Archive for category Jobs
Via Media Matters:
Throughout the day on June 10, Fox News and Fox Business personalities derided an expected proposal from the Labor Department that would expand guaranteed overtime pay to millions of American workers who currently work uncompensated hours.
…Under current federal guidelines, salaried employees are only guaranteed overtime pay if they earn up to $23,660 per year. Raising the threshold to $52,000 would expand overtime protections to at least 6.1 million additional American workers, and bring the policy roughly in line with federal standards last witnessed in 1975, according to the Economic Policy Institute.
On the Faux News Channel, commentators worry that paying people for the hours that they actually work “undercuts work ethic.” Seriously?
I know Hillary Clinton would be the Wall Street candidate if she runs for President. I remember how the last President Clinton irritated progressives by embracing right-wing policies, and the last thing this country needs is another dynastic succession. Most of all, as we have seen with President Obama, progressive populist rhetoric can turn out to be meaningless.
But it’s still good news that Hillary said this at an October 24 campaign event for Massachusetts gubernatorial candidate Martha Coakley (emphasis added):
Don’t let anybody tell you that raising the minimum wage will kill jobs. They always say that. I’ve been through this. My husband gave working families a raise in the 1990s. I voted to raise the minimum wage and guess what? Millions of jobs were created or paid better and more families were more secure. That’s what we want to see here, and that’s what we want to see across the country.
And don’t let anybody tell you, that, you know, it’s corporations and businesses that create jobs. You know, that old theory, trickle-down economics. That has been tried. That has failed. That has failed rather spectacularly.
One of the things my husband says, when people say, what did you bring to Washington? He says, well I brought arithmetic. And part of it was he demonstrated why trickle down should be consigned to the trash bin of history. More tax cuts for the top and for companies that ship jobs over seas while taxpayers and voters are stuck paying the freight just doesn’t add up. Now that kind of thinking might win you an award for outsourcing excellence, but Massachusetts can do better than that. Martha understands it. She knows you have to create jobs from everyone working together and taking the advantages of this great state and putting them to work.
By way of explanation, Coakley’s Tea-GOP opponent Charlie Baker won an “Outsourcing Excellence Award” for sending American jobs out of the country.
I get tired of moaning and groaning about our broken political system, so here’s something I found that gives me hope for America.
Germany is making us look bad, because some thirty years after we passed up the chance to lead the world in solar energy, that country is astounding the world with what it’s been able to do with solar in a very short time.
This looks like a chance for America to lead the way yet, with – job creating – American made technology that the world would love to have. I realize this is a promotional video which is most likely not pointing to many downsides of their product, but can’t we just try it? It seems much simpler then going to the moon, and we’re all tired of the oil spills; most of which we never even hear about, because the stories are mostly banned from the media.
Check it out. There are lots of other videos on the subject, including a “TED” talk by the inventor, which I haven’t had time to watch yet.
UPDATE: Here’s the TED talk from Scott Brusaw and one other video.
Hopefully making “The Church of Jesus Christ of Later Day Saints” leaders sit up in their chair a little.
But let’s not kid ourselves, The Vatican has a lot more assets to sell in helping the poor.
Today is the anniversary of NOT raising the minimum wage. Again. Four years ago, the federal minimum wage topped out at $7.25 an hour as a result of a law signed by President George W. Bush. A full-time worker earning the minimum wage now pulls in a salary of about $15,000 per year, far below a living wage. If Congress doesn’t send President Obama legislation to sign by the end of his second term, he will be the first president since Ronald Reagan who didn’t raise the minimum wage at all.
Civilian Employment-Population Ratio from St. Louis Fed
Antidote to economic happy-talk. Fewer Americans are working than at any time in the past three decades. The employment-to-population ratio has collapsed.
There are still over 20 million people in need of full time work. The employment rate — the percentage of the population in the workforce — hasn’t budged from recession levels. At current rates, the U.S. won’t return to the pre-recession 5 percent unemployment rate until 2022 — and even at that level, American families were losing ground.
Corporate profits are up, but wages aren’t. Wages are now at the lowest percent of the economy on record. The median wage hasn’t budged this century. College and non-college grads are now losing ground. The good jobs that were lost are being replaced by low wage and part-time jobs. Young people are starting out behind, unemployed or underemployed at ruinous high rates. Our Gilded Age inequality is getting worse, with the top 1 percent pocketing all of the rewards of growth.
Via Business Insider, Henry Blodget explains:
Over the past 30 years, a larger and larger portion of America’s income growth has gone to those in the top 10% of incomes, and especially those in the top 1%. This is a major change from the prior 60 years, in which the top 10% and the bottom 90% shared in the income gains.
A stark and startling example of this trend is the fact that, adjusted for inflation, “average hourly earnings” in this country have not increased in 50 years.
A recent Pew study confirms that America’s middle class has recently experienced a “lost decade.”
Since 2000, the Pew says, “the middle class has shrunk in size, fallen backward in income and wealth, and shed some—but by no means all—of its characteristic faith in the future.” Pew cites statistics showing that middle class earnings and net worth have plummeted since the mid-2000s and that about 85% of the middle class say it is harder to maintain their standard of living than it was 10 years ago.
The reason the decline of the middle class is important is not just about fairness. It’s about the health of the economy as a whole…
Looking beyond the 8.3 percent unemployment rate, the Labor Department says that only 56 percent of Americans laid off from January 2009 through December 2011 had found jobs by the start of this year. More than half of them took jobs with lower pay. One-third took pay cuts of 20 percent or more. The figures would be even lower if people who could find only part-time jobs were included in the total.
The mortgage crisis brought on by the collapse of Wall Street’s housing bubble is ongoing. Zillow Chief Economist Stan Humphries found that the negative equity situation is the worst among borrowers under the age of 40, with nearly half of them underwater. These people are trapped in homes they can’t afford to sell. The Federal Housing Finance Agency has ruled out principal reductions as a way to address the problem.
Unfortunately, the 2012 election offers a choice between the Obama administration, which has done little to help the middle class, and the Republican Romney-Ryan ticket, which proposes to actively make things worse. For example, raising taxes on the middle class to pay for massive new tax cuts for the rich, and increasing the cost of Medicare by $60,000 for working people.
Source: Calculated Risk.
There were 115,000 payroll jobs added in April, with 130,000 private sector jobs added, and 15,000 government jobs lost. The unemployment rate declined to 8.1%. U-6, an alternate measure of labor underutilization that includes part time workers and marginally attached workers, was unchanged at 14.5%.
Friday’s jobs report for April was even more disappointing than March. Employers added only 115,000 new jobs, down from March’s number (the Bureau of Labor Statistics revised the March number upward to 154,000, but it’s still abysmal relative to what’s needed). At least 125,000 new jobs are necessary each month just to keep up with an expanding population of working-age people.
That means the hole is getting even deeper.
…Most of the job gains in April were in lower-wage industries — retail stores, restaurants, and temporary-help. That means average wages continue to drop, adjusted for inflation — continuing their long-term decline. Most of the new jobs that have been added to the U.S. economy during this recovery have paid less than the jobs that were lost during the downturn.
What does all this mean? Together with other recent data showing slower economic growth during the first quarter of this year, it’s safe to say the economy has stalled.
From Calculated Risk:
- There are a total of 12.5 million Americans unemployed and 5.1 million have been unemployed for more than 6 months.
- According to the BLS, there are 5.1 million workers who have been unemployed for more than 26 weeks and still want a job.
- There are now more private sector jobs than when President Obama took office.
- The public sector is continuing to hemorrhage jobs.
- The participation rate decreased to 63.6% from 63.8% (a new cycle low).
The Bush administration crashed our economy so badly that even though the Obama job creation record is better than Bush’s, it’s still not enough. Most new jobs are low-paying, and the middle class just doesn’t have the spending power to help with the recovery. The rich are doing better than ever, but this also does not help the economy – instead, it sets the conditions for the next bubble and financial sector meltdown.
UPDATE: Dean Baker reminds us that the collapse of the housing bubble stuck the American consumer with $8 trillion in lost wealth, and this continues to depress demand.
UPDATE: Presidential candidate Willard (“Mitt”) Romney says “We should be seeing numbers in the 500,000 jobs per month.” Of course, that has only happened four times in 50 years.
UPDATE: Robert Reich tweets:
“Rom says unemp shld be 4%. I was Sec of Lab last time it was 4%. We got there by raising taxes on rich and investing in ed and infrstructre.”
Ben and Jerry try to turn things right side up by bucking the system. If they make a profit, the fascists will come running! Ice cream probably isn’t healthy, but neither is anything I eat nowadays. This will be interesting!