The latest job figures show that the combined rate is 25.2% for both unemployed and underemployed workers in the U.S. This is based on unseasonable adjustments for adults over 18 years old. It is clearly the worst employment period since the Great Depression which has left many struggling to survive in what has proved to be the most trying time in our recent history. http://www.gallup.com/poll/125639/gallup-daily-workforce.aspx
Not only have wages stagnated or declined over the last two decades, but also job security and stability have deteriorated. The economy has lost nearly six million jobs since the recession began in December 2007. Displaced workers face an increasingly difficult time finding jobs, and when they do find work, the pay on average is about 13% less than the jobs they lost. More than 25% of them who had health insurance in their old jobs don’t have it with their new employer.
Another trend impacting job security is non-standard work. In 1997, almost 30% of workers were employed in non-standard work arrangements (i.e. independent contracting, working for a temporary help agency, day labor, or regular part-time employment) (Mishel, Bernstein, and Schmitt, 1999). Temporary employment has increased by 11% since 1972 (Kalleberg, Reskin, &Hudson, 2000). These non-standard work arrangements typically offer lower wages, fewer benefits, and less job security.
A useful measure of the decline in job security is underemployment. Unlike the unemployment rate, measures of underemployment reflect not only individuals who are unemployed, but also involuntary part-timers and those who want to work but have been discouraged by their lack of success.
The underemployment rate is 17.2% substantially higher than the 8.2% unemployment rate which translates into one out of every six American workers is either unemployed or underemployed. The number of involuntarily part-time workers has nearly doubled since the start of the recession, from 4.6 million to over 9.0 million. One reason for the higher level of underemployment is the increasing number of involuntary part-time workers -- workers who want to work full time but have only been able to obtain part time work.
These numbers are in stark comparison to China where the latest labor force statistics state that their unemployment rate stood at 3.2% in May-July, 2012 and the underemployment rate increased from 1.4% in April-June, 2012 to 1.5% in May-July, 2012. The areas most affected were in social work and the real estate sectors. http://www.censtatd.gov.hk/hkstat/sub/sp200.jsp?productCode=B1050001
What has happened to the U.S.economy? We were the leader for decades, where the American Dream for success was the hope for all of us. Now, it appears that we are becoming a country of the “haves” and the “have-nots.” How did we get to this place, where just having any job that can pay bills is the new American Dream, instead of following our passion?
It’s time for a change in our government, real change that can re-build our country and create real jobs.