Catherine Ruetschlin

Catherine Ruetschlin is a senior policy analyst at Demos

Recent Articles

Fast Food Shouldn't Mean Low Wages

From Burger King to Walmart , the low-wage workers we depend on to staff America’s consumption-driven economy are tired of being overworked and underpaid, and they are letting their bosses know. Early this morning, fast-food workers in New York City went on strike across more than half a dozen chains, including McDonald’s, Burger King, Domino’s, KFC, Taco Bell, Wendy’s and Papa John’s. Backed by community groups like New York Communities for Change , United NY , and the Black Institute , as well as various representatives of religious organizations, fast food workers are asking for a chance to work with dignity in an industry notorious for its fast pace, low wages , and often erratic scheduling. Also notorious for high turnover , fast food workers have historically had a difficult time organizing for better conditions. As reported by Steve Greenhouse at The New York Times : Leaders of the effort said that workers were walking off the job to protest what they said were low wages and...

Your Young Adult Employment Report for October 2012

This month’s employment report points to a trend of job growth crawling just barely above our low expectations for recovery, which is good news for Millennials returning to the labor pool after years of flagging participation. And—surely this counts for something—we were spared a repeat of September’s politicized BLS paranoia . According to the October numbers, the employment gains average 170,000 jobs per month since August, a better showing than previously thought and supporting last month’s revisions for the summer. Although a swift labor revival remains elusive, at this point in the recovery, the prospect of restoring pre-recession employment rates sometime around the beginning of the next decade seems like a boon. Millennials, who are now flowing back into the labor market after yet another listless summer, appear to be looking on the bright side. In October unemployment rates increased for 20 to 24-year-olds (from 12.4 percent in September to 13.2 percent) and 25 to 34-year-olds...

Good News For Grads in the Jobs Report

(Demos DataByte)
While the September jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics provided plenty of political ammunition, it remains an ambiguous signal about the current labor market. Young people, who are at a disadvantage when hiring is slack, tend to fare worse in such good news/bad news situations. They confront the same challenges as the working population overall, but are not as well-positioned to endure them. In this case those obstacles include weak growth, persistent rates of long-term unemployment, and a substantial rise in workers holding part-time positions because they cannot find the full-time work they need. Young adults have less job experience and lower savings than older workers, making them more likely to accept employment that provides the bare minimum they need to get by—not the best situation for someone looking to launch a career or start a family. But in addition to sharing the challenges, this month workers ages 20 to 34 experienced the same positive outcomes as did the...

I Went to School for This?

A broader approach is needed to give students with debt the same opportunities their parents had.

For those who make the investment, college graduation is supposed to signify the transition from training for life to living it. But for many young adults in the class of 2012, this year’s ceremony will be more like an anticlimax. According to a new analysis of government data by the Associated Press , more than half of young college grads are either not working or working in jobs that don’t offer them enough hours, enough pay, or the promise of a future career. The AP reports: Young adults with bachelor's degrees are increasingly scraping by in lower-wage jobs -- waiter or waitress, bartender, retail clerk or receptionist, for example -- and that's confounding their hopes a degree would pay off despite higher tuition and mounting student loans. The report reveals a harsh reality for students, their parents, and an economy that needs trained workers in high-skill jobs. Today, young people facing job and income insecurity put off decisions that were once the hallmarks of maturity, such...