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Hullabaloo


Monday, June 09, 2014

 
McJob Nation

by David Atkins

In case anyone has forgotten, the economy is still broken:

The US is slowly becoming a McJob nation. While the press jumps up and down that the US is now finally at a breakeven point from the jobs lost since the recession started in 2007, they fail to mention that those not in the labor force is up by nearly 13 million. Even looking into the recent employment report, we continue to find a heavy trend of hiring in low wage employment sectors. For example, 32,000 jobs were added in “leisure and hospitality” bringing the annual total of jobs added to 311,000. Another 21,000 jobs were added in social assistance which pay very little but will grow as demand for health support grows by an aging population. The system at least in the eyes of Wall Street and the government is working perfectly fine. We have a plentiful supply of low wage labor while laws and bailout mechanisms are in place for the financially and politically connected. The middle class continues to fall off the bandwagon one by one and enters a labor force of permanent low wage labor with very little prospect of a decent retirement. In fact, most will be working until all the wheels come flying off. We also find that 1 out of 4 Americans are working in jobs that pay $10 or less per hour. How about trying to earn the Americans Dream on that McJob salary?

It has taken us 7 slow and painful years simply to recover the jobs we had back in 2007. With the latest jobs number, we finally are back to where we were in 2007. Of course, the population has increased and many of these new jobs come with horrible benefits, lower wages, and very little security. Is it any wonder why home buying in the country continues to be so anemic?

Low wages are also creating an entire nation that is unprepared for retirement. For example, 1 out of 3 Americans has zero dollars in their savings account. Half the country is one paycheck away from a financial avalanche. During the last 7 years, we have added close to 13 million Americans to the “not in the labor force” category.

...

A part of this growth is an older population but a large part of it isn’t. We have many digging into college degrees with massive debt to avoid the current economic situation. Others have simply given up looking for work. The low wage recovery has been extremely painful for many Americans and wealth growth has not occurred for 90 percent of the country. These are simply the facts. This is what we find in every piece of data we look at.

Economist Tim Taylor presented a chart highlighting that the US has a very high portion of its population working in low wage jobs. This is contrary to the image that the US is a land with middle class jobs for many:



Big social shocks are coming, and the country is either going to make a turn for the hard right or the hard left. The center will not hold.


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