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.
Good advice? Once upon a time, American society offered mobility, especially to those who made the sacrifice to get a good education. Writing in Daily Kos, Laura Clawson finds that things are different now in the U.S. If you want to get ahead, there’s one path to success: Be born rich.
College graduates still have better prospects than those with less education. But the research Clawson cites has found that a person without a college degree born to rich parents is 2.5 times more likely to be wealthy than the college grad who is not born to rich parents. As Ed Schultz puts it, its all about membership in the “lucky sperm club.”
There is no louder or more passionate voice supporting American workers and unions than radio and TV host Ed Schultz. Ed’s been off the air for over a week, and now we’ve learned why: His wife Wendy has ovarian cancer.
As Ed has said many times on his show, Wendy “changed his heart.” Ed was a conservative. Wendy ran a social service agency, I think it was a homeless shelter or food pantry. She gave Ed a different way of looking at life and caring about people.
Now he will care for her, putting the love of his life before the cameras or the microphone. And that’s the right thing to do. We wouldn’t expect anything less from Big Eddie.
My thoughts and best wishes are with Wendy, Ed, and their family. Be well.
MSNBC’s website has a story on the increase in factory jobs. I really like the chart that accompanies the story because it shows how significant the U.S. economy has been affected by factory job loss since the 1980s. What I don’t like about the story is its simplistic political angle. Clearly, unemployment and other economic factors will impact how Americans vote for President and other offices in 2012. However, the loss of factory jobs and their possible comeback is a serious story in itself without any references to the soap opera of politics. The story also does not consider factors like the cost of shipping and inflation in China that are making manufacturing in America an option companies will consider. Left-right politics always enables a writer to craft a simple story that is easy to understand and often controversial. American working people are facing tough problems. They deserve better from the media.