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Den amerikanska ekonomin återhämtar sig - enligt visssa indikatorer. Men:
"Lisa Gluskin has had a tough three years. She works almost as hard as she did during the dot-com boom, for about 20% of the income. (...)

Steve Fahringer found an alternative way to earn a bit of money. He did some acrylic paintings, which he sold for a total of $1,000. He calls himself "a hobbyist," which means for a while he moved out of the labor force entirely.
Now he's a temp, assigned by his agency to a nonprofit office. For the first time in six months, he's working 40 hours a week. By the government's accounting, he has once again joined the ranks of the employed. But from the standpoint of his wallet, Fahringer is worse off: He's earning less money, with no paid holidays, no sick leave, no pension plan, no health insurance, no future.

Two years ago, Ian Golder was laid off. It was the first time since he graduated from UC Berkeley 14 years earlier that he didn't have steady work.

Golder looked for a while, gave up for a while, then landed a contracting gig with no benefits proofreading for a chip maker. When that ran out, he worked 20 hours a month on a financial services newsletter.

At the beginning of December, things seemed to improve a bit. Golder got a job in the document-control department of a medical devices company. The department, he was told, used to have 20 full-time people. Now it has five, plus four temps.

The job will last two months. After that, who knows?
Ur "Jobless Count Skips Millions. The Rate Hits 9.7% When the Underemployed and Those Who Have Quit Looking are Added", Los Angeles Times 29 dec.

Rätt läskig artikel (återtryckt hos commondreams och hos Yahoo News, om länken till LA Times slutar fungera) om den amerikanska arbetsmarknaden. Trots att vissa ekonomiska indikatorer pekar uppåt, skapas alltför få nya jobb:
"Many economists are mystified about why a suddenly booming economy is producing so few jobs.

"We're all sitting there and saying, 'When are they going to return?' " says Richard B. Freeman, director of the labor studies program at the National Bureau of Economic Research."
Historiskt sett är arbetslöshetssiffrorna inte är så höga i USA - 5.9%. Men utöver dessa finns alla som hankar sig fram på deltid, men vill ha riktiga jobb, plus de som klassas som "discouraged" och givit upp hoppet om att få jobb, plus gruppen motvilliga egna företagare, plus en ökande grupp som klassats som "disabled" ...
"In some eyes, a nation of burger flippers, temps and Wal-Mart clerks isn't the worst scenario for the economy. The worst is that companies continue to eliminate jobs faster than they create them, setting up a game of musical chairs for the labor force.

That prospect alarms Erica Groshen, an economist with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. 'If you plot job losses versus gains on a chart, it's shocking,' she says.

Losses are running at about the same rate they were in 1997 and 1998, two good years for the economy. But job creation in the first quarter of 2003 - the most recent period available - was only 7.4 million, the lowest since 1993.

'If this goes on too long, you'd have to worry there's something fundamentally wrong,' Groshen says. Although the economy has picked up since March, 'so far I haven't seen anything that suggests job creation is picking up.'"

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30 dec 2003


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