August 27, 2011
Bloomberg recently reported on "The Slow Disappearance of the American Working Man":
The portion of men holding a job … fell to 63.5 percent in July … the lowest numbers [since] 1948…. Men who do have jobs are getting paid less. After accounting for inflation, median wages for men between 30 and 50 dropped 27 percent—to $33,000 a year— from 1969 to 2009 …. What is going on here? For one thing, women, who have made up a majority of college students for three decades and now account for 57 percent, are adapting better to a data-driven economy that values education and collaborative skills more than muscle…. The economic downturn exacerbated forces that have long been undermining men in the workplace …. Corporations have cut costs by moving manufacturing jobs, routine computer programming, and even simple legal work out of the country. The production jobs that remain are increasingly mechanized and demand higher skills. Technology and efforts to reduce the number of layers within corporations are leaving fewer middle-management jobs…. While unemployment is an ordeal for anyone, it still appears to be more traumatic for men. Men without jobs are more likely to commit crimes and go to prison. They are less likely to wed, more likely to divorce, and more likely to father a child out of wedlock.
Henry Ford I, hardly a friend of labor, eventually realized that when his own workers could buy autos both sides would be better off, and he implemented the $5 per day wage.
Since the 90s U.S. corporations have forgotten that lesson.
Why is consumer spending soft? Worker wages are softer.
Posted by: save_the_rustbelt | Aug 29, 2011 6:39:00 AM