Friday, October 05, 2012

Good jobs news? All jobs are not created equal

The AP's Christopher S. Rugaber reports this morning (via Yahoo! News) that the unemployment rate has fallen below 8% for the first time in 44 months.

The new rate is 7.8%, Rugaber writes, and the number of unemployed persons, 12.1 million, is the lowest number reported since January 2009. On it's face, this seems like good news.

But... let's go inside the numbers for a moment. According to this morning's AP account, the government defines an unemployed person as one "who's out of work and has actively looked for a job in the past four weeks." It makes sense that a person who stops looking for work because he or she has found work is no longer unemployed. But persons who give up looking -- because there are no jobs to be had -- or no jobs those persons can fill -- are also no longer considered to be unemployed.

Say what?

Rugaber writes that, "The job market has been improving, sluggishly but steadily. Jobs have been added for 24 straight months. There are now 325,000 more than when Obama took office."

But what kind of jobs are these?

Well, Rugaber writes, "many of the jobs the economy added last month were part time. The number of people with part-time jobs who wanted full-time work rose 7.5 percent to 8.6 million."

In other words, a lot of people who once had good jobs, now have crappy jobs, or part-time jobs.

All jobs are not created equal. When your neighbor loses a white collar, middle management job and takes a part-time, or even full-time, job at Mickey D's or Wal-Mart to slow the hemorrhaging of the family's savings, that's not the end of the Great Recession in that household, is it?

If 1,000 white collar jobs are lost, and 1,500 jobs are 'created' flipping burgers or folding pants, a third grader doing the math might conclude that there was a net gain of 500 jobs in the local economy. But can anyone seriously contend that the economy, under these facts, is somehow "better"?

It's a big country. Maybe what I see around me is purely local, not reflective of the true trend in the country as a whole.

But what I see is 'growth' only in low-paying, temporary, non-career track, or even part-time jobs. What do you see around you?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Here are other things that happen way to much. A neighbor down the street lost his job because his company relocated.They had only been paying their house mortgage for two years with about 28 years of payments left when this happened. Determined not to lose their house. After looking for a comparable job for a cpl months with no luck whatsoever the husband went to work as a waiter at Red Lobster from 11 am until 5pm and then went to work at a pizza place from 6pm until 1am 6 days a week. He brought home less than half from both jobs combined as what he had previously made and the Red Lobster job was so hard to budget because of the veritable in tips. His wife who had never worked went to work as a waitress in a different restaurant and both sets of parents picked up the babysitting to help them save money. 3 families thrown into tailspins and everyone's lives turned upset down over one job lost. Now, statically you could say they lost one job but picked up 3 in the process. So the overall numbers are that 2 jobs were gained....LOL.... Those numbers are crap!