Thursday, February 18, 2010

Great Depression For Low Income Workers.

Total unemployment has more than doubled over the past two years, and the number of underemployed; i.e., those persons working part time for economic reasons, has also more than doubled. In addition, the nation’s labor force shrunk by nearly one million over the past year rather than rising by 1.5 million as earlier projected by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

However, no one has addressed the question, "Which American workers suffer the most from the deep deterioration in labor markets?" Until now, that is.

A new unemployment study reports that low income groups face unemployment on a massive and unprecedented scale --unemployment levels over 30%. At the same time, America's top income brackets are experiencing lower than average unemployment rates of anywhere from 3-4%. As if things weren't bad enough, underemployment and hidden unemployment (individuals who have given up) rates are also at record levels for lower income groups with rates at the 16% for those at the bottom, and 1-1.5% at the top.

If you break it down, professional employment is up 2%, management down 3%, clerical work down 10%, and construction and production work is down 22%. Although, if you depend on the mainstream media for your information, you would think things are reversed as they tend to portray atypical examples of the managers, professionals and Wall Street employees.

Meanwhile, back at the Beltway, the U.S. Senate prepares to hold a vote on the $15 billion jobs bill (will need 60 votes to pass) aimed at spurring job creation (est. 180,000 new jobs) when lawmakers return Monday. The centerpiece of the bill includes a payroll tax break for employers who hire new workers, unemployed more than 60 days. It also includes measures aimed at improving access to capital for small businesses, an extension of the current federal subsidy formula for road and bridge repairs carried out by states, and a modest expansion of federally subsidized bonds to help local governments raise funds for infrastructure projects.

However, just last week, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) replaced a bipartisan job- creation bill with a more streamlined version of the legislation because, as sources said, McConnell would not agree to bring the bipartisan jobs bill to the floor quickly and Reid became concerned McConnell would drag out the process and the bill would ultimately fail.

So, is this a case of Republicans publicly calling for a jobs bill, but privately working to derail it?

According to Roll Call, Republican Senate leaders told more than 100 lobbyists yesterday that they plan to oppose the bill because of the process -- not because of the actual policy.

"The feeling is they aren't going to say anything in opposition to the bill, except to say it's incomplete," a lobbyist who attended the meeting said. "They are not opposed to the bill, they just believe their rights as the minority have been abridged."
Is it me, or are the Republicans acting like a bunch of school girls?


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