Monday, September 5, 2011

Further analysis of the sad state of employment in America

Let me start by saying I understand the nature of politics is win elections and to win elections you must say and do things to weaken your opponent and strengthen your own position.  I get it.  What I don’t like is the flat out lies spewed by candidates.  Case in point: the GOP assault on the President regarding the lackluster jobs market when it the very same GOP pro-business, anti-labor, anti-middle class, and anti-education agenda that has led us where we are today.  For candidates like Mitt “Private Equity” Romney to tell the black and Hispanic communities that President Obama has turned his back on them as demonstrated by the record high levels of unemployment for these minorities is as incredulous as it is distasteful.   But let’s look at the numbers:

Overall Unemployment rate for August was 9.1%
By race and gender:
·         Total age 20 – 24: 14.8%
·         Men  >20 years old : 8.9%
·         Women >20 years old: 8.5%
·         Both sexes 16 – 19 years old: 25.4%
·         White Men  >16 years old : 7.7% (Down .5% since Aug 2010)
·         Women >20 years old: 7.0% (Down .7% since Aug 2010)
·         African American Men  >16 years old : 18.0% (Up 1.8% since Aug 2010)
·         African American Women >20 years old: 13.4% (Down .7% since Aug 2010)
·         Hispanic Men and Women >20 years old: 11.3% (Down .6% since Aug 2010)

By Education:
·         No High School diploma: 14.3% (up 1.0% from Aug 2010)
·         High School graduate: 9.6%
·         Some college or associates degree: 8.2%
·         Bachelor’s degree: 4.3% (down .7% since Aug 2010)

By Industry:
·         Construction: 13.5% (down 3.5% from Aug 2010)
·         Leisure and hospitality: 10.5%
·         Professional and business services: 9.5%
·         Wholesale and retail trade: 9.1%
·         Manufacturing: 8.9%
·         Education and health services: 6.3%
·         Financial Services: 6.2%

One could conclude that the industries with the highest unemployment rates employ the least educated and often include minorities.  Putting construction workers back to work on infrastructure projects will put money in their pockets which will be spent on retail and other services lifting these industries.  The problem is the U.S. labor force has lost its mobility and flexibility as many are tied to homes underwater.  We must unlock those chains if we are to get people were the work can be found.  The good sign is that unemployment for college educated workers is still low, but unfortunately, we are using outsourced labor to fill many important technology jobs. 
Sadly, the loss of the employer-employee social contract has greatly hurt the working class.  The global economy and the expectations of the instant gratification driven investors have eradicated loyalty and turned employees into an expendable fungible commodities.    We have lost the long term view that other great industrial nations like Germany and Japan still practice.

For the record, reducing corporate tax rates and reducing regulations won’t help.  That is simply GOP strategy not to waste a good crisis without getting something.  On that stroke, I do not begrudge them, after all that is politics.

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