Behind the Good News about Job Growth

Posted July 8, 2013
By Clay Cerny

Many experts point to consecutive months of job growth as if they were talking about Joe DiMaggio’s famous hitting streak.  At the same time, they say the growth is not good enough, which makes them sound reasonable.  It also hides ignores a growing problem:  Too many of the new jobs are low wage.

Writing for MSNBC, Suzy Khimm reports that over a third of the 195,000 jobs added in June were in the hospitality industry, which usually generates low-wage positions.  Khim also notes that new jobs are more likely to be part-time than they were before the Great Recession.  Paul Krugman’s view of the situation is even more dismal:  “Full recovery still looks a very long way off. And I’m beginning to worry that it may never happen.”  To a degree, Krugman blames his usual suspects:  the Fed and the Austerians.  However, this time he adds a new culprit:  voters who don’t seem to care.

In my encounters with clients who are employed, the story is not much better.  They talk about small raises or flat salaries, increased workloads, and employers that only know how to ask for more.  Yesterday, I wrote about workers in China kidnapping their boss.  In the U.S., workers and voters just seem beaten down.  They blame government, but they don’t change it.  They blame the poor, most of whom are working at low wage jobs, and they ignore the people who have benefitted most from this broken economy.

Sure, the monthly jobs numbers sound good again.  Look below those numbers, and you see another bridge waiting to fall.