I heard an interesting report on the radio today via CNBC. The good news is that ADP estimates that the U.S. economy added nearly 240,000 in December. Here’s the bad news: Retail sales are down. What I found most interesting was CNBC’s interpretation of this situation: “People have jobs, but not enough money.”
Not enough money. Progressives and liberals have been beating the drum about the economic consequences of inequality for several years. Conservatives still cling to their sacred truths about deficit reduction and tax cuts, neither of which have done much to spur the economy. What about alternatives, such as raising the minimum wage or passing a jobs program or doing more to promote manufacturing in the U.S. The solutions are out there. The rich and their allies have done a great job of concealing them or repackaging them in a way that makes working people vote against their interest. CNBC captured the problem: “Not enough money.”
CNBC reports that Google will be giving many employees a 10% pay increase next year. To me, this news is big. Beyond the size and duration of job loss, what has marked the current economic downturn has been wide spread reduction in pay and benefits.
As an industry leader, Google works with a long view. It needs to retain talent and earn a reputation as a place where talent want to work. This decision could also indicate that Google expects hiring to pick up soon. More jobs, higher wages – that would be a good sign for all kinds of business and for working people. Let’s hope Google has a good crystal ball.
P.S. The Chicago Tribune reports that one third of employers are willing to negotiate raises. This figure is based on a survey by CareerBuilder that points to retention as the main reason companies are willing to open their wallets.