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What exactly is the employment situation in the US?

  1. Aug 30, 2005 #1

    russ_watters

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    The discussion has always been mixed with others, so lets make this thread just about the employment situation in the US. A large part of the recent debates have focused on the viability of unemployment statistics and whether or not they accurately reflect the employment situation in the US. I will concede, right from the start, that unemployment stats alone do not tell the whole story. But be that as it may, I think the other pertinent data supports the position that the employment situation is both "good" (relative to the past) and improving.

    To start, some stats:

    -The official unemployment rate for the US in July was 5.0% (SOURCE)
    -Jobless claims are down since last year (same source)
    -Job creation is up since last year (same source)
    -Adjusted for inflation, the incomes for the lower three fifths of the population have decreased slightly and the upper two fifths have increased slightly (none by more than .1% between 2002 and 2003 (2004 numbers are not out). (SOURCE)
    -All fifths (and the top 1%) are below where they were in 1999, inflation adjusted.

    Now, something claimed by others (and I'll let them substantiate it) is that the number of people in the workforce, but not employed is rising. The data, imo, is contrived: ie, not real. Others have admitted the difficulty in finding that stat, but I have speculated some reasons why the workforce would not rise as fast as the population. So, some new data for that speculation:

    -The workforce participation rate of people aged 65 and older has been declining relatively steadily for the past 120 years. (SOURCE)

    This is a key stat that I'd conjectured about before, but have since found: Because, as time passes, less people work as the get older, the labor force will not grow as fast as the population.

    Also, something that has not yet had much of an effect, and we haven't discussed much, the baby boom generation is approaching retirement. Whatever the situation today, the coming decade will see labor foce growth drop, possibly creating a labor shortage.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 30, 2005 #2

    russ_watters

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    Just a little more... We discussed the labor force growth discrepancy before, and HERE is some information that says the discrepancy may be explained by fact that the number of people working under contract, off the books, or self-employed is growing.
     
  4. Sep 1, 2005 #3
    and the numbers of people in poverty
    and workers WITHOUT HEALTH INSURANCE are both UP
    as per studys printed in my local newspaper in the last few days

    sure job numbers are up as many people are working two or more jobs
    just to keep there debts down
    many can only find part-time work
    or jobs paying LESS then a few years ago
    the rich are getting richer and the poor poorer
    and the former middle class is shrinking
    your boy BuSh2 has been a disaster for the working classes
     
  5. Sep 1, 2005 #4
    Michigan's jobless rate, which at 7 percent tops the nation, and is expected to go higher next year. We also have a large group of working poor, the working uninsured, with many living from paycheck to paycheck.
    I can't begin to compare us to the national average, I don't foresee a rise in any jobs market here.
     
  6. Sep 1, 2005 #5

    Pengwuino

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    Those were some nice talking points off a democrat blog/democrat handbook ray_b. How bout some real information to back up your (false) facts? Didn't we already discuss how % are the only thing that matters. Hell I might as well say over 200 million people have health insurance, big woop, look at the percentages. Average wages are up. No data to say people are taking on two jobs has ever been brought up. Rest of course, no data, just rhetoric.

    Its funny how this forum can have such long winded discussions to disprove all this crap yet people will still come in and run off the talking points like clockwork.
     
  7. Sep 1, 2005 #6
    Pengwuino, for one who complains about not backing up opinions with data, you certainly like to do it a lot. Actually, employer health insurance rates have been dropping like a rock for years. You don't notice because Medicaid and Medicare have been picking up the slack, and causing the percentage of uninsured to only increase relatively slowly. Great, so the government is paying for it. Also, have you got any proof that adjusted wages are up over the last four years? I doubt it. I especially like the productivity/adjusted income graph. A 15% increase in productivity has corresponded with a 4% drop in income. Does that make sense to you? Why don't you take a look at the other graph? I guess it shows kick-down, er, I mean trickle-down, economics in action.
     
  8. Sep 1, 2005 #7

    Pengwuino

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    There have been like 20 threads on this. Go take al ook.

    And why does one of your links contradict the other?

     
  9. Sep 2, 2005 #8
    First sentence: off topic. Disregarded.
    Second sentence: They don't contradict, as you can clearly see in the following two quotes:

    Also, I noticed that you neglected to quote the whole insurance block of the census press release. Perhaps you were trying to hide the fact that though the number of uninsured hasn't changed, employer-based coverage has dropped as Medicaid/care has risen, as I reported?

     
  10. Sep 2, 2005 #9

    Pengwuino

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    Neglected to quote the whoel insurance block? Why not just ask why I didnt quote the entire income by region block or earnings by industry? I'm not here to quote things Im not questioning.

    I can see the various declines/increases. What are the figures for 02 and 01?
     
  11. Sep 2, 2005 #10

    SOS2008

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    Since you are not employed, and supposedly a student (who is learning what I cannot see), may I ask what the heck do you know, and where in the heck is the evidence for your claims, the evidence that is always lacking!!!!
     
  12. Sep 2, 2005 #11

    Art

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    Actually you said % is the only thing that matters. Most would disagree. If you took a flight from California to London and landed .001% short of your targeted destination it may not sound a lot but it sure would spoil your holiday. :rofl: As you can see sometimes absolutes are far more relevant than percentages.
     
  13. Sep 2, 2005 #12
    "There are lies, damn lies, and then there are statistics."

    Obviously you are picking data that supports your conclusions and ignoring facts that dispute it. Not very scientific.

    Hmm that sounds familiar...who else recently did this?

    Oh, now I remember "Don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud!." :surprised
     
  14. Sep 2, 2005 #13
    Oh, so you're not questioning the fact that though actual insurance rates are stable, employer insurance rates are dropping? Good. So, do you think that it is good that more people have to rely on Medicare/caid, or bad? Please explain.

    Between 2000 and 2001, real median income decreased 2.2% (page 7). Between 2001 and 2002, it dropped by 1.1%. Both of these figures are reflected in the aforementioned graph. So, are you going to make a point? While you're at it, can you address the fact that though productivity has increased by a significant margin, median income has decreased? One would think that they'd be related pretty linearly, unless one group of people managed to keep the fruits of the productivity increase.
     
  15. Sep 2, 2005 #14
    From the same link:

    (emphasis mine)

    What I am having a problem with is stated above. A majority of recently created jobs are going to aliens who are working in the underground economy.
    Those who are employed at: under contract, off the books, self employed jobs, are living for the most part at or below the poverty level.

    Of course there are jobs being created, but it is a revovling door of jobs. Just down the street from my house I noticed a sign on a telephone pole. It was posted there by a man offering to do yard work.
    When I checked into it, that man offering to do yard work was a man who had lost his job 6 months ago when IBM downsized a local facility.

    Sure, he technically has a job. But his situation is all to common, not the exception. I do not see where jobs of that nature can ever be construed as a "healthy" economy.

    To use an old axiom: This country is only as strong as it's weakest link, and it appears that the weakest link is our work force. Underground and off the books jobs have replaced a strong, skilled, productive work force.

    This, to me is a great threat to national security which seems to go unseen.
     
  16. Sep 2, 2005 #15

    loseyourname

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    Woa, there, edward. What you quote only said immigrants, it didn't say anything about illegal immigrants. Unless you're referring to something from another part of the site that you didn't quote, aren't you being a little xenophobic?
     
  17. Sep 2, 2005 #16
    Regardless of edward's alleged xenophobia (which is irrelevant and off-topic), the point he makes still stands: a lot of the jobs created have been "revolving door" jobs, with high turnover rates. Between 2003 and 2004, the average turnover rate increased by 1%. (Figures run from September to August, so Sept. 2004 - August 2005 figures are not yet available.) Keep in mind that this is all voluntary turnover, giving a very clear indication that the job market is less desirable than it used to be.
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2005
  18. Sep 2, 2005 #17
    Actually, I was wrong about that last statistic. It shows that the percentage of the job market which changed jobs increased by 1%. In fact, if you do the math, you'll find that the average voluntary turnover rate increased by 5.2%. I'd say that that's extremely significant, wouldn't the rest of you?
     
  19. Sep 2, 2005 #18
    Actually at this point I am more than a little xenophobic :tongue2:

    But they are a fairly large part of the economy and their employment status must be included in the overall picture.
     
  20. Sep 3, 2005 #19

    loseyourname

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    Okay, but do you see what I was asking? The part of the article you quoted said that new immigrants accounted for a large portion of the newly created jobs. You then went on to say that you have a problem with this, but then said that aliens were receiving underground jobs. That wasn't what the article said, at least not the part you quoted. The part you quoted was talking about legal immigrants, and I would guess that they must have payroll jobs, given that they are being included in the statistics. I just want to know if you unintentionally misread the article or if you're referring to something else in it that you didn't quote.
     
  21. Sep 3, 2005 #20

    loseyourname

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    It's hard to see how that's an entirely negative thing. Having at least some sector of the job market consist of jobs with very high turnover rates provides a cushion for people that become temporarily unemployed, as it ensures that there will always be jobs available as people quit. I'd rather wait tables at the local restaurant while I look for a new job than rely on unemployment benefits.
     
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