by Michael Snyder, The Economic Collapse
Without an abundance of good jobs, the middle class in the United States is going to shrivel up and die. Right now, rampant unemployment is absolutely killing communities all over America.
The only thing that most working class Americans have to offer in the marketplace is their labor. If nobody will hire them they do not have any other ways to provide for their families. Well, there is a problem.
Today wealth has become incredibly centralized. The big corporations and the big banks dominate everything. Thanks to incredible advances in technology and thanks to the globalization of our economic system, the people with all the money don't have to hire as many ordinary Americans anymore. They can hire all the labor they want on the other side of the globe for a fraction of the cost. So the rich don't really have that much use for the working class in America anymore. The only thing of value that the working class had to offer has now been tremendously devalued. The wealthy don't have to pay a lot for physical labor anymore.
Thousands of our factories and millions of our jobs have been shipped overseas and they aren't coming back. The big corporations are thriving while tens of millions of ordinary Americans are deeply suffering. Almost all of the wealth being produced by our economy is going to a very centralized group of people at the very top of the food chain. The rich are getting richer and the working class is being systematically wiped out.
So the fact that we are facing rampant unemployment that never seems to go away should not be a surprise to anyone. Today, the "official" unemployment rate went up to 9.2 percent even though a whopping 272,000 Americans "dropped out of the labor force" in June. The government unemployment figure that includes "discouraged workers" went up from 15.8% to 16.2%. The mainstream media is proclaiming that this was "a horrific report" because most economists were expecting much better news.
Well, guess what?
Things are going to get a whole lot worse.
More job cuts are coming. One recently released report found that the number of job cuts being planned by U.S. employers increased by 11.6% in June.
It is also being projected that state and local governments across the U.S. will slash nearly half a million more jobs by the end of next year.
Needless to say, things don't look good.
Most people that still have jobs are desperately trying to hold on to them.
Employers know that most workers are easily replaceable these days, so wages are not moving up even though the cost of living is.
We are right in the middle of the worst employment downturn since World War 2. Jay-Z recently summed up the situation this way....
"Numbers don't lie. Unemployment is pretty high."
Jay-Z certainly has a way with words, eh?
If something is not done about the rampant unemployment in this nation, the death of the middle class will accelerate.
Most Americans just assume that the United States will always have a large middle class, but there is no guarantee that is going to happen. In fact, there is a whole lot of evidence that the middle class in America is rapidly shrinking.
Take a few moments to read over the facts compiled below. Taken together, they provide compelling evidence that the working class is being systematically wiped out....
Right now, the U.S. government says that 14.1 million Americans are unemployed
There are fewer payroll jobs in the United States today than there were back in 2000 even though we have added 30 million people to the population since then
The number of Americans that are "not in the labor force" is at an all-time high
The United States has never had an employment downturn this deep and this prolonged since World War 2 ended
There are officially 6.3 million Americans that have been unemployed for more than 6 months. That number has risen by more than 3.5 million in just the past two years
It now takes the average unemployed worker in America about 40 weeks to find a new job. Just check out this chart...
Image: U.S. Department of Labor
There are now about 7.25 million fewer jobs in America than when the recession began back in 2007
Back in 2000, the employment to population ratio was over 64 percent. Today, it is sitting at just 58.2%
Only 66.8% of American men had a job last year. That was the lowest level that has ever been recorded in all of U.S. history
During this economic downturn, employee compensation in the United States has been the lowest that it has been relative to gross domestic product in over 50 years
The number of "low income jobs" in the U.S. has risen steadily over the past 30 years and they now account for 41% of all jobs in the United States
According to the National Employment Law Project, higher wage industries are accounting for 40% of the job losses in America but only 14% of the job growth. Lower wage industries are accounting for just 23% of the job losses but 49% of the job growth
The United States has lost a staggering 32% of its manufacturing jobs since the year 2000
Between December 2000 and December 2010, 38% of the manufacturing jobs in Ohio were lost, 42% of the manufacturing jobs in North Carolina were lost and 48% of the manufacturing jobs in Michigan were loss
Back in 1970, 25% of all jobs in the United States were manufacturing jobs. Today, only 9% of the jobs in the United States are manufacturing jobs
Do you remember when the United States was the dominant manufacturer of automobiles and trucks on the globe? Well, in 2010 the U.S. ran a trade deficit in automobiles, trucks and parts of $110 billion
In 2010, South Korea exported 12 times as many automobiles, trucks and parts to us as we exported to them
The United States now spends more than 4 dollars on goods and services from China for every one dollar that China spends on goods and services from the United States
Since China entered the WTO in 2001, the U.S. trade deficit with China has grown by an average of 18% per year
The U.S. trade deficit with China in 2010 was 27 times larger than it was back in 1990
The United States has lost an average of 50,000 manufacturing jobs per month since China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001
In 2002, the United States had a trade deficit in "advanced technology products" of $16 billion with the rest of the world. In 2010, that number skyrocketed to $82 billion
Manufacturing employment in the U.S. computer industry was actually lower in 2010 than it was in 1975
Since 2001, over 42,000 manufacturing facilities in the United States have been closed
Source: Economy in Crisis
There were more manufacturing jobs in the United States in 1950 than there are today
Since the year 2000, we have lost approximately 10% of our middle class jobs. In the year 2000 there were about 72 million middle class jobs in the United States but today there are only about 65 million middle class jobs. Meanwhile, our population has gotten significantly larger
When you adjust wages for inflation, middle class workers in the United States make less money today than they did back in 1971
One recent survey found that 9 out of 10 U.S. workers do not expect their wages to keep up with soaring food prices and soaring gas prices over the next 12 months
Source: American Pulse Survey
Image: Deutsche Bank
Only the top 5% of U.S. households have earned enough additional income to match the rise in housing costs since 1975
One out of every six elderly Americans now lives below the federal poverty line
According to one recent study, approximately 21 percent of all children in the United States were living below the poverty line in 2010
Back in 1965, only one out of every 50 Americans was on Medicaid. Today, one out of every 6 Americans is on Medicaid
As 2007 began, there were 26 million Americans on food stamps. Today, there are more than 44 million Americans on food stamps, which is an all-time record
Source: Food and Nutrition Service
Today, one out of every four American children is on food stamps
59% of all Americans now receive money from the federal government in one form or another
The number of Americans that are going to food pantries and soup kitchens has increased by 46% since 2006
Source: USA Today
In the United States today, the richest 1% of all Americans have a greater net worth than the bottom 90% combined
Source: The New York Times
Image: Wikimedia Commons
According to Moody's Analytics, the wealthiest 5% of all households in the United States now account for approximately 37% of all consumer spending
Source: USA Today