This Is What Employment In America Really Looks Like…

Warren Buffett - Photo by Mark HirscheyThe level of employment in the United States has been declining since the year 2000.  There have been moments when things have appeared to have been getting better for a short period of time, and then the decline has resumed.  Thanks to the offshoring of millions of jobs, the replacement of millions of workers with technology and the overall weakness of the U.S. economy, the percentage of Americans that are actually working is significantly lower than it was when this century began.  And even though things have stabilized at a reduced level over the past few years, it is only a matter of time until the next major wave of the economic collapse strikes and the employment level goes even lower.  And the truth is that more good jobs are being lost every single day in America.  For example, as you will read about below, Warren Buffett is shutting down a Fruit of the Loom factory in Kentucky and moving it to Honduras just so that he can make a little bit more money.  We see this kind of betrayal over and over again, and it is absolutely ripping the middle class of America to shreds.

Below I have posted a chart that you never hear any of our politicians talk about.  It is a chart that shows how the percentage of working age Americans with a job has steadily declined since the turn of the century.  Just before the last recession, we were sitting at about 63 percent, but now we have been below 59 percent since the end of 2009…

Employment Population Ratio 2014

We should be thankful that things have stabilized at this lower level for the past few years.

At least things have not been getting worse.

But anyone that believes that “things have returned to normal” is just being delusional.

And nothing is being done about the long-term trends that are absolutely crippling our economy.  One of those trends is the offshoring of middle class jobs.  As I mentioned above, Fruit of the Loom (which is essentially owned by Warren Buffett) has made the decision to close their factory in Jamestown, Kentucky and lay off all the workers at that factory by the end of 2014

Clothing company Fruit of the Loom announced Thursday that it will permanently close its plant in Jamestown and lay off all 600 employees by the end of the year.

The Jamestown plant is the last Fruit of the Loom plant in a state where the company had once been a manufacturing titan second only to General Electric.

This isn’t being done because Fruit of the Loom is going out of business.  They are still going to be making t-shirts and underwear.  They are just going to be making them in Honduras from now on…

The company, owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway but headquartered in Bowling Green, said the move is “part of the company’s ongoing efforts to align its global supply chain” and will allow the company to better use its existing investments to provide products cheaper and faster.

The company said it is moving the plant’s textile operations to Honduras to save money.

So what are those workers supposed to do?

Go on welfare?

The number of Americans that are dependent on the government is already at an all-time record high.

And doesn’t Warren Buffett already have enough money?

In business school, they teach you that the sole responsibility of a corporation is to maximize wealth for the shareholders.

And so when business students get out into “the real world”, that is how they behave.

But the truth is that corporations have a responsibility to treat their workers, their customers and the communities in which they operate well.  This responsibility exists whether corporate executives want to admit it or not.

And we all have a responsibility to our fellow citizens.  When we stand aside and do nothing as millions of good paying American jobs are shipped overseas so that the “one world economic agenda” can be advanced and so that men like Warren Buffett can stuff their pockets just a little bit more, we are failing our fellow countrymen.

Because so many of us have fallen for the lie that “globalism is good”, we have allowed our once great manufacturing cities to crumble and die.  Just consider what is happening to Detroit.  It was once the greatest manufacturing city in the history of the planet, but now foreign newspapers publish stories about what a horror show that it has become…

Khalil Ligon couldn’t tell if the robbers were in her house. She had just returned home to find her front window smashed and a brick lying among shattered glass on the floor. Ligon, an urban planner who lives alone on Detroit’s east side, stepped out and called the police.

It wasn’t the first time Ligon’s home had been broken into, she told me. And when Detroit police officers finally arrived the next day, surveying an area marred by abandoned structures and overgrown vegetation, they asked Ligon a question she often ponders herself: why is she still in Detroit?

Of course this kind of thing is not just happening to Detroit.  The truth is that it is happening all over the nation.  For example, this article contains an incredible graphic which shows how the middle class of Chicago has steadily disappeared over the past several decades.

Once again, even though we have never had a “recovery”, it is a good thing that things have at least stabilized at a lower level for the past few years.

But now there are all sorts of indications that we are rapidly heading toward yet another economic downturn.  The tsunami of retail store closings that is now upon us is just one sign of this.  The following is a partial list of retail store closings from a recent article by Daniel Jennings

  • Quiznos has filed for bankruptcy, USA Today reported, and could close many of its 2,100 stores.
  • Sbarro which operates pizza and Italian restaurants in malls, is planning to close 155 locations in the United States and Canada. That means nearly 20 percent of Sbarro’s will close. The chain operates around 800 outlets.
  • Ruby Tuesday announced plans to close 30 restaurants in January after its sales fell by 7.8 percent. The chain currently operates around 775 steakhouses across the US.
  • An unknown number of Red Lobster stores will be sold. The chain is in such bad shape that the parent company, Darden Restaurants Inc., had to issue a press release stating that the chain would not close. Instead Darden is planning to spin Red Lobster off into another company and sell some of its stores.
  • Ralph’s, a subsidiary of Kroger, has announced plans to close 15 supermarkets in Southern California within 60 days.
  • Safeway closed 72 Dominick’s grocery stores in the Chicago area last year.

And the following are some more signs of trouble for the retail industry from one of my recent articles entitled “20 Facts About The Great U.S. Retail Apocalypse That Will Blow Your Mind“…

#1 As you read this article, approximately a billion square feet of retail space is sitting vacant in the United States.

#2 Last week, Radio Shack announced that it was going to close more than a thousand stores.

#3 Last week, Staples announced that it was going to close 225 stores.

#4 Same-store sales at Office Depot have declined for 13 quarters in a row.

#5 J.C. Penney has been dying for years, and it recently announced plans to close 33 more stores.

#6 J.C. Penney lost 586 million dollars during the second quarter of 2013 alone.

#7 Sears has closed about 300 stores since 2010, and CNN is reporting that Sears is “expected to shutter another 500 Sears and Kmart locations soon”.

#8 Overall, sales numbers have declined at Sears for 27 quarters in a row.

#9 Target has announced that it is going to eliminate 475 jobs and not fill 700 positions that are currently empty.

#10 It is being projected that Aéropostale will close about 175 stores over the next couple of years.

#11 Macy’s has announced that it is going to be closing five stores and eliminating 2,500 jobs.

#12 The Children’s Place has announced that it will be closing down 125 of its “weakest” stores by 2016.

But it isn’t just the retail industry that is deeply troubled.

All over America we are seeing economic weakness.

In this economic environment, it doesn’t matter how smart, how educated or how experienced you are.  If you are out of work, it can be extremely difficult to find a new job.  Just consider the case of Abe Gorelick

Abe Gorelick has decades of marketing experience, an extensive contact list, an Ivy League undergraduate degree, a master’s in business from the University of Chicago, ideas about how to reach consumers young and old, experience working with businesses from start-ups to huge financial firms and an upbeat, effervescent way about him. What he does not have — and has not had for the last year — is a full-time job.

Five years since the recession ended, it is a story still shared by millions. Mr. Gorelick, 57, lost his position at a large marketing firm last March. As he searched, taking on freelance and consulting work, his family’s finances slowly frayed. He is now working three jobs, driving a cab and picking up shifts at Lord & Taylor and Whole Foods.

So what does Abe need in order to find a decent job?

More education?

More experience?

No, what he needs is an economy that produces good jobs.

Sadly, the cold, hard reality of the matter is that the U.S. economy will never produce enough jobs for everyone ever again.

The way that America used to work is long gone, and it has been replaced by a cold, heartless environment where the company that you work for could rip your job away from you at a moment’s notice if they decide that it will put a few extra pennies into the pockets of the shareholders.

You may have worked incredibly hard for 30 years and been super loyal to your company.

It doesn’t matter anymore.

All that matters is the bottom line, and in the process the middle class is being destroyed.  But by destroying the middle class, those corporations are destroying the consumer base that their corporate empires were built upon in the first place.

Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/2014/04/03/3177378/fruit-of-the-loom-to-close-jamestown.html#storylink=cpy
Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/2014/04/03/3177378/fruit-of-the-loom-to-close-jamestown.html#storylink=cpy

More Than 101 Million Working Age Americans Do Not Have A Job

More Than 101 Million Working Age Americans Do Not Have A Job - Photo by Sage RossThe jobs recovery is a complete and total myth.  The percentage of the working age population in the United States that had a job in March 2013 was exactly the same as it was all the way back in March 2010.  In addition, as you will see below, there are now more than 101 million working age Americans that do not have a job.  But even though the employment level in the United States has consistently remained very low over the past three years, the Obama administration keeps telling us that unemployment is actually going down.  In fact, they tell us that the unemployment rate has declined from a peak of 10.0% all the way down to 7.6%.  And they tell us that in March the unemployment rate fell by 0.1% even though only 88,000 jobs were added to the U.S. economy.  But it takes at least 125,000 new jobs a month just to keep up with population growth.  So how in the world are they coming up with these numbers?  Well, the reality is that the entire decline in the unemployment rate over the past three years can be accounted for by the reduction in size of the labor force.  In other words, the Obama administration is getting unemployment to go down by pretending that millions upon millions of unemployed Americans simply do not want jobs anymore.  We saw this once again in March.  According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 600,000 Americans dropped out of the labor market during that month alone.  That pushed the labor force participation rate down  to 63.3%, which is the lowest it has been in more than 30 years.  So please don’t believe the hype.  The sad truth is that there has been no jobs recovery whatsoever.

If things were getting better, there would not be more than 101 million working age Americans without a job.

So exactly where does that statistic come from?  Well, the following explains where I got that number…

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are 11,742,000 working age Americans that are officially unemployed.

In addition, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says that there are 89,967,000 working age Americans that are “not in the labor force”.  That is a new all-time record, and that number increased by a whopping 663,000 during the month of March alone.

When you add 11,742,000 working age Americans that are officially unemployed to the 89,967,000 working age Americans that are “not in the labor force”, you come up with a grand total of 101,709,000 working age Americans that do not have a job.

When you stop and think about it, that is an absolutely staggering statistic.

And anyone that tells you that “a higher percentage of Americans are working today” is telling you a complete and total lie.  During the last recession the percentage of working age Americans with a job fell dramatically, and since then we have not seen that number bounce back at all.  In fact, this is the very first time in the post-World War II era that we have not seen the employment-population ratio bounce back after a recession.  At this point, the employment-population ratio has been under 60 percent for 49 months in a row…

Employment-Population Ratio 2013

Since the end of 2009, the employment-population ratio has been remarkably steady.  Just check out these numbers…

March 2008: 62.7 percent

March 2009: 59.9 percent

March 2010: 58.5 percent

March 2011: 58.4 percent

March 2012: 58.5 percent

March 2013: 58.5 percent

We should be thankful that the percentage of working age Americans with a job did not continue to decline, but we should also be quite alarmed that it has not bounced back at all.

If there was going to be a recovery, there would have been one by now.  The next major economic downturn is rapidly approaching, and that is going to push the employment-population ratio down even farther.

So why is the U.S. economy not producing as many jobs as it used to?  Well, certainly the overall decline of the economy has a lot to do with it.  We are a nation that is drowning in debt and that is getting poorer by the day.

But since the end of the last recession, corporate profits have bounced back in a big way and are now at an all-time high.  So you would figure that the big corporations should be able to hire a lot more workers by now.

Unfortunately, that is not the way things work anymore.  Big corporations are trying to minimize the number of expensive American workers that they have on their payrolls as much as possible these days.

One way that they are doing this is through the use of technology.  Thanks to robots, computers and other forms of technology, big corporations simply do not need as many human workers as they used to.  In future years, this trend is only going to accelerate.  I wrote about how this is changing the world of employment in one of my previous articles entitled “Rise Of The Droids: Will Robots Eventually Steal All Of Our Jobs?

Another way that big corporations are replacing expensive American workers is by shipping their jobs off to the other side of the globe.  Big corporations know that they can make bigger profits by making stuff in foreign countries where they can pay workers less than a dollar an hour with no benefits.  How in the world are American workers supposed to compete with that?

For much more on how U.S. jobs are being killed by offshoring, please see this article: “55 Reasons Why You Should Buy Products That Are Made In America“.

And of course immigration is having a dramatic impact on the labor market in some areas of the country as well.  Cheap labor has dramatically driven down wages in a lot of professions.  For example, once upon a time you could live a very nice middle class lifestyle as a roofer.  But now many roofers really struggle to make a living.

When you add everything up, it paints a very bleak picture for the future of the American worker.

The cost of living keeps rising much faster than wages do, and the competition for good jobs has become incredibly fierce.

Meanwhile, the government continues to make things even easier for those that are not working.  This has caused some Americans to give up completely and to be content with letting the government take care of them.  The following is from a recent article by Monty Pelerin

As we make it easier to get unemployment benefits for longer time periods, more people take advantage of the system. So too with food stamps and disability. All programs are at or near record levels in what is supposed to be four years into an economic recovery. For many, the benefits of becoming a government dependent exceed what they can earn. One study reported that a family of four, collecting all the benefits for which they were entitled, would have to earn $65,000 per annum to have the same after-tax purchasing power.

If you are a product of the government schools and are legal to work (i.e., have skills enough that you are affordable at the minimum wage or higher), at what point do you realize that there is no need to go through the hassle of actual work. You can live pretty well by staying home and taking advantage of the entitlements available to you. That is exactly what a larger and larger percentage of the population are realizing. In many cases, it is economically irrational to work.

This behavior creates a social pathology that only worsens over time. Kids learn from their parents that work is not necessary and the many ways to game the system. In this regard, look for this problem to become worse over time unless these programs are cut back.

In some areas of the country, it actually pays not to work very hard.  According to Gary Alexander, the Secretary of Public Welfare for the state of Pennsylvania, a “single mom is better off earnings gross income of $29,000 with $57,327 in net income & benefits than to earn gross income of $69,000 with net income and benefits of $57,045.”

But the truth is that most Americans still want to work hard and would gladly take a good job if they could just find one.  The following is one example that was featured in a recent Fox News article

After a full year of fruitless job hunting, Natasha Baebler just gave up.

She’d already abandoned hope of getting work in her field, working with the disabled. But she couldn’t land anything else, either — not even a job interview at a telephone call center.

Until she feels confident enough to send out resumes again, she’ll get by on food stamps and disability checks from Social Security and live with her parents in St. Louis.

“I’m not proud of it,” says Baebler, who is in her mid-30s and is blind. “The only way I’m able to sustain any semblance of self-preservation is to rely on government programs that I have no desire to be on.”

And that is how most Americans feel.

Most Americans do not want to be dependent on the government.

Most Americans want to work hard and take care of themselves.

Unfortunately, our economy is not producing nearly enough jobs for everyone and it never will again.

So there will continue to be millions upon millions of Americans that find that they cannot take care of themselves and their families without government assistance no matter how hard they try.

And this is just the beginning – things are going to get much worse during the next major wave of the economic collapse.

Yes, at the moment there are more than 101 million working age Americans that do not have a job, but that number is actually going to go much higher in the years ahead.  The anger and frustration caused by a lack of employment opportunities is going to shake this nation.

That is why it is important to try to become less dependent on your own job.  In this economic environment, a job can disappear at literally any moment.  Anything that you can do to become less dependent on the system would be a good thing.

Homeless Bill Needs Rich Woman Photo By Josh Swieringa

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