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August 23, 2013 8:46 AM Age: 6 yrs
All Jobs Are Not Created EqualCategory: Larry Checco
Source: Larry Checco
Soon we will be treated to another round of government job reports. The stock market most likely will rejoice if the unemployment rate ticks down a tenth of a percent or so, and agonize if it inches up, depending on what it thinks the Federal Reserve will do with the news.
Either way, for a significant number of working Americans, all this analysis really doesn’t add up to a hill of baked beans.
Since its peak at 10 percent in October 2009, the unemployment rate, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, is now hovering around 7.4 percent. Even though it’s been a slog of a recovery, you would think, given that more Americans are working—some, more than one job—that they would be feeling a bit of financial relief by now.
Why? They still can’t make ends meet.
In fact, the buying power of the American worker is weaker now than when the recession ended four years ago.
According to a recent report by Sentier Research, a firm headed by two former Census Bureau officials, inflation-adjusted median household income has declined 4.4 percent to US$52,098, since June 2009, when the government officially declared the end of the recession.
Now, $52K may sound like a livable wage to some of us. Except for the fact that fully 25 percent of the workforce earns less than two-thirds that amount.
The sad fact is that all jobs are not created equal!
Many workers who lost good paying manufacturing jobs or mid-level management positions to the Great Recession have had to settle for much lower-wage employment in the retail and hospitality industries, many without the benefits they use to enjoy.
Even industries that once paid middle-class wages and provided good benefits are now hiring workers at half the price of previous workers, including the auto industry, and reducing the value of their benefits packages, shifting a greater portion of health care premiums on to employees.
United Parcel Services, for example, recently announced plans to drop health insurance coverage for about 15,000 working spouses of white-collar employees to curtail rising costs, which, frankly, is more benign than what many other employers are doing to pare back their costs.
All this would be easier to swallow if everyone was taking a hit because we’re all experiencing such a terrible economy. But that’s not the case.
Corporate profits have soared over the last few years. But rather than go to wage increases for loyal employees they are being used to buy back shares or make dividend payments, neither of which helps the average worker.
So the next time a company like Amazon magnanimously announces a plan to hire 7,000 workers for its U.S. operation, “with most jobs offering pay and benefits far above typical retail wages,” keep in mind that the overwhelming majority of these workers will still be earning less than $15 an hour (about $30,000 a year) —and their boss will still be worth $25 billion, give or take $250 million or so after his purchase of The Washington Post!
Content © 2013 -- All Rights Reserved by Larry Checco
Larry Checco is president of Checco Communications. His latest book is entitled Aha! Moments in Brand Management: Commonsense Insights to a Stronger, Healthier Brand. Checco Communications is a consulting firm that specializes in branding. It helps organizations clearly define who they are, what they do, how they do it and, most importantly, why anyone should care enough to support them. Where most branding professionals focus on making sure an organization has an attractive logo, catchy tagline and perhaps a marketing plan, Larry’s take is different. His message is that good branding is far less about marketing, advertising and public relations and far more about quality leadership and staff, appropriate and ethical behavior, and an organization’s willingness, ability and commitment to live up to the promises, or covenant, its brand represents. His first book, Branding for Success: A Roadmap for Raising the Visibility and Value of Your Nonprofit Organization, has sold thousands of copies worldwide. Click here for full bio.
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