Alt-Facts of Employment


Here is a topic I return every so often. It’s the related nexus of unemployment, permanent unemployment, and underemployment along with how it relates the larger economy, the black market, inequality, opportunity, welfare, poverty, homelessness, desperation, etc. I don’t have any new thoughts, but I was looking at a lot of articles and decided to share them.

There is so much disagreement over the data, what exactly is the data and what it means or doesn’t mean. The reason for this is that there is so little useful data. I’ve always been concerned not just about what the data includes but also what it excludes… and so who is excluded and for what or whose purpose. Still, much can be ascertained from what data is available, if one is willing to consider it honestly. The number appears to be shockingly low for adults working “good jobs” who potentially could work, if full employment was available (not to mention if full opportunity and economic mobility was available). So many Americans have given up on looking for work or the kind of work and many others, for various reasons, are simply not seen in the data.

So much of human potential goes wasted. This kind of data isn’t just numbers. It’s people stuck in place or running place, too often falling through the cracks. It’s people struggling and suffering, working hard and not being counted or else wanting to get ahead but feeling blocked. These people are frustrated and ever more outraged or else resigned. Many others are simply tired and just doing what they can, what they must to get by.

The poorest of communities, in a large number of cases, have the majority of their residents unemployed and the majority of their men caught up in the legal system. The main economy in these communities it the black market of drugs, prostitution, and other basic work paid under the counter.

The problems we face are far worse than gets typically recorded in the data and reported in the media. Some of these problems have been developing for decades, such as stagnating/dropping wages and the shrinking middle class. And they are inseparable from the problems of worsening corporatism, failed governance, lost public trust, growing national debt, crumbling infrastructure, externalized costs, and much else.

These problems are real and urgent for those who are most harmed by them. Data on such things as unemployment, however it is measured, is just the tip of an iceberg that sits teetering atop the tip of a vast oceanic mountain range.

* * *

Nearly Half of Millennials Say the American Dream Is Dead. Here’s Why.
by Natalie Johnson, The Daily Signal

One in five suicides is associated with unemployment
Science Daily

The Opioid Epidemic and the Face of Long-Term Unemployment
by Yves Smith, Naked Capitalism

Lack of jobs linked to gun violence at schools
by Megan Fellman, Futurity

Alternate Unemployment Charts

The Invisible American
by Jim Clifton, Gallup

The Big Lie: 5.6% Unemployment
by Jim Clifton, Gallup

Gallup Is Right: The Unemployment Rate Is A Big Lie
by John Manfreda, Seeking Alpha

Only 44 Percent Of U.S. Adults Are Employed For 30 Or More Hours Per Week
by Michael Snyder, The Economic Collapse

Neither Employed, Nor Unemployed
by Bud Meyers, The Economic Populist
comment by Bud Meyers

Gallup CEO Blasts Press’s Complacency in Covering Unemployment and Underemployment
by Tom Blumer, NewsBusters

The Low Unemployment Rate Is A Momentary Calm Before The Coming Economic Storm
by Drew Hansen, Forbes

Long-term Unemployed Struggle as Economy Improves, Rutgers Study Finds
Rutgers Today

47% of Unemployed Americans Have Just Stopped Looking for Work
by Dan Kedmey, Time

US unemployed have quit looking for jobs at a ‘frightening’ level: Survey
by Jeff Cox, CNBC

In U.S., One in Four Unemployed Adults in Financial Distress
by Lydia Saad, Gallup

Nearly half of U.S. workers consider themselves underemployed, report says
bAlexia Elejalde-Ruiz, Chicago Tribune

Despite Reports, Unemployment Is Still A Major Issue For Veterans
by Dan Goldenberg, Task & Force

Unemployment rates are higher for young people, minorities
PBS NewsHour

UIC Study Shows High Unemployment Among Black, Hispanic Youth In Chicago
CBS Chicago

Nearly half of young black men in Chicago are neither in school nor working
by Rob Wile, Fusion

One in four black, Hispanic workers is underemployed
by Andrea Orr, Economic Policy Institute

Stuck: Young America’s Persistent Job Crisis
by Catherine Ruetschlin and Tamara Drau, Demos

Nearly Half Of Unemployed Americans Are Under 34 Years Old: Study
Huffington Post

Fed: Nearly half of recent college grads struggling
by Irina Ivanova, Crain’s

Untapped Talent: The Costs of Brain Waste among Highly Skilled Immigrants in the United States
New American Economy

ILO: Only one in four workers has a stable job
DW Akademie

New Study Predicts Nearly Half of All Work Will Be Automated
by Patrick Caughill, Futurism

* * *

A Sense of Urgency
America Is Not Great For Most Americans

Common Sense of the Common People
We’ve Been Here Before
Inequality Divides, Privilege Disconnects
On Welfare: Poverty, Unemployment, Health, Etc
Minimum Wage, Wage Suppression, Welfare State, etc
Invisible Problems of Invisible People
Invisible Men: Mass Incarceration, Race, & Data
Worthless Non-Workers
Whose Work Counts? Who Gets Counted?
Working Hard, But For What?
To Be Poor, To Be Black, To Be Poor and Black
Structural Racism and Personal Responsibility
Race & Wealth Gap
Our Bleak Future: Robots and Mass Incarceration
End of Work as Endtimes
American Winter and Liberal Failure
Conservatives Pretending to Care About Economic Problems
Conservative Moral Order & the Lazy Unemployed
Conservatism, Murders & Suicides
Republicans: Party of Despair
Rate And Duration of Despair
Poor & Rich Better Off With Democrats
Unequal Democracy, Parties, and Class
‘Capitalist’ US vs ‘Socialist’ Germany

‘Capitalist’ US vs ‘Socialist’ Finland
Problems of Income Inequality

Immobility Of Economic Mobility; Or Running To Stay In Place
Not Funny At All

Mean Bosses & Inequality
The United States of Inequality
Economic Inequality: A Book List
The Unimagined: Capitalism and Crappiness
The Desperate Acting Desperately
Trends in Depression and Suicide Rates
From Bad to Worse: Trends Across Generations
Costs Must Be Paid: Social Darwinism As Public Good

21 thoughts on “Alt-Facts of Employment

  1. I was thinking about why this is so complicated and why there is so little good data. Maybe part of it is that there is no longer a national economy. With globalization and international free trade agreements, nearly all economies (except maybe North Korea) are transnational. Most major corporations are now transnational.

    Because of this, employment and unemployment (along with wealth and poverty, privatized benefits and externalized costs, etc) can be shifted around the global economy. Taking jobs from one place and putting them into another place doesn’t change the overall employment rate. But because of this, big biz has massive leverage in making demands of workers and of governments, because they always have ways to threaten.

    The data is no longer kept for the purposes of good governance but as to promote the interests of big biz. The real unemployment and underemployment rates are are irrelevant to corporate interests and making that data known to the public would be harmful to corporate interests. So, the corporatist government won’t keep that data and the corporate media won’t do any serious investigative journalism into it. The modern economy is manipulated by public perception management while the real mechanisms of wealth and power are kept hidden.

    This is why the issue of jobs is simply what is seen. It is an indicator of vast problems and issues with the modern economy having to do with neoliberalism, corporatism, externalized costs, big biz subsidies, big bank bailouts, big biz media propaganda model, subsidized natural resource extraction on public lands, government-paid cleanup of toxic spills and environmental damage, etc. To ask for accurate data is to radically challenge the entire system and social order.

    • If the Democratic Party eliminated every politician and partisan hack with any connection to the Clinton New Democrats, they could sweep into power in upcoming local and national elections. But of course, they won’t do that. The Democratic establishment would rather lose elections by maintaining their stranglehold than win by allowing the party to become genuinely progressive or, horror of horrors, to become as left-wing as the Republicans are right-wing.

      This is why the Democratic Party simply has to be abandoned. Let Democrats fight among themselves. The rest of us should go about finding ways to work around all political parties.

    • I knew it was high. But seeing the actual numbers is plain depressing. But trillions of dollars is nothing compared to the millions of people killed, terrorized, orphaned, made homeless, turned into refugees, and forced into desperation.

      We act morally righteous about authoritarians like the Nazis who harmed millions of innocent people. Yet we think it’s fine if we do the same, just as long as the innocent people we harm are in foreign countries. The only morally wrong thing the Nazis did, according to this logic, is that they mostly did it in their own country instead of doing it in distant foreign countries.

      If the Nazis were evil for doing this, then what are we? Were the German citizens innocent as they stood by and did nothing? Are we American citizens innocent as we stand by and do nothing?

    • The Democratic establishment, having learned nothing, is doing its best to ensure Trump is a two term president. That is a scary thought. I’m not sure the US government can survive without being mortally wounded even this first year of Trump.

      The ruling elite wants to maintain control of the Democratic Party no matter what. But what will they have control of after this is all over and done with? It will be a Pyrrhic victory.

      • That is basically my conclusion. I used to think of the Democrats as neither good nor bad, but at least potential allies or if nothing else a bulwark against the worst of the right-wing. For example, I voted for a presidential candidate for the first time in 2012 because Republicans were being even more blatant about their anti-democratic tactics and it pissed me off. Since then, I’ve come to the conclusion that Democrats are also my enemy and maybe a more dangerous enemy than Republicans.

  2. “I would wager that most men don’t feel so put-upon by progressive social movements that they start feeling vilified and reflexively angry.
    Progressive social movements aren’t the source of the anger. The source of the anger is that people can’t get a job, or can’t get a stable job, or feel like they’ve been shut out of the possibility of any kind of advancement, or are drowning in debt, or some other problem which is probably ultimately economic. So then they go looking for answers, and instead of sticking up for them, the progressive left tells them to go check their privilege.
    Ultimately, the real problem isn’t even that some people on the progressive left are dicks. It’s that the left isn’t helping. They aren’t offering solutions, so they shouldn’t be surprised when people go looking for solutions somewhere else.”

    • I agree with an aspect of that comment. But I see it as more complicated. The political left has a class divide. Many of the people who voted for Trump did so because of his progressive rhetoric. The most important issues stated by Trump supporters are all core progressive issues: increasing employment, ending neoliberalism, and rebuilding infrastructure.

      Clinton, not Trump, should have been making the argument for this progressive vision. The fact of the matter is that most Americans want progressive taxation with increased corporate taxes along with better corporate regulation and the ending of corporate favoritism, cronyism, bailouts, subsidies, etc. Americans refused to vote for New Democrats like Clinton because she represents neoliberalism and corporatism, not progressivism.

      The divide in the US, besides being a class divide, is between the capitalist elite and almost everyone else who is further to the left. It very much is an ideological division, but not a division between conservative and liberal as it gets framed in the corporate media and the corporatist party duopoly.

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