No, The Job Market Is Not Growing. It Isn’t Even Stable.

Russell Meyers

Once again, Trump announces that jobs and wages are up. Not only do his followers cheer and regurgitate that statement but MSM continues pushing how well the economy is doing and employment is up.

When you look at the facts, they tell a very different story.

Layoffs and bankruptcies. Ford announced 25,000 layoffs in December. GM announced thousands more. GE announced thousands more. Toys R Us no longer exists. Sears/Kmart is bankrupt. A couple dozen other corporate chains have declared bankruptcy, downsized or completely disappeared. Carrier has exported jobs to Mexico. Harley-Davidson has shipped jobs to Thailand.

Many people only look at these employers and the announced jobs directly. They fail to examine the downstream effect of these job losses. There is always a downstream effect.

Downstream effects. Each one of these companies contracts and does business with other, smaller companies. Companies that produce components for vehicles, supplies stocked in stores. In addition, you have to consider truck drivers no longer delivering goods. Maintenance contractors. If the auto companies were purchasing American produced steel, that impacts that industry. Then you have dock workers, trains and more.

Further downstream. Yet the impact does not stop there. You have to look even further downstream. Each one of those workers is also a consumer and taxpayer. When consumers lose their income, they spend less or stop spending. Their skills are rather specific in some cases, which now places a constriction on future employment opportunities. In geographic areas where one manufacturer was the only employer for that field, workers may be forced to relocate. Loss of sales and property tax revenue impacts municipal operations, like schools, libraries, etc. Decreasing tax revenue and population means municipal employees will then be laid off with no job opportunities in that community.

Limited skills, limited options. With manufacturers that produce items like vehicles that require a specific skill set and limited number of manufacturers in this country, relocation may have little or no benefit and indeed incur cost which they cannot afford. It is unquestionable that most will be forced to take jobs with lower wages. Possibly in locations where cost of living is higher than they have been paying.

Continued middle class erosion. This is how the middle class continues to erode. To the point that we have reached critical mass. This is how people wind up working for minimum wage when they once had a living wage income. As they climb further down the income ladder, they are less able to afford a new vehicle, a new home, new clothes and may default on current debts.

Fake numbers. The numbers cited for unemployment are false numbers. They omit those who have simply stopped looking for work. Yet they include those who work insufficient hours to make an effective living. If you work 1 hour a week, you are considered employed.

The numbers included for new jobs created do not state a balance. Those numbers exclude the number of jobs which have ceased to exist.

Median wage. When wages are stated, they are stated as a median. So if I earn $100 an hour and you earn $1 an hour, the median wage is $50. Hence, stock brokers and CEO’s earn a wage, which is thrown into a lump sum with minimum wage workers and an average is calculated to state a median wage. That’s how the claim that wages are increasing is not true in the least.

More jobs in January? Claiming jobs are increasing in January makes no sense to begin with. Many retailers hire temporary labor during the holidays, then those jobs no longer even exist in January. Agricultural jobs are over 90% suspended during winter months. Construction is at a minimum.

The biggest thing to pay attention to when job and wage numbers are being stated is that no specifics are offered. If any source claims jobs are being created or wages are increasing, challenge that claim. Force them to name specifics. If they are capable, note that they rely on a limited geographic area or even one single employer in one area. Even that employer may have relocated to that area from elsewhere, where they left and eliminated jobs. Net job creation nationally: zero.

I will concede that wages have increased nationally in one respect. The areas that have increased the minimum wage. When averaged out, that gives a false impression that wages increased nationally. Yet those are such limited geographic areas that affect such a small number of workers that the national average is negligible. It is absolutely the wages at the top of the corporate ladder that affect the median wage.

In all ways, from all sources, whether Trump or neoliberal corporate media, we have to challenge, research and reason when claims are being made that don’t fit with what are seeing before our eyes.

Russell Meyers

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Issues unite, names divide

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