A PROGRESSIVE VOICE FROM THE LLANO ESTACADO

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Workers Are Worried In This Poor Economy


These charts were made from information provided in a new Gallup Poll. The survey was conducted between August 7th and 11th of of 1,039 nationwide adults, and has a margin of error of 4 points.

It is the day after the Labor Day holiday, and Americans are returning to work (those lucky enough to actually get a holiday off). I think that's a good time to look at the state of workers in this economy. We already know that the unemployment rate is too high (well above 7%) and millions of Americans still cannot find work. In addition, too many workers are having to accept part-time jobs because they can't find full-time work -- and many more have to accept low-wage, no benefit jobs because most of the new jobs being created are that type of job.

But its even worse than that. Many of those Americans who still have a decent job are worried about that job in this poor economy. The top chart shows they have several worries. They are worried that they might have their benefits reduced, their wages cut, their work hours reduced, or getting laid off. And these are legitimate concerns, since businesses know there are millions of desperate people who would accept that poorer job if a worker does not.

And the bottom chart shows the increase in the worry workers have about being laid off from their job. Note that the worker worry about this has doubled in every demographic group from what it was just five years ago (in 2008).

There is no doubt that the rich are getting richer and the corporations are making record profits, but the same cannot be said for American workers. It is on their backs that the rich and corporations are doing so well. Productivity increases are no longer shared with workers, which means that even if a wage is not reduced the inflation will reduce a worker's buying power. Outsourcing continues, and just the threat of that also keeps worker wages from rising. And there is always the threat that a worker will be replaced by someone unemployed and desperate, who will work for less pay and no benefits.

This is a bad time for workers, and Congress should be doing something about it. Unfortunately, that Congress only seems to be interested in giving more to the rich and the corporations. The workers have been abandoned and forgotten by far too many politicians in our government.

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