Good Job Numbers Disguise the Underemployed, Leading to Economic Collapse
The idyllic scenario of jobs and wages for all is just that: idyllic. The fact is, inflation is slow and that means wages are stagnant. Wages are low because while the unemployed are few, the numbers of the underemployed are rising. These are the ones that the U.S. economy has to watch out for because they are one of the potential causes of economic collapse.
The underemployed represent a growing and subordinate army, almost 10% of the workforce, who are invisible. They are all but forced to accept part-time, precarious positions. Or they take unpaid jobs—in that deplorable system known as the “internships.” In other words, you might as well file underemployment as a theoretical kind of employment that exists only in statistics.
In fact, underemployment often brings fewer positive phenomena that increase inequalities. It is the one big phenomenon that has been crushing the middle class. Hillary Clinton recently published a book. She’s been promoting it on the book tour and it seems she still fails to understand the underemployed are the reason she lost. The underemployed are a bigger threat of U.S. economic collapse than the unemployed.
The forgotten men and women who used to comprise the “middle class” feel as if they have dropped a few steps in the social ladder. Instead, we are told that employers can’t find enough employees to fill positions. In too many cases, the positions offered imply taking too many steps back.
The overly optimistic see this as evidence that the U.S. labor market is tightening. The Federal Reserve, in particular, can’t wait to confirm this healthy scenario. It wants to raise interest rates. But short of other encouraging factors, the Fed has struggled to find sufficient good news to justify a rate hike. Certainly, the payroll growth data is sending an alarm. Give the almost zero wage growth, nobody can expect consumer spending and demand to increase.
Employers Have Too High Expectations
The reason job ads are not getting enough recruits is that employers are demanding too much. They want too many qualifications and are offering few incentives. In the 1950s to 1970s, the period when the economies of the highly industrialized countries (i.e. U.S.A., Germany, U.K., Italy, France, etc.) were growing at the same level of present-day China, one of the keys was employee training.
In Germany, they still value training. In the United States, they used to value training and apprenticeship. Consider that less than five percent of American workers receive any kind of proper on-the job training these days. In Germany, companies recruit young workers, train them to perform well such that they deliver high-quality products and services. The employers ensure that their business has a better chance of surviving in an ever more competitive world. In return, they secure their employees’ loyalty.
The United States used to believe in such a system. But no more. It now believes and trusts standardized tests, meaningless statistics, and college certificates. Having an education used to inform an employer that you had the potential to learn any and all skills that the job and the market demanded. Perhaps, the new trend toward over specialized knowledge might account for the descent toward U.S. economic collapse.
Also Read: 5 Signs of a U.S. Economic Collapse in 2017
The key is potential. Now, employers in the U.S. demand that employees come fully packaged. They must have all the skills already perfected because many companies no longer spend any effort training and forming employees. They no longer see any potential. This helps to ensure high turnover, low loyalty, and poor morale. But, it especially ensures that many employable people waste their time and money having to acquire myopic skills just to fit into this or that job.
This makes for a poor practice. People aren’t taught to think or adapt. It’s a recipe for chronic periods of unemployment, which ends up costing all of society in the long run. There may be some apprenticeship spirit left in the construction trades, but those are subject to the vagaries of the boom and bust of the U.S. real estate markets.
It’s either all good or all bad. Meanwhile, it’s now time to confront Obama’s decision to almost double the federal debt during his eight years in office. That will obstruct any effort to cut taxes and encourage employers to invest in the kinds of jobs that sustain the middle class.