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    Categories: NewsOpinionWeekly Columns

Underemployed: The New Normal…

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(ThyBlackMan.com) Friday the Labor Department will release the unemployment rate for the month of November. Whether it will show an increase in jobs or not, thereby translating into a lower or higher unemployment rate I do not know. But If I were a betting woman, I’d bet that it would show a decrease thanks to the new-hires for the holiday. A downtrend in unemployment if it happens may only be temporary but it may make the markets happy for a while.

You know who else it will make happy; people looking for working. Getting hired for the holidays puts money into the pockets of people who need it the most at the time they need it most. Hell, holiday-hires may even find they have a chance at becoming permanent employees. However, those permanent positions may only be part time rendering those “temporary” holiday-hires now permanently under-employed.

The Labor Department reports nearly nine million Americans now work part-time jobs but want to be full-time; a near record statistic. The stat is also double pre-recession levels. Beyond that department researchers suggest that even if the economy does rebound — you know unemployment dropping to something reasonable like 5 percent — the number of under-employed may continue to be high and near a record if not setting a new one. The reason: part-time workers allow employers to save on benefits and match workload with employees as they see fit.

Talk about cutting corners.

The Great-Recession is the worst thing that could have ever happened to this country. Not so much for the record number of foreclosures, the record unemployment, the record number of people living in poverty, the record number of people on food assistance or other forms of welfare, or even the creation of the Tea Party. All of this stuff is bad too, but it is not the worst. The Great Recession is the worst thing that could have ever happened to this country because companies learned to get by with a skeleton crew and those employed were just so happy to have a job they happily took on more work — compensated or not — because they were grateful not necessarily because they wanted to.

The skeleton crew’s productivity met both low and high demand and has since resulted in high profits without the major expenses of hiring several employees and paying for benefits as well as payroll taxes etc.

The Great Recession showed this country how to cut the fat from operations and still excel at having a quality product. The Great Recession showed that workers in this country will settle for less without complaint because we are all too afraid to ask for more. The Great Recession showed that a company’s bottom line could be met with a few over the plenty, and that a plenty could be attained by exploiting a few. It is economic Darwinism at its best and the United States has excelled at it.

With an aging workforce that can’t afford to retire, a market flooded with graduates looking for work — sometimes alongside their parents — and few employers willing to hire more than a few employees we our finding ourselves with the creme de la creme of employees working for employers like Express, Forever 21, and Jason’s Deli.

Being under-employed may now be even more desirable than being employed in the field of your study, because who knows how long being unemployed waiting on your dream job can take.

Just like homeownership is no longer a truly viable American Dream, neither is getting the job you literally worked your ass off for. Renting and working for less is the new normal. It’s time everyone realized that and screamed out “YES, I will work 12 hour days making only minimum wage, no overtime and no benefits and be happy about it.”

That is the direction the employment situation in this country is going.

Don’t say you haven’t been warned.

Do you think the country’s employment and economic situation will ever be what it was in the 90’s?

Staff Writer; Nikesha Leeper

To connect with this sister feel free to visit; Change Comes Slow.


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