In a recent article on Yahoo!’s financial page, one Jeremy Greenfield has written an article about something called the New Natural Unemployment Rate, which seems to me a misnomer at best, and a downright fraud at worst. While I realize there will always be a number of people who are unemployable, to call it new or natural seems misleading.
Mr Greenfield quotes one Mark Vinter, an economist at Wells Fargo, who claims, “Businesses are looking to hire, but the workers they are looking to hire are not there in the abundance that they want them to be.” Lets examine this quote. Have we not seen stories, some in the last few days, about college grads who can’t find work, or are being hired for much less than previous graduates made. A specific story, which ran on AT&T/Yahoos homepage, told of law school grads being priced down, which goes directly against what Mr. Vinter is trying to sell. I don’t see a lack of skilled labor, I see businesses unwilling to pay for labor of any kind unless it is absolutely necessary to sustain their current business levels.
The article continues to claim that there are 600,000 job openings in education and health services, and another 600,000 openings in business and professional services. Again, lets examine these numbers. If there are actually all these openings in education, why are teachers being layed-off left and right. I can understand the openings in healthcare, because as our populace continues to age, we will need more people to care for them. But will these workers make more than minimum wage? As to the business numbers, does that include McDonald’s counter workers?
As usual, the minimum wage is trotted out there as a detriment to job growth, and that companies need people but don’t want to hire them at that rate. This is garbage. If they need people, they would hire them, $8.25 an hour be damned. They also claim that the high unemployment rate is directly related to unemployment benefit extensions. The phrase “Cart leading the Horse” quickly comes to mind.
No, the problem is that American companies, in order to pad their bottom line, have been eviscerating the American worker for years. From sending most of the $18 to $22 dollar per hour jobs overseas – which had sustained the lower middle classes – because labor is cheaper in China and India, to sending almost all of our manufacturing jobs over there also, American companies simply don’t care about their workers. As long as unemployment is high, they can dictate labors terms. I personally know of one company that hires only temporary workers so that they don’t have to provide benefits like healthcare, sick days or vacations time to those folks. All this while companies are making more in profits than ever before, and paying their CEOs sinful sums of money. We have become an hourglass economy, with a high concentration of wealth at the top, and all the poor folk at the bottom. We are not a consumer driven economy as we were before the recession. We are now an economy that caters to the wealthy by using poor people as slave labor, and as long as unemployment stays high, this will continue. It’s all about the bottom line.
It is not a lack of skilled labor that brought on this recession, it was stagnation of wages and the movement of jobs overseas. As people failed to keep up with their bills, the nations spending diminished and companies began laying-off more people. When they discovered that this could lead to larger profits even in a down economy due to the now international nature of business, they took this ball and ran with it. So the next time some economist or other crony of big business tries to tell you that unemployment benefits or the raising of the minimum wage is to blame for high unemployment, or that there is a lack of skilled labor in America, you can tell them that they are full of it. You know better. It is corporate greed, pure and simple, that is keeping the American worker down.