26 September 2004

Annual unemployment insurance exhaustion rate at highest level in 60 years

Lack of job creation still evident in this "economic recovery"
Last year, 43.4% of people who began receiving state unemployment benefits ended up exhausting all the benefits to which they were entitled without finding a job.   This exhaustion rate is the highest rate since 1941, and it exceeds the 38.5% rate for 1982 when the unemployment rate was over 10%.

24 September 2004

Vanishing Middle Class

Washington Post begins a series of articles on the middle class squeeze in America.
This transformation is no longer just about factory workers, whose ranks have declined by 5 million in the past 25 years as manufacturing moved to countries with cheaper labor. All kinds of jobs that pay in the middle range -- Clark's $17 an hour, or about $35,000 a year, was smack in the center -- are vanishing, including computer-code crunchers, produce managers, call-center operators, travel agents and office clerks.

The jobs have had one thing in common: For people with a high school diploma and perhaps a bit of college, they can be a ticket to a modest home, health insurance, decent retirement and maybe some savings for the kids' tuition. Such jobs were a big reason America's middle class flourished in the second half of the 20th century.

Now what those jobs share is vulnerability. The people who fill them have become replaceable by machines, workers overseas or temporary employees at home who lack benefits. And when they are replaced, many don't know where to turn.

6 September 2004

This Labor Day, most U.S. workers are worse off than they were at this time last year

Productivity is rising, economy is growing, yet American workers continue to lose ground.
The average real wage – that is, adjusted for inflation – has actually fallen over the past year. This is in spite of the fact that the economy has grown by 4.7 percent. In other words, even when the economy is growing, most of the people who make it grow aren't getting anything out of it.

This continues a long-term trend – briefly interrupted in the late 1990s – that has dominated the last 30 years. Over the last three decades the median real wage has grown by only about 8 percent. In other words, the majority of the American labor force has failed to share in the gains from economic growth.

But CEO pay is rising at a record pace.

Another piece of evidence that shows that the current regime is anything but a good steward when it comes to the economic matters.

A nice perspective regarding the 120,000 jobs added in August.