Job fair: At an Amazon warehouse in Baltimore on Wednesday, thousands of people started lining up at 4 a.m. for the possibility of $14/hour job with benefits, as part of the e-commerce giant’s spree to hire 50,000 workers at a dozen fulfillment centers in areas including Fall River, Massachusetts; Buffalo; and Oklahoma City. The Washington Post reports:
Warehouse jobs typically pay about 31 percent more than retail jobs in the same county, and are more likely to hire black and Hispanic workers, according to Michael Mandel, chief economic strategist at the liberal-leaning Progressive Policy Institute. In many parts of the country, he said, new warehouse positions have more than made up for lost bricks-and-mortar jobs, where wages have been stagnating for years.
“I see this as a period of turmoil and upgrading,” he said. “Fulfillment center jobs are hard work—they’re physically taxing, but they pay well. This could actually be a real positive for income equality.”
- The same day, Amazon announced plans to hire 100,000 full-time workers over the next 18 months. (AP)
Fast food takeover: The new book Supersizing Urban America traces today’s obesity epidemic among black communities to federal programs of the 1960s that doled out funds to fast-food franchises like McDonald’s. Though the purported aim was to support black entrepreneurship in a time of urban unrest, the programs mostly ended up benefiting the fast-food giants with new markets. (The New Republic)
Who controls driverless cars?: A city-aligned coalition including Transportation for America and the National League of Cities is fighting against a bill in Congress “that would handcuff local governments’ ability to regulate self-driving vehicles on city streets,” Streetsblog says. The automakers and tech companies pushing the measure say it’s necessary for creating a unified national framework for the emerging industry.
Disconnected District: Lack of high-speed internet access is usually thought of as a rural problem, but it’s also an issue in Washington, D.C., where only 28.8 percent of adults have access, according to new research. But a city-run effort called Connect.DC is trying to chip away at the digital divide. (FiveThirtyEight)
Latinos in the South: Though the Latino population has been growing in much of the South, scattered areas—including Barbour County, Alabama and Chatham County, Georgia—have seen sharp drops that may be related to tough immigration laws enacted in 2011. (Stateline)
The urban lens:
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