Friday Aug 03, 201203:51 PM GMT
Study: 'Good jobs' in America on the decline
Fri Aug 3, 2012 3:51PM
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The U.S. economy has lost about one-third of its capacity to generate good jobs, according to a new report from the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR).

 

Despite substantial increases in the education, age, and quantity and quality of technology over the last three decades, the share of workers with a “good job” has fallen since 1979, the CEPR researchers concluded.

 

The report, “Where Have All the Good Jobs Gone?” defines a good job as one that pays at least $18.50 an hour, has employer provided health insurance, and some kind of retirement plan.

 

The $18.50 per hour figure (which translates to about $37,000 per year on a full-time basis) is equal to the inflation-adjusted earnings of the typical male worker in 1979, the first year of data analyzed in the report.

 

By this definition, less than one-fourth (24.6 percent) of the workforce in 2010 (the most recent year for which data are available) had a “good job.” This figure was down from 27.4 percent in 1979.

 

The report backs unions' frequent contentions that good jobs have been declining, leading to the decline of the middle class.  The authors point out that even while more than one-third of workers have college degrees; even those workers have been losing good jobs. Eurasia Review

 

HIGHLIGHTS

 

The report, by John Schmitt and Janelle Jones of the Center for Economic Policy and Research points out that “the decline in the economy's ability to create good jobs is related to a deterioration in the bargaining power of workers, especially those at the middle and the bottom of the income scale.”

 

"The share of private-sector workers who are unionized has fallen from 23 percent in 1979 to less than 8% today.  The inflation-adjusted value of the minimum wage today is 15 percent below what it was in 1979.  Several large industries, including trucking, airlines, telecommunications, and others, have been deregulated, often at a substantial cost to their workers," the two pointed out.

 

Workers are also hurt by privatizing and outsourcing of state and local government jobs, and trade policy that "put low- and middle-wage workers in the United States in direct competition with typically much lower-wage workers in the rest of the world.”

 

The issue of job quality has yet to arise in the political campaign, as the nation still struggles with jobless rates around 8%. Unions contend politicians should address it, but aren't.  Schmitt and Jones did not address the politics of the decline in good jobs, other than to note that past political decisions were partially responsible for the drop. People’s World

 

AHT/HJ

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