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The princess castle at Disney World in Orlando. Photo: Mark Ashman/Disney Parks via Getty Images

Disney World's unions will vote this week on a deal with the company that would raise the minimum wage from $10 to $15 over three years. But there's a big catch: it would also allow Disney World to hire more part-timers.

The big picture: Disney's move toward an increasingly part-time workforce is part of a national trend. Conventional, family-supporting, low-wage jobs are eroding, says Mark Muro of Brookings — and they're being replaced by part-time gigs.

By the numbers: 94% of the net increase in jobs between 2005 to 2015 was in "unsteady" employment — gig, contract, free-lance or temporary work — according to research conducted by Harvard's Lawrence Katz and Princeton's Alan Krueger. When people are in such jobs, it’s harder to establish a career path and move up, says Jared Bernstein, a senior fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. As a result, "there is less mobility out of the low-wage sector than there should be," Bernstein tells Axios.

The details:

  • The Disney World park in Orlando employs 70,000 people, making it the largest single-site employer in the country.
  • The agreement to raise the minimum wage, to be voted on Wednesday, will apply to part-timers as well as full-time employees, Matt Hollis, president of Disney's coalition of unions, told Axios.
  • Through the proposed deal, Disney is only raising its cap on part-time workers slightly — from 35% to 38% of the total workforce.
  • Currently, Disney World isn't close to reaching its part-timers cap — 31% of its workforce is part-time. But the fact that that Disney bargained for a higher cap indicates that the company wants to flexibility to grow its fleet of part-timers, experts say.

What to watch:

  • Companies keep making headlines for increasing minimum wages, but often those hikes come with some caveats, like in Disney's case, Muro says. For example, the Washington Post reports that higher entry-level wages at Walmart, Target and CVS have not translated to raises for middle-career workers.
  • The part-timers trend extends beyond low-wage work. Companies in all industries are moving away from full-timers, says Bernstein. Major tech companies like Microsoft and IBM are outsourcing a growing number of office jobs to contracting agencies, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Go deeper

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
39 mins ago - Economy & Business

Trump blocks banks from limiting loans to gun and oil companies

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Big banks are no longer allowed to reject business loan applicants because of the industry in which they operate, according to a new rule finalized on Thursday by the Trump administration.

Why it matters: Wall Street has curtailed its exposure to industries like guns, oil and private prisons, driven by both public and shareholder pressures. This new rule could reverse that trend.

Former FDA commissioner: "Reliable drug supply is absolutely critical"

Axios' Caitlin Owens and former FDA commissioner Mark McClellan. Photo courtesy of Axios Events

Having a reliable supply of pharmaceutical drugs throughout America will be "absolutely critical" to boosting affordability in health care during the Biden administration, former Food and Drug Administration (FDA) commissioner Mark McClellan said at a virtual Axios Event on Friday.

The big picture: McClellan, who served under President George W. Bush, says drugs having limited supply and limited competition leads to elevated pricing. He considers drug supply to be a national security and public health issue.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
3 hours ago - Economy & Business

Americans are still spending money

Source: Census Bureau; Chart: Axios Visuals

Americans spent more money at stores and restaurants in 2020 than they did in 2019 — even in the face of a devastating global pandemic that shut down broad sectors of the economy.

Why it matters: The monthly retail sales report this morning came in well below expectations, and showed consumer spending falling on a seasonally-adjusted basis. Total expenditures were still higher in December 2020 than they were a year previously, however.

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