Today, millions of smart, hard working Americans are flipping burgers, waiting tables or working dead end retail jobs not because they want to, but because they have no other options. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 14 million Americans are currently unemployed and another 9.3 million Americans are currently "underemployed". During this economic downturn, a lot of Americans have been forced to take part-time jobs because they have been unable to find full-time jobs. For many, this can be a soul-crushing experience. It can be easy to become very bitter when you have worked very hard all your life and yet you find yourself having to take a job that only pays you a fraction of what you used to make. A lot of young college graduates end up hating life because the only jobs that they can seem to find do not even require a college degree and don't even come close to enabling them to keep up with their crippling student loan debt payments. Sadly, the underemployment problem continues to grow even worse. In September alone, the number of underemployed Americans rose by close to half a million.
There are other measurements that indicate that unemployment in America is even worse that the Bureau of Labor Statistics is indicating.
For example, a recent Gallup poll found that approximately one out of every five Americans that currently have a job consider themselves to be underemployed.
In addition, according to author Paul Osterman about 20 percent of all U.S. adults are currently working jobs that pay poverty-level wages.
When you try as hard as you can and you still can't pay the bills, it is easy to end up hating life.
What some Americans are going through is absolutely heart breaking. Just consider the following story from a recent article on Fox News....
Damian Birkel, of Winston-Salem N.C., found himself in similar circumstances. He was a marketing manager at Sarah Lee in the early 1990s when he was downsized. Since then, he has been laid off from three other jobs, including one at a recruiting firm.
“I felt like I had ‘loser’ tattooed to my forehead, and ‘will work for food’ tattooed to my chest,” he says.
The hardest part was telling his young daughter that there might not be enough money to pay the bills -- among them, sending her to summer camp. “She brings her piggy bank and says, 'Daddy, why don’t you break into the piggy bank so that you can pay some of the bills.'”
How would you feel if your little daughter said that to you?
Unfortunately, the number of good jobs just continues to decrease.
There are fewer payroll jobs in the United States today than there were back in 2000 even though we have added 30 million extra people to the population since then.
And the mix of jobs that our economy is producing continues to change.
What that means is that the middle class is shrinking.
A lot of young people are coming out of college right now and are having their dreams absolutely crushed. Large numbers of them are entering the "real world" with nightmarish student loan debt burdens and only a limited number of them can find decent jobs.
A recent USA Today article told the story of one of these very frustrated young Americans....
Kate Wolfe chased a dream when she moved to New York after college, looking to break into acting while working as a maître d'.
Her $50,000 worth of student loans were a distraction she could handle. Then the uninsured 25-year-old was mugged last year, and the final indignity was the $30,000 emergency room bill.
We are pumping out tons of college graduates, but we are not pumping out nearly enough jobs for all of them.
If you can believe it, in the United States today there are 317,000 waiters and waitresses that actually have college degrees.
That is an absolutely horrifying statistic.
But the truth is that the lack of good jobs is hitting every age level really hard.
For example, the average American family is under a tremendous amount of financial stress in this economy. Once you adjust it for inflation, median household income in the United States has declined approximately 10 percent since December 2007.
Meanwhile, the cost of food, gas, health insurance and just about everything else a family needs has gone up significantly.
Our politicians keep talking about "jobs, jobs, jobs" but the number of decent jobs continues on a very clear downward trend.
Back in 1980, 52 percent of all jobs in the United States were middle income jobs. Today, only 42 percent of all jobs in the United States are middle income jobs.
Sadly, it now looks like even the low income jobs are starting to dry up.
So what are our leaders doing about all of this?
Well, unfortunately they continue to fumble the football very badly.
According to a recent ABC News report, the U.S. government actually gave a $529 million loan guarantee to an electric car company that decided to make its cars in Finland....
Vice President Joseph Biden heralded the Energy Department's $529 million loan to the start-up electric car company called Fisker as a bright new path to thousands of American manufacturing jobs. But two years after the loan was announced, the job of assembling the flashy electric Fisker Karma sports car has been outsourced to Finland.
If we don't figure out how to stop millions of jobs from leaving this country we are going to be in a world of hurt.
The trade policies of the federal government are neither "free" nor "fair" and they are causing the standard of living of American workers to rapidly sink toward the level of the rest of the world.
We are told that it is "inevitable" that we are going to be deindustrialized and that we are going to become a service economy.
But guess what?
Service jobs generally pay a lot less than manufacturing jobs do.
A "one world economy" where our labor force is merged with the labor forces of the rest of the globe is not a good thing for the average American worker and it is not a good thing for America.
But of course trade is not the only reason why we are losing good jobs. There are a whole bunch of reasons why this is happening. For many more reasons, just check out this article.
A lot of you that are reading this article are unemployed or underemployed right now.
Unfortunately, there is not much hope that the U.S. economy is going to experience a significant turnaround any time soon.
In fact, it is likely that things are going to be getting even worse.
Our economic system is dying. Now is the time to try to get as independent of it as you can.
Don't count on a job ("just over broke") as your only source of income. In this economy, no job is safe.
There are millions upon millions of unemployed and underemployed Americans that never dreamed that their lives would go so horribly wrong.
But they did.
Our nation is experiencing the consequences of decades of very bad decisions.
There is no help on the horizon and the cavalry is not on the way to rescue us.
You better prepare accordingly.