Wednesday, April 24, 2013

America's Bleak Job Outlook

The trend has continued for the past 5 years, as there aren't enough jobs to keep pace with natural population growth for high school and college graduates. And of the new jobs being created, an ever increasing number are part-time low-wage jobs without benefits in the service and retail industries.

The better jobs might be found in the healthcare industry with an aging population; but more and more of the high-tech jobs seem to be going to H-B1 visa applicants.

Older workers who were laid off during the recession may never work again, as those jobs are going to younger workers.

And there doesn't appear to be any change in the future, as China's middle-class continues to grow. For America, the job market looks very bleak for this, and the next generation of U.S. workers.

40 years ago we could graduate (or drop out) of high school and get a job in a local factory paying a "living wage" --- and if we so chose, could work there all our life. And most college graduate were almost guaranteed to succeed. But those days are long gone.

Unemployment & Stocks (December 2007 to April 2013)

I super-imposed (scaled to fit) an unemployment chart from the Bureau of Labor Statistics to a Google Finance chart of the Dow Jones to show the correlation of the stock market to the unemployment rate from the start of the recession to the present --- CHART HERE.

Also, there are links below (related to the numbers in the time-line on the chart) for new Social Security recipients (both for disability and retirements) and for new high school graduates during that same period of time (from December 2007 to April 2013).

Quick facts that are noted in the time-line of the chart:

  • The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics currently reports 11.7 million Americans as unemployed. The U-3 unemployment rate is 7.6%.

  • There are 7.6 million who are working part time because their hours were cut or they were unable to find a full-time job. The U-6 unemployment rate is 13.8%.

  • According to an article in the New York Times, there are 5.8 million fewer Americans working full time since the start of the recession in December 2007 (About the same number as jobs created since June 2010).

  • Since the start of the recession, there has been an increase of 2.8 million Americans working part time. And a loophole in ObamaCare® might only make it worse, creating many more part-time jobs.

  • According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 8.7 million jobs were already lost between the start of the recession in December of 2007 and June of 2009.

  • According to the U.S. Department of Labor, only 5.87 million new jobs were created since March 2010 to the present (when the U.S. finally began adding "net new jobs" after continued monthly losses).

  • The unemployed rate peaked at 10.2% in October 2009 when 15.9 million Americans were reported as unemployed.

  • The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics currently counts 26 million Americans as either unemployed, involuntarily working part-time, or those who stopped looking for work within the last year. The current national U-6 rate is 13.8% and can be found here.

  • According to the Social Security Administration, from April 2010 to April 2013 an estimated 6 million Americans either went on either Social Security disability or took a regular Social Security retirement.

  • When the unemployment rate had peaked the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in October 2010 that 4.5 million Americans were unemployed for one year or longer (and made up 31 percent of all those who were reported unemployed). Today they report (April 2013) that the long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) is 4.6 million and account for 39.6 percent of the unemployed --- almost the same as it was 3½ years ago.

  • According to the Social Security Administration, 50% of the U.S. workforce takes home an after-tax weekly paycheck of $520 or less (which is $27,000 a year net income).

  • According to the National Center for Education Statistics, a record 3.4 million students are expected to graduate from high school in the 2012-13 year. Now add to that, what the colleges and universities are also expected to award in degrees. That would total an estimated 7 million NEW PEOPLE if everyone decided to look for a new job by the end of this year.

The chart shows these statistics from the beginning of the recession (December 2007) to the present (April 2013) as these events relate to the stock market (The Dow Jones Industrial Average).

The Long-Term Unemployed

Paul Krugman recently wrote in the New York Times, "Our worst fears about the damage from long-term unemployment are being confirmed. What’s really striking is the huge number of long-term unemployed, with 4.6 million unemployed more than six months and more than three million who have been jobless for a year or more. Oh, and these numbers don’t count those who have given up looking for work. Workers who have been unemployed for a long time eventually come to be seen as unemployable, tainted goods that nobody will buy."

In another New York Times article: Part-Time Work Becomes Full-Time Wait for Better Job - Part-timers generally earn less per hour than their full-time counterparts. The senior economist at the Center for Economic and Policy Research says, “The only remaining legal form of discrimination in the labor market is against part-time workers. You can hire part-time workers and full-time workers doing the same job, and you’re allowed to pay them different money and different benefits.”

The Times article also notes that, since the economy began to recover almost four years ago, hiring has been concentrated in relatively low-wage service sectors...nearly one out of every 13 jobs is at a restaurant, bar or other food-service establishment, a record high. (I mentioned this in another post at the Daily Kos.)

Darden Restaurants, which operates brands like Red Lobster and Olive Garden, suggested last year that they might seek to limit full-time staff to avoid activating the [ObamaCare®] mandate.

From the Bureau of Labor Statistics about The Working Poor: "More than 10 million Americans worked, but nevertheless, had annual incomes below the federal poverty line. One-third of them worked in the service industry. The Census Bureau reported that 28.6 million households had a median income of only $19,315 a year." (Excel file)

Meanwhile, H-1B visas will expand --- even though we will need another 3.4 million more jobs this year just for natural population growth.

But China is Doing Well

According to the Wall Street Journal: China's rapidly expanding middle and upper classes have discarded old cellphones for new smartphones in surging numbers over the past two years, scooping up expensive smartphones made by Apple. Almost 300 million Chinese are subscribing to high-end mobile services. Apple is trying to reach a deal with China's largest carrier, China Mobile Ltd, which would allow Apple to sell to the carrier's more than 700 million customers. Apple CEO Tim Cook said the company would double the 11 Apple stores in Greater China within the next two years.

Also from the Wall Street Journal: There were 2.04 million vehicles sold in China last month, up from 1.84 million a year earlier.

The Wall Street Journal also reports: Dell Inc. plans to expand into smaller cities and double its sales outlets in China over the next two to three years to help cushion the U.S.-based company against the steep fall in global personal-computer shipments.

According to the New York Times, the wealthy in America continue to do better: "The top one-tenth of 1 percent received about one-thirteenth of the nation’s income, while they received only one-fiftieth in the 1960s and 1970s."

But despite all this bleak news for America's workers, they still cling to the belief that a poor person has a chance of becoming rich; and that a rich person has a chance of dying penniless. Dream on.


  1. Maybe if the data better reflected reality there would be better solutions to the outlook. This blog takes a look.

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