Underemployment Trumps Unemployment as the Nation’s Latest Economic Deficit Skip to main content

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Underemployment Trumps Unemployment as the Nation’s Latest Economic Deficit

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Yes, the American employment picture is getting better. The latest numbers show that the U.S. added nearly 250,000 jobs in April 2011, making it the 14th consecutive month of job market gains. But economists aren’t as optimistic, pointing to a lack of job diversity and higher income positions as signs things are far from back to “business as usual.”

According to a new article from The Huffington Post, “ In April, the U.S. economy added 244,000 jobs -- the third straight month to see an average of over 200,000 new positions created, according to new data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. While state and local governments continued to cut back, private employers added 268,000 jobs, the largest monthly gain since February 2006. The unemployment rate edged up to 9.0 percent from 8.8 percent in March, however, the first increase since last November. Amid signs of a stagnating economy -- a weakening gross domestic product, slowing growth in the manufacturing sector, a spike in claims for unemployment insurance -- economists wonder if the labor market is really as strong as the gain in private-sector jobs suggests. ‘Today's numbers seems a bit out of place with all the other economic reports that consistently portray an economy that is breathing hard, an economy that is losing steam,’ said Bernard Baumohl, chief global economist at The Economic Outlook Group. "So you have to ask yourself, 'What's going on here?' This is probably going to be one of the strongest numbers of the year and in subsequent months we'll see hiring being scaled back.’”

And so, with all signs pointing to payroll numbers and unemployment rates moving in opposite directions, it tells a disconcerting tale that while average Americans are heading back to work, they’re doing so with less than average paychecks—a signifier that underemployment is as much as sign of a weakened economy as its recessionary companion, unemployment. Nevertheless, unemployment remains a problem in industries like information and financial services, construction, and transportation and warehousing, which saw little if any job growth last month. Manufacturing has made significant gains in the past year, that rate of growth has become sluggish in the last couple of months. And while retails sales are up, retail industry wages remain low, with hourly wages just over $9.

As HuffPost reported, “Despite private employers' best month of job creation in five years, the economy has yet to see a big uptick in wages. In April, the average workweek remained static at at 34.3 hours, while average hourly earnings only increased by 3 cents, or 0.1 percent. During the past 12 months, average hourly earnings only increased by 1.9 percent.

Economists said this trend should begin to improve with the broader unemployment numbers, though they cautioned that significant wage increases are unlikely to arrive in the near future.

If you’re like many people languishing in the current economic malaise, you can hardly wait for signs of strong job growth and wage increases. But what will you do in the meantime, as housing prices continue to drop and your personal debt rises? Even as we experience a purported national economic recovery, it may be a good time to take your financial future into your own hands, so that you can experience your own economic recovery, even before the country actually sees the benefits of its own.

A personal bankruptcy can provide the very solution to your underemployment woes. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy can erase unsecured debt like credit cards or medial costs, while a Chapter 13 plan can buy you time to pay down your debts and keep the assets you love.

The bankruptcy attorneys at the Law Offices of John T. Orcutt offer a totally FREE debt consultation and there’s no time like the present to take them up on their offer. Just call toll free to 1-888-234-4181, or during the off hours, you can make your own appointment right online at www.billsbills.com. Simply click on the yellow “FREE Consultation Now” button.

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