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Immigrant-run businesses across the country closed Thursday in protest of the Trump administration’s immigration policies.

Luis Pérez / Creative Commons

From self-service menus to self-driving cars to... androids around the water cooler? This hour, we explore the past, present, and future of workforce automation. 

Harriet Jones / WNPR

The confirmation hearing for President Donald Trump’s labor secretary nominee has been postponed for the third time. Andrew Puzder now won’t go before the U.S. Senate until February 7. Workers in Hartford are among those protesting Puzder’s nomination. 

Harriet Jones / WNPR

Connecticut congresswoman Rosa DeLauro has welcomed an executive order from President Donald Trump, formally withdrawing the U.S. from the Trans Pacific Partnership. 

President Trump began his first full workweek in the White House by hosting a breakfast "listening session" with business executives. In his opening remarks, Trump largely stuck to traditional Republican themes of lower taxes and reduced regulation.

But he also reiterated his threat to impose a border tax on companies that move jobs overseas — a plan with little support from the president's fellow Republicans in Congress. Trump said he hopes to hold similar meetings with business leaders on a regular basis, perhaps quarterly.

Lisa Quinones / NENC

With visas in hand, about 85,000 undergraduate and graduates students from overseas are pursuing their higher education degrees in schools around New England. That’s out of more than a million who come to study every year in the United States. Graduate students, in particular, are big business for colleges. But President-elect Donald Trump’s many anti-immigration stances have brought uncertainty into the classroom.

Harriet Jones / WNPR

Connecticut definitely has demographic and fiscal challenges, but the state may actually begin to benefit from its comparatively high unemployment rate, according to economists. 

Matt Farley might be one of the most prolific recording artists of all time. He’s not a household name, but he’s got thousands of songs scattered across digital music services like Spotify and iTunes.

Farley’s music may sound strange, but he’s figured out a formula to success in the era of streaming music.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Connecticut’s business community sees solving the state’s seemingly ever-present fiscal crisis as key to economic recovery in the new legislative session. But the Connecticut Business and Industry Association is also focused on a couple of specific priorities for lawmakers.

anopdesignstock/iStock / Thinkstock

The minimum wage next month is increasing in four of the six New England states.

Massachusetts’s 2017 rate of $11.00 an hour puts it in a tie for top statewide rate in the country, along with Washington state. Not far behind are Connecticut, with a new rate of $10.10 an hour, and Vermont, at $10.00.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

As ever, January 1, 2017 will see a number of new laws go into effect in Connecticut, and this year there are several that will affect employers, large and small. Foremost on the minds of many businesses in the state will be what’s slated to be the final hike in the minimum wage - at least for now. 

In 2014, the Obama administration issued a federal memo aiming to put an end to random deportations of people living illegally in the U.S. who aren't criminals. But a closer look finds that there are still cases where immigration authorities are ignoring these policies, including in Vermont.

feck_aRt_post flickr.com/photos/fecked-up_artv / Creative Commons

Penalties levied against Connecticut companies for violations of occupational safety rules dropped by more than half between 2011 and 2015, and the number of cases with penalties fell by 40 percent in the same time period, according to a C-HIT analysis of federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) data.

It’s hard to avoid the hand-wringing about aging demographics in New England these days. The region's six states have the six lowest birth rates in the country. Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont have the oldest populations in the country, and Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts aren't far behind.

(Robin Lubbock/WBUR)

New England is an old region, and not just by historical standards.

The population here is aging faster than almost any other place in the country. Fewer people are having children, and many of the states struggle to keep younger generations living and working here.

And as New England's baby boomers grow older, and live longer, the need for health care workers also grows.

Xerox Corporation

Xerox has announced it will keep its headquarters in Connecticut, after it splits off its document management arm into a separate company. The state will give Xerox a $4.4 million low-interest loan to retain its 150 workers in Norwalk. The company said it may also add between 20 and 40 jobs over four years. 

BMS

As one of Connecticut's giant pharma companies announced it will exit the state for good, advocates for the biotech sector said it's vital to try to keep talented workers from Bristol-Myers Squibb in the state. The pharmaceutical company has announced it will shutter its Wallingford campus by the end of 2018. 

Electric Boat

Submarine maker Electric Boat is about to resurrect its long-dormant apprenticeship program. It’s one more way to ensure the shipyard can find enough talented workers in coming years. 

Emmanuel Huybrechts / Creative Commons

Connecticut’s declining jobs numbers in recent months have made the contrast with its New England neighbors even more stark. While the Nutmeg State has yet to regain all the jobs it lost in the great recession, Massachusetts is seemingly booming. 

Harriet Jones / WNPR

Thousands of machinists at Pratt and Whitney begin work under a new contract on Monday, after union members voted over the weekend to ratify the deal with management. 

Lori Mack / WNPR

A federal judge has ordered a 24-hour grocery on the campus of Yale University to pay several former employees a total of $170,000 in damages, after they were forced to work for as little as $3.00 an hour.

FuelCell Energy, Inc.

Danbury-based FuelCell Energy, Inc., announced Thursday it will cut nearly 100 jobs, news which comes on the heels of a decision by the state to pass over several clean energy proposals submitted by the company.

Unemployment dropped by 0.3 percentage points, to 4.6 percent, last month — the lowest rate since 2007 — according to the monthly jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

On Donald Trump's visit to Carrier in Indiana on Thursday, he mentioned a phone call that he made to the CEO of United Technologies, the air conditioning company's parent. As Trump describes it, that call led to Carrier announcing it will not move as many jobs to Mexico as it had planned.

"We can't allow this to happen anymore with our country. So many jobs are leaving and going to other countries, not just Mexico," Trump said.

The announcement that President-elect Donald Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence helped persuade Carrier to keep 1,000 factory jobs in the U.S. is a pretty big win. After all, they ran on a message of protecting The American Worker, and Trump isn't even in the White House yet.

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