Wednesday, March 30, 2011

New Spin - Only 5% Unemployment!

Today the New York Times puts another spin on the unemployment numbers: "On average, all but 5 percent of people lived in a family with at least one person working (this includes one-person families). By comparison, almost 20 percent of prime-age adults (25 to 54) were not employed. In other words, it is much more common for a person to be without a job than for a family to be without a job."

Breaking down the demographics, they conclude that single unemployed people and whole families with just one unemployed household member are far more rare than simply unemployed individuals, as though to imply that the jobless situation wasn't really as bad as it appears. After all, if just one person in the house is still working (no matter what their income), no one should starve to death...even if it's their teenager working at McDonald's.

But what the article fails to mention or to take in to consideration is that over the last 30 years, on average, it takes two members of a household working to keep up with household expenses and the higher costs of living. Americans have had DECLINING wages when looked at in that context. It now takes two people working to equal one family household income.

Dad used to go to work when mom stayed home with the kids. Now dad has to work over-time and mom has to work also to pay a babysitter earning less than her net wages to bring home a little bit more to meet the mortgage and car payment.

From another New York Times piece today: "Unless American workers have enough leverage to demand raises that help their wages keep pace with inflation, their wages won’t keep pace."

Today in the Huffington Post: Inflation Hits Levels Not Seen Since Financial Crisis - "But some economists also warn that higher food and energy prices do not necessarily trigger higher prices of goods and services. The OECD report stressed that excluding food and energy prices, inflation was stable."

So if we turn off our heat and lights, stop driving, and stop eating, everything will be ok?

I think we should base the economy on what BOTH New York Times articles have stated: 20 percent of prime-age adults (25 to 54) are unemployed, and those who are lucky enough to be still working are having their wages being eroded away with inflation.

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