optimistic -- but they know it won't make business in the region a cake walk.
"There is a lot of skepticism because nobody knows the specifics of how exactly this is going to make selling your products easier in China," he says.
Schmitz says China may utilize this free trade zone to give global financial markets a go at determining the value of its currency -- something U.S. lawmakers have been pushing China to do for years to allow American products to better compete with Chinese products. But Schmitz says, don't hold your breath.
"China has always been very, very cautious about loosening control on its currency for fear that it would have a broad, negative impact on its economy."
Marketplace China Bureau Chief Rob Schmitz joins Marketplace host David Brancaccio to discuss.