As Consumer Sentiment Drops, White House Launches Apprenticeship Push
June 17, 2017
President Trump signed his executive order promoting apprenticeships in the U.S. The Senate is trying to work in a more bipartisan fashion. Both consumer sentiment and U.S. exports to Mexico are down.
- Executive order doubles spending on apprenticeship programs. President Trump’s labor policy is built on the idea that not all young people need four-year college degrees, and is investing heavily in apprenticeships and career training. The new budget for apprenticeship programs will rise to $200 million, despite President Trumps plan to cut the overall budget of the Department of Labor by $1.27 billion. The Labor Department has traditionally provided guidelines for companies planning on investing in apprenticeship programs, and the Trump Administration plans to do the same, although with a lighter touch than in the past. Wages for those in apprenticeship programs are usually about $15/hour, and 90% of those who participate in programs are offered jobs. Many companies are supportive of internships, especially those from other countries with strong programs, like Germany. [WSJ]
- Senators push for debate on health care bill. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is looking to bring Republicans and Democrats together next week to discuss the future of healthcare in the United States. He has invited the entire Senate to the historic Old Chamber in an attempt to bring both parties back to the table. In the past, each side has chosen to cut out their counterparts in drafting and discussing legislation. Recently, however, the lack of deliberation has been extreme, with no public hearings set for the new American Health Care Act. It is unclear whether or not any Republicans will attend the meeting. Some in the GOP have become increasingly concerned about how the new bill is being drafted so secretly. Mitch McConnell is expected to call for a vote on the bill before July 4th. [Politico]
Economic Indicators & News
- U.S. consumer sentiment has largest drop since October. The honeymoon period of consumer sentiment following the election of President Trump seems to have ended with a drop of 2.6 points. This is the first time since the election that more people expect a recession in the next five years than continued expansion. The respondents seemed to follow partisan lines, however, with 80% of Democrats reporting seeing negative economic news and 83% of Republicans reporting seeing positive economic news. 42% of respondents expect to see financial gains in the next year, however, which is a new high. [Bloomberg]
- Agricultural exports to Mexico drop for the first time in four years. The NAFTA partner is the third largest market for U.S. agricultural exports and saw overall volume drop by 6%. The U.S. agricultural industry has been struggling recently due to low prices and high supply. Mexico has increased its trading with South American partners, specifically Brazil. The country has also been making more short term orders, as prices in the U.S. are not expected to rise in the foreseeable future. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Purdue has been working with his counterparts in Canada and Mexico to boost exports and has invited them to Savannah, Georgia, to discuss trade going forward. [WSJ]