Am I on the same planet as these people?

There is a serious problem in the American economy today: Too many jobs and not enough people.
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For every job opening in America, there’s now barely more than one unemployed person available to take it.
The number of job openings in the U.S. has touched another record high while the number of Americans readily available to fill those roles trends lower, according to Labor Department data released Friday.
...
The latest Labor Department data showed job openings rose in January to a seasonally adjusted 6.3 million, the highest level on record back to 2000. But the number of openings has been at or near record levels since July 2015...
In mid-2015, there were 2.3 million more unemployed people than open jobs. By January, the gap had narrowed to 372,000.

There have literally never been more job openings in American history.
Things have never been better for the American worker.

Did you know that?
I didn't know that, and while the corporate media keep telling us how great it is to be working for a living these days (like this article), the American worker never seems to get the memo.
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The rate at which workers quit their jobs—seen by many economists as a sign of confidence in the labor market—fell slightly to a seasonally adjusted 2.1% in August from 2.2% in July, according to the Labor Department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, known as Jolts, released Wednesday.
The quits rate, or the share of employed people who voluntarily leave their jobs in a month, has held nearly steady for two years after slowly climbing after the recession ended in mid-2009. The sideways move in the quits rate comes at a time when the unemployment rate has fallen to a 16-year low and the number of available jobs has touched the highest level on records back to 2000.
...The unwillingness to quit could be a factor holding back better wage growth, reflecting workers’ relative lack of bargaining power.

You see, the problem is that if only workers were willing to quit they would be getting better wages.
Stupid workers!
If you read the news articles a pattern emerges:

Everything that is wrong with the American economy can be blamed on the workers.

If only the American workers weren't so stupid and lazy we would be living in a capitalist paradise.
Let me give you some examples.

Why are there so many job openings? Because American workers are stupid.

“Employers need skilled labor and experienced workers are in short supply, which continues to suggest the economy has returned to a relatively normal labor market that does not need exceptional support from the Fed,” said John Ryding, chief economist at RDQ Economics in New York.
The NFIB survey showed a record share of small businesses in August ranked difficulties finding qualified workers as “their top business problem.”

If you can't get a job today it's because you are probably too dumb to dress yourself.
Now some may disagree with this conclusion, and you might even produce some fancy numbers.

For example, 65% of recent job postings for secretaries who work for executives (now known as “administrative assistants”) required a college degree. Yet among current executive assistants, only 19% have college degrees, according to a recent Harvard Business School survey. That’s a big gap between expectations and reality.

Blah, blah, blah. Everyone who goes to college dreams of being an administrative assistant, so I don't see the point.

What is curious, what no one, NO ONE can fully explain, is why worker's wages aren't going up despite employers bending over backwards to give workers money.

The economy's biggest mystery — paychecks just aren't growing

Missing pay rises: the ever deepening economics mystery
Why aren’t wages growing more quickly?
An Econ Mystery: Why Did Wages Flatline?
The Mystery of the Tight Labor Market
Jobs galore but when will wages finally pick up?

In 2014, a few days after she took over as chair of the U.S. Federal Reserve, Janet Yellen admitted that she could not fathom the “very worrisome” trend of weak wage growth for American workers.

It certainly is a mystery.
After all, we gave corporations everything they wanted.

We demonized and destroyed labor unions.
Completely deindustrialized the nation.
Opened the borders wide with free trade agreements, so that American workers have to compete with starving peasants in third-world nations.
Made our own slave labor force in our enormous prison system.
Stopped enforcing anti-trust laws.
Stopped enforcing corporate regulations.
Gutted the safety net so that we could stop taxing corporations.

And yet after corporations got everything they wanted, wages still aren't going up.
That's not what the corporations said would happen. It's almost as if they lied.

It sure is a mystery. Even economists, the same ones who created the bullsh*t unemployment numbers, are stumped.
It must be the fault of the stupid and lazy workers. Many of whom inexplicably voted for a guy who told them that America was in collapse, rather than the candidate who told them how great everything was.

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public markets?

When my employer, IEX Group Inc., received its stock exchange license two years ago, I gained a seat on the committees that oversee much of the critical infrastructure of the U.S. equity markets. From that insider’s perspective, I’ve come to a troubling conclusion: Private interests are corrupting the markets’ public purpose.

Private interests have corrupted the stock market? Gawd forbid!

Initially, the organizations that managed the plans were somewhat representative of the financial community. The exchanges were industry cooperatives owned by the same financial service firms who used them. Over the next 40 years, though, ownership structures and incentives changed dramatically. Today, the large exchanges are all parts of public companies focused more on increasing profits for the benefit of their shareholders than furthering the interests of market participants.

More interested in profits than the good of the markets? Who could have guessed?

Why is this a surprise to some people?

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SnappleBC's picture

It's some of your best prose. At least you made me smile while I was reading that pile of poisonous excrement you linked to.

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30 users have voted.

A lot of wanderers in the U.S. political desert recognize that all the duopoly has to offer is a choice of mirages. Come, let us trudge towards empty expanse of sand #1, littered with the bleached bones of Deaniacs and Hope and Changers.
-- lotlizard

snoopydawg's picture

The corporations did get everything they wanted, didn't they? They also just got their huge tax cuts they said give to would to their employees. Sure a few companies did give out bonuses, but most workers are still waiting for theirs.

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26 users have voted.

@snoopydawg We need to double those H1b visas, stat.

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20 users have voted.

@snoopydawg While at the same time closing a ton of Sam’s Club stores with no warning...

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14 users have voted.

@snoopydawg
Instead of blaming the workers, how about we blame corporate America for mismanaging the economy?
[Gasp!]
We can't do that!

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17 users have voted.
The Aspie Corner's picture

I finished 2 degree programs 6 fuckin' years ago and I still have nothing to show for it because employers just won't hire 'Murican workers because we won't work for free, or close to it as an intern. I actually held internships during and after college and even with that, and good references, no one wants to hire.

Take a look at job postings on any site and you'll see why 'Murican workers can't get hired anywhere, even for entry level jobs. Long story short, employers want workers who look like 20 year olds with the drive of 30 year olds and the wisdom experience of 50 year olds to take the wages of teenagers.

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34 users have voted.

Modern education is little more than toeing the line for the capitalist pigs.

QMS's picture

@The Aspie Corner I read with amazement the professional job board announcements in the solar field. Licensed electrician, able to carry 75 pounds up ladders in inclement conditions, NABCEP and OSHA certification, civil or mechanical engineering background, proficiency in MS Office and CAD design software and ability to pass drug and criminal background checks, must possess local drivers license with late model fully insured vehicle (preferably 4 wheel drive) and own hand tools.

Responsibilities include securing permits, site assessment, customer interfacing, site safety and quality control, installations and troubleshooting, warehouse organization and a team leader. $15 to $20 an hour to start, depending on experience.

WTF. Maybe a robot would work?

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30 users have voted.

Intelligence is being redefined as the ability to repeat ever more complex instructions.

@QMS Well, see lazy Americans don't want to work. They prob. didn't mention unannounced split shifts, always on call, no set schedule and mandatory weekend work. Also, probably classified as an 'independent' contractor, responsible for your own SS, worker comp and quarterly witholding.

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QMS's picture

@Snode Here, stick this broom up your wazoo and sweep the floor while you are at it.

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12 users have voted.

Intelligence is being redefined as the ability to repeat ever more complex instructions.

@QMS you ferreted out my secret talent.

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6 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

@QMS

with all the equipment that they needed. Guess in this Uber economy people can't expect to get that anymore. Or benefits like health insurance, vacation and sick leave.

The two biggest money eaters for companies are health insurance and workers compensation insurance. Get hurt at work these days? "Don't worry you're insurance will cover that." Oh wait ...

Oh well, workers comp isn't what it used to be and that was difficult enough for people to try getting all the benefits. Just a friendly reminder. Make sure that you have designated the doctor you want to treat you in case you get injured at work. Otherwise your company will make you see theirs and he might say that nothing is wrong with you. Good luck getting this reversed.

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QMS's picture

@snoopydawg again, I would love to hire a bunch of kids, teach them the ropes and give them the opportunities I can no longer cover, but the state system requires me to pay their insurances... including health, benefits, life, disability, and about 1000 other things which are 'mandated'. Is this incentive for me to train kids to develop skills? When I have to pay the state more than I can even make a living at? So I get to go broke while the state eats my potential profits. No.

Kids do not have opportunities because those of us in business cannot assume their state mandated costs. Universal insurance anyone? Then maybe I could teach the next generation the skills they need to keep this world alive.

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1 user has voted.

Intelligence is being redefined as the ability to repeat ever more complex instructions.

@The Aspie Corner After being laid off I easily searched over 1000 web sites. Except for one site, all of them were people in their 20s and 30s doing neat fun stuff at work or outside work. At one big Intel site, they openly gave numbers on people they laid off and most were older workers. In high tech there is a definite bias against older workers, and one pundit claimed that in high tech, anybody over 35 is considered old.

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The Aspie Corner's picture

@MrWebster That is, unless they can use it for token purposes to increase exposure and profits. Then we're tossed like garbage when they don't need us anymore.

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12 users have voted.

Modern education is little more than toeing the line for the capitalist pigs.

dkmich's picture

First, they refuse to hire anyone who: 1) smokes pot for medical reasons or not, 2) has a declared handicap or barrier of any kind despite it being against the law, 3) doesn't have a college degree to mop floors, 4) doesn't have five years experience in some obscure programming language and possess a degree and at least 14 IT certifications, 5) Isn't willing to work for $10/hr and work at least two jobs in order to support themselves, and 6) won't hire and won't train anyone in skilled trades that don't already have math skills at grade 12 or above. They will not hire and train a 21 year old HS grad with a steady work history and no skills except delivering pizza to help make him the employee they want.

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25 users have voted.

"Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

*donate to c99 *like us on Facebook *follow us on Twitter

@dkmich who basically said he looked for work ethic above all. His point was that he could teach anyone to do the job, but the one thing you cannot teach is work ethic. Now, that's all gone and instead employers want degrees and certifications and that's all that counts. I suppose it is much easier to run metrics on degrees and certifications and since we now use metrics for EVERYTHING its more important than getting the actual job done right. From what I see now in corporate America, it is better to simply be a sociopath who can fling the best sounding utter bullshit to the other sociopaths who now run the world. If you can't do that, then best not to even apply.

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dkmich's picture

@lizzyh7

But first, you have to get in the door. The resume needs to contain the trappings of what they want to see, or you don't even get an interview. That is where the screening for degrees, certifications and specific and related experience comes into play.

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11 users have voted.

"Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

*donate to c99 *like us on Facebook *follow us on Twitter

Daenerys's picture

About what questions not to ask at an interview (since that's probably what screwed me over last time, among other things) and it was saying you shouldn't ask about things like insurance or salary until you have the job offer. Why the FUCK would I accept a job without knowing if it's worth my time?!
One article says to ask for the job, and the next one says don't ask if you got the job. Gah!! *rips hair out*

All the 'burger flipper' jobs around here are paying $11-14/hr, yet it seems like they never actually hire anyone new.

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15 users have voted.

This shit is bananas.

dkmich's picture

@Daenerys

If you have someone skilled at interviewing techniques, the whole interview is a screenplay of how to interview. It results in a stalemate and no one knows anything more than when they started. The interviewee says exactly what the textbook says to say, whether they mean it or not.

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12 users have voted.

"Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

*donate to c99 *like us on Facebook *follow us on Twitter

Daenerys's picture

@dkmich It seems like interviews are such a waste of time these days, with too much focus on personality test-type questions. The last one I went to, spent the better part of an hour asking 'what would you do in x situation?' questions. I wonder how they'd react if I'd said I don't feel comfortable answering these questions; I show up on time and I don't steal. That and can you do the job should be all they really ask. Let me SHOW you what I can do. Very few of them ever give you the chance to do that though.
Same with resumes. What's the point of having one when they just make you copy it all onto the application and then weed it out based on 'keywords' anyway (WHAT keywords, exactly? I've never been able to figure that one out either.)

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3 users have voted.

This shit is bananas.

Wages should be going up. Something is perverting it.

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17 users have voted.

@MrWebster
It's the same confusion that the economists have.

But there are other elements involved - namely, leverage.

We are still competing with starving peasants in India, Mexico and China. That's part of the supply and demand. Its global.
Also, many employers these days have near monopolies in their fields.
In the past this was partly offset by labor unions, which could creates a different dynamic in supply and demand, but those days are gone.

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17 users have voted.

@gjohnsit I do know that corporations, etc. pervert local job market supply and demand by bringing in outside labor. Back some time read about how wages were going up for Americans working in the Aspen resort area. Many of them could not afford to live in the area. Wages started to go up to attract people to work there.

The solution that the resorts went to was to low cost, imported temporary seasonal labor through I believe it was the H-2B visas. The resorts basically had a captured and indentured labor force. And of course, the spin is that they were taking jobs Americans didn't want. It was more a case of jobs that Americans could not get.

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Meteor Man's picture

How do you count these lucky ducks?

The data’s age

First, the data is old. The report was published in 1999, and the data it used were collected in 1996. That makes the statistics nearly 18 years old, which is practically ancient by social-science standards.

And the numbers have not been updated because? The conclusion:

Our ruling

The Facebook post said that 44 percent of homeless people are employed. On the one hand, the data is 18 years old, and the percentage who have a regular job is, at most, less than half that. Still, this is the most recent data available, and some experts say a broader more generous definition of "employed" is defensible. On balance, we rate the claim Half True.

That's the objective Politifact analysis

So as long as the number of employed Americans is less than 44% everything is hunky dory.

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13 users have voted.

"They'll say we're disturbing the peace, but there is no peace. What really bothers them is that we are disturbing the war." Howard Zinn

Strife Delivery's picture

There are many factors to these things, not any of which line up with the so called mysteries or lies that are spewed:

1) Many jobs are created in the service sector, often many being part-time with horrendous wages. Thus having these spike up is well meaningless.
2) Corporations use the excuse that they can't find skilled workers not because they can't but because that is the PR spin. They then go get their H1B visas and voila problem solved, same worker for half the cost.
3) We calculate unemployment weird in this nation which of course skews the numbers and doesn't reflect things such as the labor pool itself.
4) Aspie had the right sentiment with how American bosses and employers refuse to give up their money by: "Long story short, employers want workers who look like 20 year olds with the drive of 30 year olds and the wisdom experience of 50 year olds to take the wages of teenagers."

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16 users have voted.

@Strife Delivery In the 60's with the resistance to the Vietnam war, the open primaries and stronger unions it demonstrated that the working class had power to change the rules for the corporate/business class. Everything since then has been to make the worker powerless. With the corporate class being major donors politicians talk rabble rousing, but service the donors. The sad part is that it's been such a slow decline for workers we are running out of people that remember when we had some power and better times. For younger people Clinton was the best of times. We kept waiting for the democrats to fight, but they always seemed to fail for some reason. The reason is that they pretty much agree with the republicans on the 'economy'.

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QMS's picture

@Snode You are right. It has been a long slog, incremental disappointments spread over the 40 years I've witnessed. As our generation retires out of the workforce, the younger replacements have no working memory of the struggles we lived thru. The information is available to the average seeker. What seems to be lacking is the inspiration to improve ones lot. What I don't understand, the motivations are there (lack of worker rights for instance), yet general strikes and push back are lacking. Change does't occur by just going along with the status quo. A lot of us old rebels have the scars to show it.

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12 users have voted.

Intelligence is being redefined as the ability to repeat ever more complex instructions.

@QMS Our struggle was fairly brief,and felt like we won something in the end. We could always find some kind of work to sustain us, even at min. wage, and if we fell down there was a safety net of sorts to aid us. We took the good times for granted because, well, it was always like that. The kids have long, lifetime struggle ahead. Doors that were open have slammed shut for them. Many are educated beyond what we were, and work harder just to exist. It costs a lot to be poor today. They keep their heads down and bull ahead. They also haven't seen real success from political involvement, just half measures and disappointment. We had swagger, even if in the end it was an illusion. I don't think they have too many illusions. Like most of us they fell for hope and change, and ended up with nope and lame. Our leaders present a game of political 3 card Monty, year after year, and we always fall for it.

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QMS's picture

@Snode for the circumstances inherited, no question. Trying to compare rebellions of the past to those of today is probably unfair. A big difference in info tech. Among other factors. Not so much create blame as to encourage resistance.

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11 users have voted.

Intelligence is being redefined as the ability to repeat ever more complex instructions.

snoopydawg's picture

@Snode

has slowly been done over decades and that was the plan. Do it all at once and people would have fought them over it. As you stated, millennials and especially the current generation only know that we've been at war, unions are bad for employers because they cost them too much money and a congress that doesn't work for them.

They also patiently destroyed the New Deal or will once the republicans turn their attention to it. Probably after they fix the kinks in their tax bill. They will need the democrats to help them do this. I'm sure that they will get it.

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5 users have voted.

@snoopydawg that has always had Rush Limbaugh, Fox news, an ineffectual democratic party, a uninformative press and endless both-siderism. They work harder for less, look to education (and a first mortgage to pay for it) in a crap shoot future. They grew up with a technology that is being used to betray them, nothing is private and will be used to exploit you. Law enforcement is comply or die. The government is not there for you.

My only hope is that if there is any generation that's going to make a stand and say 'no more' it's this one. They deserve better.

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Meteor Man's picture

Stats:

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, national homeownership rates in the U.S. were only 45.6 percent in 1920 and 47.8 percent in 1930. But renters would become a minority nationally after World War II, as U.S. ownership rates climbed to 55 percent in 1950, 61.9 percent in 1960, 62.9 percent in 1970, 64.4 percent in 1980 and 64.2 percent in 1990.

Renting is roaring back over 50%:

In January, RentCafe took an in-depth look at U.S. Census Bureau data from 2006-2016. During that 10-year period, the percentage of renters increased in 97 of the country's 100 biggest cities. In San Diego, for example, the number of renters jumped from 47.9 percent of the population to 53.4 percent. Renters accounted for 47.3 percent of Chicago residents in 2006; in 2016, that number was 51.3 percent. Meanwhile, Memphis has seen its population of renters climb from 44.6 to 56.6 percent.

That's good news!:

When Newt Gingrich addressed a Heritage Foundation gathering in December 2016, the former speaker of the House of Representatives predicted the Trump administration would eradicate what’s left of the New Deal and the Great Society. The country's plummeting homeownership numbers suggest his dark prophecy is slowly coming true.

The American Dream Nightmare

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17 users have voted.

"They'll say we're disturbing the peace, but there is no peace. What really bothers them is that we are disturbing the war." Howard Zinn

@Meteor Man whatever of Bernie's that reminded us that back in the "old days" a waitress could afford her own home. And that is true - my sister's mother in law raised 8 kids in a little 3 bedroom house through the 60s through the early 80s working full time as a waitress with very little help from her ex husband and she owned that house outright by the time she died. That is simply impossible now as everyone in this entire country knows all too well. And the worst part is somehow "we" seem to accept that now as simply normal.

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