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Thread: How America became the land of the low-wage breadwinner

  1. #1

    How America became the land of the low-wage breadwinner

    America’s the land of opportunity, right? Well, for families that increasingly rely on low-wage jobs as their main source of income, that ideal may seem like a cruel joke.
    The number of American workers who are low-wage and low-income earners jumped 94 percent from 1979 to 2011, reaching 20.9 million workers, according to a new study from University of Massachusetts Boston economists Randy Albelda and Michael Carr.
    That means that 1 in 7 U.S. workers lives in a household whose main source of income is a low-paying job, such as working as a retail sales clerk or a fast-food restaurant cashier. The findings may go some way to explain why fewer Americans today identify as middle class, while those calling themselves lower or lower-middle class has jumped to 40 percent, up from only one-quarter in 2008.
    “It wasn’t just single mothers” who rely on low-paying jobs for their main source of income, Albelda said. “Over the last 30 years, a lot of men have fallen down into it.”
    The report strips out higher-income families that may have one member working in a low-income job, such as a high-school student making minimum wage flipping burgers. While states have different definitions of what qualifies for a low wage, the median cut-off is $11.22 per hour, the study found.
    While single women make up a disproportionately large share of the nation's low-paid workers, men are increasingly also falling into the category. That “is consistent with the earnings literature that finds wage stagnation of male earners at the bottom of the wage ladder,” according to the study, which will be published this spring in the journal Feminist Economics.
    Men “are becoming more like women,” Albelda said. “They are doing these jobs that are precarious jobs. They don’t have full hours, so there are a lot of people falling down into that position.”
    Out of all low-wage, low-income earners, about 17 percent were single men without children, compared with 11.6 percent for single women with children, for example. Still, women comprised 54.4 percent of these workers, compared with 45.6 percent of men.
    So how has America gotten to this point? Income inequality is making the rich even wealthier, while wages have stagnated for average workers. Much of the job growth in the economic recovery has come from low-paying industries, such as the hotel and restaurant fields.
    Government aid programs were tailored to help the unemployed, the elderly or the disabled, so that working, able-bodied Americans may find it difficult to qualify for Medicaid or other safety-net programs. At the same time, many low-paying jobs don’t provide benefits such as health-care or retirement plans, the study pointed out.
    “One thing we could do in the U.S. is to think more clearly about what are the minimum standards we need for employment,” Albelda noted. “Employers will balk -- they always do. They didn’t want to go to a 40-hour work week.”
    Of course, these workers at least have jobs. In December, about 17 percent of working-age men weren’t employed, The Wall Street Journal recently reported. And the recovery is moving at a crawl, with only 113,000 jobs added in January, below consensus forecasts of about 185,000.
    The January job numbers, according to Pantheon Macroeconomics chief economist Ian Shepherdson, were “grim.”
    How America became the land of the low-wage breadwinner - CBS News


    We already talked about minimum wage, but not yet about low wages. How a household can live with wage between $10 and $16 today, I guess it depends where you are located.

    I see a lot of middle class people falling into the lower class at a very high pace.
    Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.

    Voltaire


  2. #2
    This happens when there is very little demand for workers. The only way we are ever going to get out of this mess is if the demand for workers increases. However, the current idiot in charge does not have a clue when it comes to stimulating job growth.Almost all of his policies are focused on stifling jobs and discouraging people from working.
    "Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote." -- Benjamin Franklin


  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by TopDogger View Post
    This happens when there is very little demand for workers. The only way we are ever going to get out of this mess is if the demand for workers increases. However, the current idiot in charge does not have a clue when it comes to stimulating job growth.Almost all of his policies are focused on stifling jobs and discouraging people from working.
    I agree with you, except on "the very little demand for workers". They already manipulated the demand for workers for decades, they are just shipping low and high skilled labor overseas and keep low wage labor skilled here.
    Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.

    Voltaire


  4. #4
    Mrs Yellen recognized that the labor market is far from complete. How do you complete something that was shipped overseas, you tell me...Really it is hard to believe that the job market will ever recover! Sorry to say, but selling hope doesn't put food on the table!


    Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said on Tuesday the U.S. central bank was on track to keep reducing its policy stimulus, even as she acknowledged the labor market recovery was "far from complete." In her first public comments as Fed chief, Yellen said the central bank would need to keep its eye on a broad range of labor market indicators, not just the unemployment rate, as it continued to assess the health of the jobs market.
    Yellen says Fed on track to keep trimming stimulus | Reuters
    Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.

    Voltaire


  5. #5
    The Fed stimulus money is doing more to artificially prop up stock market prices than anything else. When the markets are being artificially stimulated, stock market growth no longer means that the economy or the employment situation is getting better. They are just trying to make it look better.

    It's another 'smoke and mirrors' policy, like the unemployment number.
    "Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote." -- Benjamin Franklin


  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by TopDogger View Post
    The Fed stimulus money is doing more to artificially prop up stock market prices than anything else. When the markets are being artificially stimulated, stock market growth no longer means that the economy or the employment situation is getting better. They are just trying to make it look better.

    It's another 'smoke and mirrors' policy, like the unemployment number.
    The Fed stimulus for me not only prop up artificially the stock market, it dilute the dollar which have the consequence to force people to borrow.

    I was reading a French blogger who explained this pretty well. You have a liberalism philosophic, but you don't have a liberalism economic for the people, the liberalism economic stays at the top.

    If you take a closer look, people are wrongly watching the unemployment percentage (which are unemployment claim benefits), when you know that a lot of people are not counted in claim benefits statistics and apply for the skyrocketing welfare (the real numbers).

    The job market of a nation is the economic engine, they decided to ship the entire labor which inevitably broke down the economic engine, plus all the other political mistakes, that nail in the coffin.

    Until they do not change their economic policies, we will stay for a long time in this mess.
    Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.

    Voltaire


  7. #7
    The paradox of the Federal Reserve Bank which is privately owned is that the reserve do not exist, let's take a look at the inflation (hidden tax) and the value of the dollar since its creation:

    How Your Dollar Got To Be Worth Just 3.8 Cents

    Attachment 1777

    How Your Dollar Got To Be Worth Just 3.8 Cents - Business Insider
    Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.

    Voltaire


  8. #8
    Mortgage Applications Drop - Hover Near 19 Year Lows

    Despite being told by Bullard, Yellen (and numerous other Federal Reserve thinkers) that quantitative easing was aimed at improving the housing market, the data suggests that - somewhat predictably - it did very little for mom-and-pop organic real home-buyer but stoked speculation and fervor among fast-money cheap-funding investors (and as Marc Faber noted actually hurt the average homebuyer via un-affordability). The week-to-week ebbs and and flows in mortgage applications are notable (this week saw purchase applications drop 5% and back near recent lows) but a bigger picture glance at just where this "recovery" has been tells a very different story about confidence among home-buyers.
    Mortgage applications for home purchases have basically flatlined since the Fed began QE and hover now just above their lowest levels since 1995...
    Mortgage Applications Drop - Hover Near 19 Year Lows | Zero Hedge

    The mortgage mess is not purged yet, and frankly the mortgage market is propped up only by an investors market paying cash, not by mom and pop real home buyers.
    Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.

    Voltaire


  9. #9
    This article support what I said in my post #6 that percentage of unemployment doesn't mean anything.

    91 million Americans aren't looking for jobs


    The unemployment rate isn't always the best measure of the job market, because it only includes people who have actively searched for work within the last four weeks. Many Americans just aren't looking for jobs. In fact, about 91 million adult Americans don't work, and aren't looking for jobs. They make up 37% of the population -- the highest level on record since 1978.

    Yes, some of them are workers who've been out of a job for so long that they've given up entirely.
    But don't be too alarmed: In addition to discouraged workers, this group also includes people who are retired, enrolled in high school or college, and staying at home to take care of young children or elderly relatives.
    Here is a complete view of the U.S. working-age population, including everyone over age 16.

    91 million Americans aren't looking for jobs - Economy
    Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.

    Voltaire


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