Afternoon Coffee: Today’s Millenials, “Made in China” Spending, Samsung Violates Labor Laws

Oh, great.
Are Today's Millennials The 'Screwed Generation'? -- U.S. student loan debt tops $1 trillion, and young people face disproportionately high unemployment. Writer Joel Kotkin points to these numbers when he claims today's millennial generation is getting the short end of the stick. Kotkin speaks with Tell Me More host Michel Martin about his Newsweek/Daily Beast article on what he calls the "screwed generation." Recent college graduates "are growing up in a terrible economy that's generating very few jobs. So, they're stepping in it, if you will, economically," Kotkin tells Martin. And, he says, "they're going to inherit an enormous debt" run up by the federal, state and local governments -- "that they are going to have to pay for."

Only 2.7%?
The U.S. Content of "Made in China" -- Goods and services from China accounted for only 2.7% of U.S. personal consumption expenditures in 2010, of which less than half reflected the actual costs of Chinese imports. The rest went to U.S. businesses and workers transporting, selling, and marketing goods carrying the "Made in China" label. Although the fraction is higher when the imported content of goods made in the United States is considered, Chinese imports still make up only a small share of total U.S. consumer spending. This suggests that Chinese inflation will have little direct effect on U.S. consumer prices.

Labor Group Says Samsung Violates Rights in China -- A U.S.-based watchdog says Samsung Electronics Co. forces employees at its Chinese factories to work excessive overtime, bans them from sitting down and denies basic labor rights. The China Labor Watch report comes as manufacturers grapple with rising labor costs and increasing worker demands in China, putting pressure on companies like Samsung and Apple Inc. that are looking to expand in the country. Earlier this year, Apple and one of its top suppliers, Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., agreed to reduce hours and change other employment policies at Hon Hai's China factories after the plants were audited by the Fair Labor Association, a nonprofit involving companies, universities and social groups to address labor conditions and training.

Greece steps up?
Longer working week suggested for Greece -- Greece's international lenders have suggested measures including increasing the maximum working week to six days. It is one of several unofficial proposals to liberalise the labour market and increase government revenue, contained in a paper seen by the BBC. The proposals were not included in the original bailout agreement signed with the Greek government.

- Sheena Moore

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