Apparently the lingering economic malaise has its limits: according to the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. economy added 216,000 new jobs last month. This good news appears to support recent claims that the labor market recovery, as Bloomberg put it, is finally "gaining traction".
But according to a new report from The Huffington Post, those who have been lucky enough to find work, any work, are also often finding their former standard of living to be completely out of reach. “While the recovery of the labor market and the broader U.S. economy depend critically on job growth, equally important is the quality of those jobs. During the economic downturn, 40 percent of the jobs lost came from high-wage industries -- yet high-wage industries accounted for only 14 percent of the new positions created in the first year of post-downturn job growth, according to a report released in February by the National Employment Law Project.”
This means that while the quantity of jobs in the American labor market is on the rise, the quality of those jobs has not returned to pre-recessionary standards, affording few returning workers the lifestyles to which they had become accustomed in the sectors they were most familiar.
“Construction and finance, sectors which boast a median hourly wage of roughly $20, were among the hardest hit during the downturn. By contrast, about a fifth of all new jobs are being generated in the administrative/support, waste management, and remediation services industries and they offer a median hourly wage of $12.91. And many of those jobs are temporary positions. Other lower-paying sectors in which employment has rebounded since the downturn include the retail and hospitality and leisure sectors. Manufacturing is one of the bright spots, but industrywide employment is still well below pre-recession levels.”
All of this is happening while corporate profits continue to rise and the gap between “Wall Street” and “Main Street” grows ever wider. As such, many experts point to an economy still in crisis, paying out to the wealthiest Americans even as the masses receive little financial respite. “The economy has been adding jobs each month for more than a year, but according to the most recent federal data, there are still more than four unemployed workers for every job opening. When considering the spiderweb of factors which forces workers to trade down in the job market, economists point to this supply issue first.”
Is the supply of jobs not meeting your demands to pay down debt? Are you one of the thousands of long-term unemployed who have yet to find work after years of searching? Or have you finally found a job but find yourself underemployed, and now unable to make ends meet?
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