Millennials in America have a 'serious productivity problem'

Millennials are a problem at work.

At least, that’s what people are telling the Dallas Federal Reserve.

On Tuesday, the latest Dallas Fed manufacturing report showed that factory activity slowed down much more than expected in May.

To compile the release every month, the Dallas Fed surveys factory owners, and the final report includes edited anecdotes on how businesses are doing.

In May, a lot was said about the Department of Labour’s new overtime rule, which more than doubles the income threshold of eligibility to $47,476 per year from $23,660.

The concern was that this would raise the costs of labour. And one manufacturer was furious that even right now, millennials aren’t bothered to give their money’s worth.

Here’s what they told the Dallas Fed (emphasis added):

The Department of Labour rules and other government regulations are seriously slowing down business development, increasing overhead costs, reducing productivity and causing increased management time spent on non-customer-focused/non-value-added efforts. We have a serious productivity problem with office workers and estimated that less than 50 per cent of their time is spent on value-creating business activities. The younger workers are often off task, engaged on social media, on the internet, texting on phones and other unproductive activities.

The Department of Labour must realise that if we are supposed to pay them overtime for work they should do during normal work this will make us have to focus on micromanaging employees and reducing compensation to reflect actual productivity of a mandated 40 hour or less workweek.

That’s quite the rebuke.

We’d imagine that their concern also comes as the labour market gets tighter and wage pressures continue to build everywhere, even in Texas’ struggling manufacturing sector. Of all the indicators the Dallas Fed measured in May, only prices paid for raw materials and wages were rising.

Also, US labour productivity, or how much output each hour of work produces, is already in one of its worst stretches ever.

Here’s the rest of the person’s comment:

All the government regulations and Department of Labour rules are doing is making our country less competitive, creating more part-time workers, reducing workers to a max of 35 — 39 hours, creating divisions and demotivating the top achievers. New workers who want to take on special projects to gain experience or prove themselves will not get the chance as employers will not want to incur the additional overtime costs with unclear outcomes. We want to compete, we want to hire more people and we want to innovate. Let adults agree to employment terms and conditions.

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