Looking Behind Unemployment Statistics

Posted February 7, 2014
By Clay Cerny

Today saw a second straight disappointing month for job growth.  The number again is positive, but not strong enough.  Common Dreams has posted an article by Michelle Chen that looks beyond the monthly numbers.  Chen, a writer at In These Times, lays bare the mainstream media lie that workers are to blame for unemployment because they have the wrong skills.  Citing a study from the Economic Policy Institute, she finds that workers of all education levels are struggling in the current market.  Chen concludes that the real gap is one of understanding.  People who claim that skills are the problem do not know how the economy works.

I would add to Chen’s analysis by noting that many fields have been glutted by intense marketing from universities, colleges, and training programs.  Professions that once had easy entry know have more applicants than open positions, which lets employers drive down salary costs.  My simple take is that good jobs are hard to find and getting harder to find all the time.  Employers have the upper hand, and they know it, which means wages will continue to stay flat or go down until real job growth happens.  Given the attitude of both business and government, we might be in this negative cycle for a long time to come.