Can Bloomberg become the Democratic nominee?

Aug 2, 2013
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Low unemployment isn’t worth much if the jobs barely pay


Each month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics releases its Employment Situation report (better known as the “jobs report”) to outline the latest state of the nation’s economy. And with it, of late, have been plenty of positive headlines—with unemployment hovering around 3.5%, a decade of job growth, and recent upticks in wages, the report’s numbers have mostly been good news.

But those numbers don’t tell the whole story. Are these jobs any good? How much do they pay? Do workers make enough to live on?

Here, the story is less rosy.

In a recent analysis, we found that 53 million workers ages 18 to 64—or 44% of all workers—earn barely enough to live on. Their median earnings are $10.22 per hour, and about $18,000 per year. These low-wage workers are concentrated in a relatively small number of occupations, including retail sales, cooks, food and beverage servers, janitors and housekeepers, personal care and service workers (such as child care workers and patient care assistants), and various administrative positions.

Just how concerning are these figures? Some will say that not all low-wage workers are in dire economic straits or reliant on their earnings to support themselves, and that’s true. But as the following data points show, it would be a mistake to assume that most low-wage workers are young people just getting started, or students, or secondary earners, or otherwise financially secure:

  • Two-thirds (64%) of low-wage workers are in their prime working years of 25 to 54.
  • More than half (57%) work full-time year-round, the customary schedule for employment intended to provide financial security.
  • About half (51%) are primary earners or contribute substantially to family living expenses.
  • Thirty-seven percent have children. Of this group, 23% live below the federal poverty line.
  • Less than half (45%) of low-wage workers ages 18 to 24 are in school or already have a college degree.
These statistics tell an important story: Millions of hardworking American adults struggle to eke out a living and support their families on very low wages.

What should be done? Some suggest that education and “upskilling” is the answer, arguing that if these workers got more education and increased their skills, they would move up to higher-paying jobs.

That is partially true. The majority of low-wage workers (77%) have less than a college degree, and we would never bet against education. Increasing the quality and accessibility of skill-building opportunities is an excellent goal, and part—but certainly not all—of the solution. We need additional funds, a commitment to change the status quo, toward more student- and worker-centric models.



However, imagine that everyone without a college degree suddenly earned one. The jobs that pay low wages would not disappear. Hospitals would still need nursing assistants, hotels would need housekeepers, day care centers would need child care workers, and so on.

We need to think not only about workers, but about the work they are doing. What kinds of jobs are we generating, do they pay enough to live on, and to whom are they available?

Other research from Brookings Metro and the Federal Reserve suggests that there are not enough decent-paying jobs for people without bachelor’s degrees. This matters—workers without bachelor’s degrees make up not just the majority of the low-wage workforce but the majority of the labor force as a whole, so the shortage of such jobs has wide-ranging consequences.

Even with sunny job statistics, the nation’s economy is simply not working well for tens of millions of people.

Labor market conditions are not acts of God, nor inevitable. They are shaped by policies, investments, and institutions. As we grapple with structural changes in the economy—globalization, the effects of technology, the shift from production to services, declining union membership, the fissuring of the workplace, increased concentration of market power—we need to remember that the rules of the game are not set in stone.

We should look at individuals—not national averages—as the unit of analysis, and ask: Are wages adequate? Can people support themselves and their families if they work full time?

Currently, the answer is “no” for a distressingly large share of the workforce. This is not controversial or disputed. There are a variety of indices—the United Way’s ALICE threshold, MIT’s living wage calculator, the Self-Sufficiency Standard, and EPI’s Family Budget Calculator—that show basic costs of living (housing, food, child care, transportation, health care, taxes) frequently outpacing earnings from low-wage jobs, even in families with more than one worker.

Looking at the broader economic picture, taxation expert Edward Kleinbard offers a useful formulation: Are markets friendly to workers and serving society’s best interests, or are they a hostile force? Wages for most workers (except those at the top) have stagnated or declined in recent decades, even as costs for basic inputs to a stable life—such as health care, housing, and education—have skyrocketed. Market failures abound: Education and health care are out of reach for many, child care is often prohibitively expensive (even as child care workers are woefully underpaid), and decent, affordable housing is scarce in many regions. If society’s best interests are served by having people employed, housed, educated, and healthy, then we need to rethink the fundamentals of our economic and social policies.



Federal, state, and local governments can take a number of steps to improve workers’ economic security. Boosting wages through tax credits, a higher minimum wage, or supporting sectoral bargaining; supporting families with high-quality child care; and giving workers more control over their time via stable scheduling are just a few options.

The monthly jobs report provides critical information on the state of the economy. But too often, we focus only on toplines and trends, when we need to keep our eye on baseline employment conditions. As economist Jared Bernstein noted, we must focus not just on wage trends but on wage levels. Economist Heather Boushey, too, wrote that we should move beyond the averages—which can mask many disparities—and look at how people at all levels of the earnings and income spectrum are faring.

Regardless of whether the unemployment rate tics up or down, let’s keep the following numbers front and center in discussions on workers and the economy: 53 million people earn low wages, with a median of just $10.22 per hour. That’s nearly half of the 18 to 64 workforce. If we don’t face the reality of the labor market, we can’t make it better.

https://www.brookings.edu/blog/the-avenue/2020/01/08/low-unemployment-isnt-worth-much-if-the-jobs-barely-pay/


youve not drunk the Kool-Aid

Youve dived into a pool of it and fucking drowned
The economy is really only good if you're at the top end and the overall economy is basically the same as it was before Trump took office. Yeah, the dow is higher and the unemployment rate went down another 1% but the overall standard of living is still basically the same with the middle class still dying and the overall standard of living in decline.
 
Aug 2, 2013
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Not only that, but he's also skipping Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina.
Yeah, he's toast. Money only gets you so far in these types of elections if you're running a stupid campaign strategy. This is looking like it's coming down to Bernie and Biden. Bloomberg with all of his money actually has less name id than the 2 of them .
 
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May 8, 2013
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The economy is really only good if you're at the top end and the overall economy is basically the same as it was before Trump took office. Yeah, the dow is higher and the unemployment rate went down another 1% but the overall standard of living is still basically the same with the middle class still dying and the overall standard of living in decline.
I think that the very low unemployment rate has helped a fairly significant number of people at the lower end of the economy; plus, minority unemployment is also at historic lows. Perhaps the rich benefitted more than the working class, but making it so that they could at least get a job is a decent accomplishment that helped the lower end.
 
Aug 2, 2013
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I think that the very low unemployment rate has helped a fairly significant number of people at the lower end of the economy; plus, minority unemployment is also at historic lows. Perhaps the rich benefitted more than the working class, but making it so that they could at least get a job is a decent accomplishment that helped the lower end.
Unemployment was already below 5 percent before the orange clown took office. That trend of it going down started happening in 2009.

The bottom line is that for the last 40 years, we’ve had nothing but republicans and corporate democrats in the White House and as a result, we’ve had a shrinking middle class that whole time. It’s time to turn the tide and start electing some real populist progressive people to office and we can start this year with Bernie.
 

mandela

CHB Führer
May 16, 2013
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I think that the very low unemployment rate has helped a fairly significant number of people at the lower end of the economy; plus, minority unemployment is also at historic lows. Perhaps the rich benefitted more than the working class, but making it so that they could at least get a job is a decent accomplishment that helped the lower end.
The shit jobs are better than no jobs line is easily dismantled.

Trump celebrating 'his' economy has certainly died down though recently and there's a very good reason for that. There's also a simple correlation to be drawn between his tax cuts for the rich and corporations and the ever ballooning US debt levels (something Trump promised to deal with but has made worse).

If you think Trump has a chance of winning on the back of the economy then you're deluded. Especially if someone like bernie is the nominee as he can clearly and concisely obliterate any attempt at a positive spin on 'Trumps' economy. And Trump knows it.


EDIT: Just seen Goats response. Exactly that being summarized and repeated throughout the election cycle.
 
May 8, 2013
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Unemployment was already below 5 percent before the orange clown took office. That trend of it going down started happening in 2009.

The bottom line is that for the last 40 years, we’ve had nothing but republicans and corporate democrats in the White House and as a result, we’ve had a shrinking middle class that whole time. It’s time to turn the tide and start electing some real populist progressive people to office and we can start this year with Bernie.
LOL

Obama is to be given credit for Trump's economic achievements? That dog won't hunt anymore. Whether the trend was good or not, Trump's economy has been pretty damn good for a few years now. Record high stock markets, full employment, trade deals, etc. I know you do not like the man - fair enough. But not giving him credit on the economy is just silly at this point.
 
Aug 2, 2013
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LOL

Obama is to be given credit for Trump's economic achievements? That dog won't hunt anymore. Whether the trend was good or not, Trump's economy has been pretty damn good for a few years now. Record high stock markets, full employment, trade deals, etc. I know you do not like the man - fair enough. But not giving him credit on the economy is just silly at this point.
When did I say Obama should be given credit? Do you even read the posts?
 
May 8, 2013
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When did I say Obama should be given credit? Do you even read the posts?
Well, yes I do. Since you posted that the unemployment rate was going down before Trump took office, I inferred that you were giving credit to the previous president, who was in fact Obama.

If that was not what you were attempting to do, my apology. I have heard that a lot from the anti-Trump people over the past couple of years, that it was Obama who built the currently roaring economy, and I thought that was what I was hearing again. Again, my apology if I was incorrect.
 
Aug 2, 2013
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Well, yes I do. Since you posted that the unemployment rate was going down before Trump took office, I inferred that you were giving credit to the previous president, who was in fact Obama.

If that was not what you were attempting to do, my apology. I have heard that a lot from the anti-Trump people over the past couple of years, that it was Obama who built the currently roaring economy, and I thought that was what I was hearing again. Again, my apology if I was incorrect.
1. 2009 was the year the rate went up to 10.2 percent, then it went down later that year and generally went down after if you look at the month by month Labor stats that you can easily google

2. The 2nd paragraph in my post was my critique of the last 40 years of the White House which included 2 democrats, one was Obama

3. I don’t think the economy is roaring right now other than the stock market and unemployment rate so I wouldn’t be able to give Obama or Trump credit for it since the overall trend of the dying middle class is continuing.
 
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1. 2009 was the year the rate went up to 10.2 percent, then it went down later that year and generally went down after if you look at the month by month Labor stats that you can easily google

2. The 2nd paragraph in my post was my critique of the last 40 years of the White House which included 2 democrats, one was Obama

3. I don’t think the economy is roaring right now other than the stock market and unemployment rate so I wouldn’t be able to give Obama or Trump credit for it since the overall trend of the dying middle class is continuing.
9362
 
May 19, 2013
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The economy is really only good if you're at the top end and the overall economy is basically the same as it was before Trump took office. Yeah, the dow is higher and the unemployment rate went down another 1% but the overall standard of living is still basically the same with the middle class still dying and the overall standard of living in decline.
The standard of living is decreasing.

The average persons dollar doesnt go as far as it used to. It's as simple as that. The wealth is being pushed further toward the 1%.
 

mandela

CHB Führer
May 16, 2013
23,465
10,588
Scotland
The standard of living is decreasing.

The average persons dollar doesnt go as far as it used to. It's as simple as that. The wealth is being pushed further toward the 1%.
Not to mention the debt being incurred to fund it.

It's like going out and buying all this cool shit for your house on a credit card and celebrating how nice your house is.
 

SwollenGoat

Deicide
May 17, 2013
53,437
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The House that Peterbilt
The shit jobs are better than no jobs line is easily dismantled.

Trump celebrating 'his' economy has certainly died down though recently and there's a very good reason for that. There's also a simple correlation to be drawn between his tax cuts for the rich and corporations and the ever ballooning US debt levels (something Trump promised to deal with but has made worse).

If you think Trump has a chance of winning on the back of the economy then you're deluded. Especially if someone like bernie is the nominee as he can clearly and concisely obliterate any attempt at a positive spin on 'Trumps' economy. And Trump knows it.


EDIT: Just seen Goats response. Exactly that being summarized and repeated throughout the election cycle.
@Major Pain has me on ignore because I pointed out that his support for the pardoning of CONVICTED WAR CRIMINAL Eddie gallagher,a man who shot kids for fun,was fucked up

@Major Pain is a delicate snowflake who has drunk a fuckin pool-full of the Orange Kool-Aid
 
Last edited:
Reactions: mandela
Aug 2, 2013
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The standard of living is decreasing.

The average persons dollar doesnt go as far as it used to. It's as simple as that. The wealth is being pushed further toward the 1%.
Basically

The only difference between now and 3 years ago is that it's slightly easier to find a low paying job.
 
Aug 2, 2013
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I put the unemployment rate chart by month between 2009 and 2016 before Trump took office on the bottom of this post. As one can see, the rate got to be as high as 10% in October of 2009, then it went down to 9.9 the next month that November. Even if you don't look at the whole chart the rest of the way, just look at November of each year. It went from 9.9 to 9.8 to 8.6 to 7.7 to 6.9 to 5.8 to 5.1 to 4.7

Yes, it kept going down after Trump took office but there hasn't been a dramatic change and the trend just kept continuing. I somehow can't point this out because I pointed out that this trend started the first year Obama was in office. Even so, my large point was how basically Trump's economy is basically the same for the poor to middle class as it was when he took office with just slightly more lower paying jobs. The overall trend of the dying middle class was happening before Obama and Trump, it just happened to continue under them.

source: https://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS14000000

Year JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
20097.88.38.79.09.49.59.59.69.810.09.99.9
20109.89.89.99.99.69.49.49.59.59.49.89.3
20119.19.09.09.19.09.19.09.09.08.88.68.5
20128.38.38.28.28.28.28.28.17.87.87.77.9
20138.07.77.57.67.57.57.37.27.27.26.96.7
20146.66.76.76.26.36.16.26.15.95.75.85.6
20155.75.55.45.45.65.35.25.15.05.05.15.0
20164.94.95.05.04.84.94.84.95.04.94.74.7