Yuki Noguchi

Updated at 4:41 p.m. ET

For years, various reports have indicated that the contract workforce is growing rapidly in the U.S.

On Thursday, the Labor Department poured a bucket of cold water on that notion. It released a report showing contract workers make up a slightly smaller share of the workforce than the last time the survey was done 13 years ago.

Fallen media mogul Harvey Weinstein's recent indictment on rape charges comes nearly eight months after allegations against him first surfaced. His case touched off a global #MeToo movement to speak out against workplace sexual harassment. And that, in turn, has created a deluge of complaints to human resources departments everywhere.

"It created this HR level of activity like nothing we've ever seen," says Johnny Taylor, CEO of the Society for Human Resource Management.

Starbucks has an ambitious plan to try to address discrimination and unconscious bias by training nearly 175,000 of its workers one afternoon later this month.

How much did you make in your previous job?

This dreaded interview question can sound like a trap. Your answer could be used to set your salary below someone else who is doing the same job.

And, critics say, the question can be used by employers to discriminate against women and minorities who earn less.

Facebook responded to intensifying criticism over its mishandling of user data Wednesday by announcing new features to its site that will give users more visibility and control over how their information is shared. The changes, rolling out in coming weeks, will also enable users to prevent the social network from sharing that information with advertisers and other third parties.

Autumn Weese thinks she was fired last month, but she isn't entirely sure. Weese told her boss at an Arkansas coffee shop she needed to cut back her hours as she pursued her master's degree.

"The last email I got from her said that she ... 'totally understood the situation,' " Weese says. But then colleagues started telling her how sorry they were to hear she was leaving in two weeks. That was when Weese started suspecting she had been fired.

The turmoil for Facebook isn't letting up. The social media giant is facing more blowback from users, regulators and investors following reports that its user data was misused by Cambridge Analytica, a firm that worked for the 2016 Trump presidential campaign.

That has spurred a user boycott, as angry former Facebook users started turning to Twitter over the weekend to express their discontent. David Chartier, a freelance writer in Chicago, was one of them:

Freelancers and contract workers make up the fastest-growing segment of the American workforce, and are expected to surpass half of all workers within a decade. But, under current employment law, these workers are ineligible for most of the rights and benefits of traditional employees.

Paid time off to care for a new child or a sick family member used to be a part of the Democratic Party platform. Now, Republicans are making paid family leave a legislative policy.

"Let's support working families by supporting paid family leave," President Trump urged Congress in his State of the Union address last month.

Since the mass killing at a Parkland, Fla., high school earlier this month, many teachers have called on their state pension funds to sell their stakes in gun-makers. Private investment firms including BlackRock and Blackstone are reviewing their firearms investments in response to clients' demands.

But even those sympathetic to their position say divesting from those companies doesn't lead to industry change.

Many actors, politicians and executives, including at NPR, are now facing sexual-harassment allegations in the court of public opinion.

But in actual courts, such cases filed by workers against their employers are very often dismissed by judges. The standard for harassment under the law is high, and only an estimated 3 percent to 6 percent of the cases ever make it to trial.

As more victims speak out about their allegations, employers — including NPR — are having to confront the failure of their sexual harassment training and reporting systems.

Even trainers themselves say the system has failed.

"We have been checking the box for decades," says Patricia Wise, an employment attorney who served on the Equal Employment Opportunity Commision's task force on harassment. "I don't think people have been very motivated."

Former Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein's ouster from the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences following numerous allegations of sexual misconduct have prompted others on social media to open up about workplace harassment complaints that have gone unheeded.

Roughly half of Florida's homes and businesses remained without electricity on Tuesday, two days after Hurricane Irma plowed through the state. A lot of the business recovery efforts there will depend on how quickly power can be restored.

On her way to work Tuesday morning, Carol McDaniel, vice president of human resources for the Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg, made her way through darkened neighborhoods.

Jonathan Guffey has chiseled youthful looks and, at 32, does not have the haggard bearing of someone who has spent more than half his life hooked on opioids. That stint with the drug started at 15 and ended — he says for good — 22 months ago. He has a job working with his family in construction, but his work history is pockmarked by addiction.

"I've worked in a couple of factories for a short amount of time, probably just long enough to get the first check to get high off of," Guffey says.

Driving down the main commercial artery in Muncie, Ind., it seems the job market is doing well. The local unemployment rate stands at 3.8 percent, and there are hiring signs posted outside the McDonald's, a pizza joint and at stop lights.

Around 2007 — the last time the market was so tight — job applicants came streaming through the offices of Express Employment Professionals, a staffing agency that screens and places about 120 workers a month, mostly at the local manufacturing firms.

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State legislatures and city halls are battling over who gets to set the minimum wage, and increasingly, the states are winning.

After dozens of city and county governments voted to raise their local minimum wage ordinances in the last several years, states have been responding by passing laws requiring cities to abide by statewide minimums. So far, 27 states have passed such laws.

Micromanagement is routinely the top complaint people have about their bosses, and in today's good job market where workers have more options, that's a bigger problem for employers.

People might have their own definition of when a manager crosses into being too controlling, but most people would probably agree that Marjon Bell's former boss would fit.

Carol McDaniel has a perennial challenge: Attracting highly specialized acute-care certified neonatal nurse practitioners to come work for Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg, Fla.

They are "always in short supply, high demand, and [it is a] very, very small group of people," says McDaniel, the hospital's director of talent acquisition.

When I started my career at The Washington Post in the late 1990s, the newsroom wore a dusty, outdated look as if it were paying homage to its legendary past. The Post of today occupies an updated building on D.C.'s renowned K Street, in modern, glass-walled offices with a Silicon Valley aesthetic.

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Fox News star Bill O'Reilly has been ousted from the network after fresh allegations of sexual harassment surfaced last month, and the TV franchise again faces scrutiny over whether its culture perpetuates such behavior. Fox already ousted its CEO, Roger Ailes, over claims of sexual harassment, and The New York Times reported the network has already paid out $13 million to settle five claims against O'Reilly since 2002.

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Rarely has a U.S. president been so willing to use his platform as both bullhorn and cudgel to exert public pressure on individual companies.

But one of the hallmarks of President Trump's approach to economic policy since his election has been his willingness to publicly endorse — and shame — companies in order to advance his message.