The Employment Numbers Are Still Dreadful

A while ago, I discussed the record low rate of male employment in the U.S. Well, Mike Konczal also has that figure (why read anyone but the Mad Biologist. We are always firstest…). But he notes some other jarring data:

You have to go back to pre-1988 to find an era when there were a fewer percentage of women working than there are right now.

You’ve come a long way, baby. If you have a job, things suck too:

Meanwhile, how’s the economy working out for those with jobs? Average weekly earnings of all private employees dropped from $791.20 to $788.56. We can’t really have an inflationary spiral based on prices and wages if wages are decreasing. Also without a buildup in wages, it’s harder to argue that we are having a “structural unemployment problem” – those who do have the skills necessary to get a job aren’t turning that into higher wages. And this also means we don’t even have a recovery for those who are not the worse off – as Matt Frost said, “the technical term is a ‘recovery-less recovery.'”

As I’ve mentioned before, real disposable income seems to have a strong effect–although not inviolate–on election outcomes. When wages drop, how do you think that affects real disposable income? Employment stalls and wages decrease. Who coulda thunk it?
Yet the administration just doesn’t seem very concerned about this state of affairs. Instead, Obama is blathering about the federal budget being like a household’s budget, and the Democrats in Congress are too craven to even look out for their own self-interest (it goes without saying that the Republicans just want to watch the world burn).
Abort. Reboot. Retry?

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4 Responses to The Employment Numbers Are Still Dreadful

  1. Katharine says:

    You have to go back to pre-1988 to find an era when there were a fewer percentage of women working than there are right now.

    How the hell is this a problem?

  2. Confounding says:

    You forgot “Fail” in that last list of options ;)

  3. Justin says:

    As a student that walked out of their M.S. program with over $30k in debt for a PUBLIC in-state school, I could not find a single job in with degrees in Marine Biology, Chemistry, and Fisheries.
    I ended up getting getting a job delivering pizza to pay my student loans. I also was able to teach ONE class at a local community college. However, while they had classes for me to teach, and students that were not able to take classes because of not enough available sections, they could not employ me for additional classes because that would have required for them to give me benefits. So, I ended up also tutoring students on the side.
    So, in the end, I worked 3 jobs, none of them with benefits. Not surprisingly, I got sick with pneumonia.
    In the end, I had to go back to school and get another degree in education at the cost of $12k. I am now teaching about 1 hour away from my home, but I finally have a job.
    What is the conclusion to my story?
    People say there are jobs in science. There are. However, in order to get one, you have to have a Ph.D. to compete for jobs that are sci. tech. jobs. And for every job there are 100+ applicants.
    My generation is now working minimum wage jobs just to pay off student loans for education that is now almost worthless. We can’t buy houses. We can’t afford the ones we bought when we did have jobs. We aren’t saving for retirement. We can’t buy new cars. And now we’re into our thirties, more than a decade behind our parents, and in debt for our student loans more than twice hour yearly income, often at TERRIBLE rates, thanks to the new Bush rules to save banks money.
    So, if in a few years, when our generation starts voting to defund social security and medicare, you will know why.
    The “greatest generation” and the baby boomers have spent the last 40 years defunding education, deregulating banks, and ensuring their own prosperity while shoveling their debt onto the younger generations. By the time my generation is into their middle ages there simply won’t be a real middle class.
    And you must give kudos to the Republican/corporate strategists. The have managed to turn their Nixon/Reagan/Bush mismanagement of the economy into an attack on unions, workers’ rights, civil employees, and immigrants.
    And the Democrats do, quite literally, nothing.
    Jefferson said that we need a little revolution every generation. I don’t think that the current economic and political structure will survive the mess that the last 40 years has made.

  4. Misaki says:

    What’s the point of boosting employment now, if it that “progress” just disappears as soon as the US goes back to having a balanced budget?
    The goal is permanent unemployment reduction, not temporary, and the US has not shown that it can achieve both low unemployment, low tax rates, and a balanced budget since the first great depression. As soon as tax rates were lowered, government welfare and jobs became necessary.
    In other words, think of the children.
    /commentspam
    *It has come to my attention that many people think the reason that there aren’t more jobs is that companies are not doing well.*
    This is one of the main oppositions to increasing wage for lower amounts of work. It therefore follows that people should support a DECREASE in the average wage for permanent employees working full time, if they are given the option of instead working part-time at the original wage rate (or even a higher wage rate if full-time employees get the reduced rate). Wages would eventually equalize anyway, but apparently people don’t realize that. http://pastebin.com/Q86Zhgs9
    Please contact the White House via the contact form http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/ to encourage this policy to reduce unemployment, if doing so is in your interests.
    What does “low consumer demand” really mean?
    From http://www.calculatedriskblog.com/2011/07/more-employment-return-of-teen-and.html : ‘That is why so many companies identify their number one problem as “lack of customers”.’
    But as helpfully pointed out to me,
    of course that is utterly and 100% meaningless and stupid.
    It is like sayng the number one problem of cancer researchers is they have not found the cure. It is a given that no business has too many customers and no researchers have too many cures for cancer. OMG!!!!

    More specifically, this means businesses would not increase profits by lowering their prices, because the slight increase in sales would not make up for the loss in per-unit profit, even if their product is significantly cheaper than others on the market.
    Decreasing the cost of a car from $35k to $25k will not make a rich person buy it instead of a $200k luxury car, because they don’t care about saving $10k. In other words, companies that are NOT profitable enough are the ones who feel like they have problems from lack of customers.
    Companies that are profitable don’t feel like they have a lack of customers because they are profitable, even if they could make more profit for every new customer.
    This lack of competition is the same as described [here]: http:/pastebin.com/Q86Zhgs9 and derives from the very slightly higher amounts of utility of the more expensive goods, even if the utility is only “having a brand that people will recognize”. This is what lack of customers really means, that the low-end companies have problems not the high-end ones, and is exactly what changing the wage system would fix by lowering profits for the high-end companies and increasing demand for products of the low-end ones.

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