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Jobs growing slowly, wages falling fast

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Jobs growing slowly, wages falling fast

Post by Guest on Mon Mar 14, 2011 4:00 am

Jobs growing slowly, wages falling fast

Are we making progress on the jobs front? Just barely.And that's not even the big story, which I'll get to in a moment.

It looks as if we're heading in the right direction. But the progress
is far too slow to make a real dent in unemployment. To get the
unemployment rate down to 6 percent by 2014, we'd need more than
300,000 new jobs a month, every month, between now and then.
In some ways, we're just treading water. The number of unemployed
Americans - 13.7 million - is about the same as it was in January. The
number working part time who'd rather be working full time - 8.3
million - is also about the same.

In other ways, we're going backward. Millions of jobless Americans
are no longer on the radar screen because they've stopped looking for
work. The percent of the total workforce either in jobs or actively
looking is at its lowest point in 25 years.
These job dropouts make the unemployment rate look far better than
it really is. If the share of Americans who are either employed or
seeking work was the same today as it was before the Great Recession,
the current unemployment rate would be 11.5 percent instead of 8.9

But here's the big story, and it's especially worrying: Most of the jobs we've gained pay less than the jobs we've lost.
An analysis from the National Employment Law Project shows that the
jobs created since February 2010 (about 1.26 million) pay, on average,
significantly lower wages than the 8.4 million jobs lost between
January 2008 and February 2010.
The biggest losses during the Great Recession were jobs paying
$19.05 to $31.40 an hour. By contrast, the biggest gains over the past
year have been jobs paying an average of $9.03 to $12.91 an hour.

In other words, the big news isn't the slow return of jobs. It's the drop in pay.For several years now, conservative economists have blamed high
unemployment on the purported fact that many Americans have priced
themselves out of the global/high-tech jobs market. So if we want more
jobs, they say, we'll need to take wage and benefit cuts.

And that's exactly what Americans have been doing.
Employers have been demanding wage and benefit concessions from
their unionized workers and usually getting them. Detroit is creating
auto jobs again - but new hires are getting about half the pay that
autoworkers were getting before. Airline workers are taking home 30 to
50 percent less than they did years ago. And so on.


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