By Debra Kozikowski
Front page news in today’s New York Times confirmed that American workers continue to lose ground when it comes to finding a job. David Leonhardt reports that more than 1 in 6 American workers were either unemployed or underemployed. This reflects a broader, which many analysts and financial experts agree, more realistic measure of the effective rate of joblessness.
The 17.4% figure includes officially unemployed who have looked for work in the last four weeks and discouraged workers, off the rolls for compensation benefits but still looking for work, as well as part-time workers who were previously fully employed. Leonhardt also reports that for those workers with jobs, even though the average hourly wage has risen up to 2.5% over the last year, weekly pay for workers with jobs has only risen by zero to 1% as a result of less available hours.
In short, American workers are left with less opportunity and not enough income to pay their bills. There are simply too many workers chasing too few jobs. But there are solutions and businesses to bet on in aiding a recovery.
Creating new jobs and favorable circumstance for recovery include investing in clean energy technology, information age infrastructure as well as rebuilding our roads and bridges to support the practical needs of a robust next generation manufacturing sector. Made in America programs and creative incentives make sense if we are to make a concerted effort to reverse the downward spiral of the unemployed and underemployed.
It’s time for congress to step up to the plate with a plan to reverse the biggest impediment to revitalizing the American economy. It’s time to invest in creating real jobs for American workers.