Comments on: Can America improve its bad jobs? A slice of lime in the soda Sun, 26 Oct 2014 19:05:02 +0000 hourly 1 By: TFF Sun, 11 Jul 2010 13:54:13 +0000 hsv, I’m guessing my read of that chart is a little different from yours…

38% percent of the population has a high school degree or less. Yet they make up 55% of the unemployed and 54% of the long-term unemployed.

The job search may be a few weeks longer for the older and educated workers (not surprising, because those skills are more specialized and the interview/hiring process is longer). Yet this doesn’t alter the fact that a less-educated person is more likely to find themselves unemployed and less likely to find a rewarding job. The difference between 28 weeks and 36 weeks is significant — and we both understand the reasons behind that difference — but it doesn’t fundamentally change the picture.

I would encourage the older unemployed to look for unconventional opportunity. When you are 25, you have neither the experience nor the resources to strike out on your own. When you are 45, you have the skills and savings to make your own path. Do you truly need a corporate boss? I don’t.

By: hsvkitty Sun, 11 Jul 2010 08:32:12 +0000 Thanks TFF, I really did enjoy reading the URL and the discussion. My vision is limited (literally heheh) but hopeful and innovation usually begets new jobs for a wide spectrum once it goes beyond the research stage.

I found this page, which also has a chart imbedded, on older labour being less hireable. 7/older-more-educated-workers-have.html

By: TFF Sat, 10 Jul 2010 00:43:56 +0000 Responding to your points…

(1) While there will always be unskilled jobs (have to pick those strawberries somehow!), the quantity depends on the pricing. If you were to increase the cost of landscaping services by 50%, a lot more people would mow their own lawn. If you were to increase the cost of eating in a restaurant by 50%, people would be much more inclined to cook for themselves. And so forth…

This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t increase service-sector wages, but does caution at least SOME sensitivity to the consequences. Push that change too fast or at the wrong time, and you’ll simply dump another 20 million people on the unemployment rolls.

(2) Personally, I wouldn’t try to limit immigration — I would expand legal immigration to meet the demand. But the original question asked, “Can America improve its bad jobs?” I think you’ll have a REALLY hard time doing so while allowing open immigration. These “bad jobs” are already ten times better than what is available in Mexico or China.

But suppose, for the sake of argument, that we DID successfully limit immigration and crack down on undocumented immigrants. Who will work the farms? Why not presently-unemployed American citizens? You might need to pay them $15/hour to get them out in those fields, but you’ll find takers if the price is right.

And yes, I realize that many goods and services would be more expensive in such a scenario. (See my response to point #1.) But don’t dismiss the possibility offhand… Such a policy would help at least as many people as it hurts. Among other things it would make small local farms more viable. All strawberries need picking, but the local farmers currently pay much higher wages than the factory farms. You have to be big and powerful to openly flout the law.

(3) Go back and re-read that article. I was most intrigued by, “One rural outsourcer, Onshore Technology Services, recruits workers from minimum-wage jobs and gives them intensive training in IT specialties.”

If we agree that educating a single mother with children is desirable, then all that remains is to appropriately structure a program to achieve that goal. If necessary, pay for the training program, pay her minimum wage while she is learning, and pay for child care. What might that cost for a 12-month intensive program? Perhaps $30k? We’d get that back in taxes and economic growth within five years. The nice thing about education is it lasts a lifetime…

Conventional colleges and existing programs aren’t going to work for somebody in that situation, but why limit yourself?

Your vision? I like the idea of investing in clean energy startups (heck, I like the idea of investing in almost ANY startup — the payback on that is incredible). But I don’t see how that will do much for the plight of migrant farm workers or other unskilled laborers. Am I missing something? Suppose it can be a piece of the puzzle…

By: hsvkitty Fri, 09 Jul 2010 17:47:23 +0000 Sorry that I got a little personal in the discussion.

1) As I was trying to say, service industry jobs are pretty basic and were created out of necessity (what consumers deem necessary anyway). The bad jobs were created long ago and are not going away anytime soon. Yes we need to create good jobs. How? Which? Of value to whom? My suggestions for a greener future were as welcome as the President’s will be I see.

2) So back to restricting immigration. Yes that may help in the upper blue collar jobs, but being you believe in only immigration of skilled labourer, who will do the unskilled labour that no one else is willing to do? (see my previous posts for examples and understand businesses like farm produce will wholeheartedly disagree)

3)Now here is something no one would argue with. But I will argue that anyone who can do so, already is. Be it monetarily, physically or mentally. Do you really think the person who is working at 3 jobs will not be willing to upgrade and become skilled at the drop of a hat?

The ‘insourcing’ article was intriguing and yes over time it will erode the urbanites, IF there is another recession, that is just inevitable anyway. Now had the fellow offering IT jobs at a lower rate been able to fill his quota of needs in Urban areas he would have done so. Young up and coming IT’s are not as likely to jump, are they.

But, he was able to attract utilizing the FACT that older people are considered less employable by offering them jobs in their field but, made sure it was in a rural setting with advantages that a younger person would not much appreciate .. Quiet, urban, own your own home appeal, make your salary go further appeal.

Now in answer to you other questions, why can’t a single female with children ‘hold’ skilled jobs? I didn’t say they could not hold them. They are unskilled for a reason. In order to become skilled they would need to go on welfare, get financial assistance for school, which may not pay it all or pay for books and get a sitter for the kids and still pay all the bills. Need I say more? (There is much more but I will let you look that up should you really care)

The aging are often looking for work after illness, being laid off or being let go because they are close to retirement and about to collect benefits at a higher rate or considered slower and less flexible mentally and physically then the youth, even though that may not be true. This person is more likely to have skill but is considered less hireable because of age and because he is older, he will now be considered unskilled. Being over 50 I can elaborate, but I’ll be kind and not fill even more space then I tend to.

As for my vision, I had ideas in my original posts on income inequality and here. And if you didn’t get my drift I also disagree with Nafta and outsourcing of manufacturing and innovation and think we need both back.

By: TFF Fri, 09 Jul 2010 11:44:16 +0000 “So if education is key, then answer the question please… It was : “Can America Improve its bad jobs.”

I’ve offered three answers, depending on your preferences… Take your pick.
(1) Instead of creating BAD jobs, create GOOD jobs. If the question asked has no good answer, then ask a better question.
(2) Limit unskilled labor supply by restricting immigration.
(3) Reduce unskilled labor supply by turning at least part of it into a SKILLED labor supply.

Why do you assume that I’m arguing this for selfish reasons? I’m arguing what I believe to be the best solution to a serious problem. In fact I don’t employ anybody, and don’t stand to gain/lose more than anybody else if the minimum wage is raised. In fact I would support raising the minimum wage (and/or nationalizing health care), I simply don’t believe it makes sense to do this when we already have unemployment in the high teens.

As for the link having no effect on Urbanites, do you truly believe that? We are one nation — and what benefits one region benefits all. And yes, there are many people currently holding UNSKILLED jobs who can easily be trained for SKILLED jobs. It is a win-win solution, as you say.

Why can’t single moms with kids hold skilled jobs? Why can’t the aging hold skilled jobs? As for the poor, they aren’t stupid. Poverty can be cured through education. What you say is correct — but it is also a strongly elitist attitude to assume they are not capable of better.

Once again, the only way I see to simultaneously improve the QUANTITY of jobs and QUALITY of jobs, both of which are desperately needed right now, is through education. Train somebody for a job in IT or as a lab tech and they’ll bring some of those jobs back from China. Jobs paying a median-plus wage. People employed in skilled jobs use that new income to create other unskilled jobs (daycare, food service, landscaping). As employment rises and the ranks of the unemployed are thinned, businesses will find that they must pay more than the minimum wage to attract reliable labor. And perhaps that would be a good time to increase the minimum wage?

In any case, that’s my vision. What is yours?

Finally, you can’t truly address this problem without addressing immigration. As it stands, we severely restrict SKILLED immigration while effectively allowing unlimited UNSKILLED immigration. This makes no sense at all! We have skilled jobs going begging (or leaving the country) at the same time that we have a large oversupply of unskilled labor.

The present situation is good for two groups. It is good for business owners who benefit from an exploitable pool of unskilled labor (agriculture, construction, landscaping) and it is good for those immigrants whose situation would otherwise be even worse. It is a very bad situation for unskilled labor in this country, and creates a host of other problems for the US overall.

What is your vision for that?

By: hsvkitty Fri, 09 Jul 2010 02:30:39 +0000 Whoa TFF… you lost me several times. Reality, which I will not deny, is that unskilled labor is being paid as though they are worthless. They are not blue collar workers… they are the working poor of the service industry. Some would be better off on welfare but are too proud to be. The point is they are not worth less. The USA isn’t China.

So if education is key, then answer the question please… It was : “Can America Improve its bad jobs.”

And my questions I asked earlier were: How is higher education key in the service industry? There are not enough jobs to go round. How are you going to train for better and greater skills, pray tell, to what end? To whom will they have value in a shrinking economy? I really think you should elaborate what jobs, what skills and what education?

I think I have a better grasp of reality then your pie in the sky paying blue collar 50% more as a solution to… heck tell me, What? I am so lost. Not unemployment or making service industry jobs better.

I am also curious why you would add a link in one post and then disagree with it in another. The people in the link are making jobs. It is a “in house” solution that will not have an effect on Urbanites and puts people back to work. It is a win win as the rural life is cheaper, homes are cheaper and they have a job in their field (IT was one example, so white collar) or can easily be trained

So what business are you in TFF that you think someone deserves less then minimum wage? Are you in a business where your labour cannot be outsourced and are jealous? You are forgetting some fundamentals about unskilled labour and the service industry.

Toilets will always have to be cleaned. Beds will always have to be made, for some time yet we want people to cook and serve food, and someone has to load the dishwasher and pick the produce. And these jobs can’t be replaced because at the moment they are still deemed necessaryor they wouldn’t exist. I do not get what you mean by replacing the jobs… unless you have a plan for making the population decrease.

Some of those unskilled are poor, have mental or physical disabilities, are single moms with kids, aging, immigrants and most would be happy to be upgraded to skilled labour. A lot of them will do just that which is why they were willing to take on any job available to feed themselves and often their family until they can afford to upgrade. Some take on 3 jobs. A lot of the jobs are shift work, part time and some are temporary.
Some are dirty, underground, toxic, monotonous and dangerous.

One last little question. When you say unskilled labour isn’t worth much, is that compared to the Hedge fund managers scheming how to make more money then God?

By: TFF Thu, 08 Jul 2010 23:06:31 +0000 Returning to the article…

“The problem is that on average, service workers earn only half of what factory workers make – and only a third of what professional, technical and knowledge workers are paid. The key is to upgrade these jobs and turn them into adequate replacements for the higher-paying blue-collar jobs that have been destroyed.”

In my opinion, it makes more sense to replace those blue-collar jobs with technical jobs paying 50% MORE rather than replacing them with service jobs paying 50% LESS. Of course that requires education…

If you run out of unskilled workers (unlikely), you can allow greater immigration. There is an endless supply of unskilled immigrants who see minimum wage in the US as a big step up from their current opportunities.

By: HBC Thu, 08 Jul 2010 22:58:42 +0000 The prevailing epidemic of bad jobs (formerly known as careers) American workers are having to get used to can be directly attributed to protracted periods of really awful American management, for which there can be no tolerable excuse and, in light of which, truly substantial sacrifices from those responsible may be reasonably expected if peace and social justice are to be restored. Nothing short of this will do.

There can simply be no sustainable sense of common identity, no lasting satisfaction nor extenuated civil acquiescence within any consumer economy that allows its consumer classes to suffer and literally fall by the wayside in the course of such a predictable systemic collapse as we are now witnessing. When the collapse comes about from sheer lack of consumption, and when such lack has been rendered as diligently and systematically unattainable as is happening in today’s USA, the irony is complete.

The optimist in Dan Hess may revisit (as one ought) Voltaire, Rabelais and ‘Die Grundrisse’ for evidence of human solutions-oriented ingenuity over time. Acceptable solutions to the present catastrophic social imbalance are however sadly unlikely to be forthcoming from dalliance in anachronistic romance or nostalgia alone, due to the rather obvious fact that the Western economic classes of today are decidedly not all in this together. There’s no “we” here. There’s no “we” on the moon. The “we” is gone.

Western workers’ concerns diverge publicly ever further from the interests of the mandarins at the top, and rightly so, yet the American mandarins see no ships. Organization of labor would be a legitimate response but, for the labor union of tomorrow to make much appreciable difference it must outpace the century-old refinement of the American magnate class’s capacity to infiltrate and widely discredit traditional labor unions.

The Chinese realize this to the bare minimum extent that they at least keep their working classes reasonably sure about having a roof over their head, rice in their stomach and a picture postcard of an iPhone on the wall of their hovel, between treadmill sessions. Western economic führers seem disinclined to make even that much of a concession when it comes time to divvy up the pie on these shores.

Which is why the sun’s likely to go on setting here for some time to come, or ignominiously and prematurely burn out for which much thanks, etc. No, not “our” sun, silly – we don’t have one – the suns of byatches on Wall Street.

By: TFF Thu, 08 Jul 2010 22:25:12 +0000 hsvkitty, who said anything about making unskilled labor more productive through education?!? That’s an oxymoron if I ever saw one!

Coincidentally, this article just popped up. Maybe those workers who PRESENTLY hold unskilled jobs are capable of learning actual valuable skills? And performing jobs that are currently being shipped overseas? iness/rural_onshoring/index.htm

Reality, which you seem to deny, is that unskilled labor is worth very little in today’s world. There is a far greater supply of unskilled labor than there is a demand for unskilled labor.

You can’t simultaneously increase the wages for unskilled labor and the demand for unskilled labor, you have to choose one goal or the other. That’s REALITY.

But further reality? They aren’t stupid, merely unskilled. Give them meaningful training programs that lead to SKILLED jobs and they can suddenly earn a livable wage. That’s education.

You can then restrict immigration (if you want to drive up wages for unskilled jobs) or open our borders to offer opportunity to more people.

By: hsvkitty Thu, 08 Jul 2010 20:53:31 +0000 Sorry TFF, but the unskilled service sector jobs can’t be made more productive by education and giving them useless skills. Unless you are wishing to make the jobs skilled entirely to make immigration obsolete. I think if you were in the service industry you would find many businesses would not agree. And the trickle down theory works great if you are on the upside of the trickle. it doesn’t work that way in reality.

And it makes me cringe when comparisons are made to China work force. I wasn’t comparing at all! They are literally paid 5 dollars a day for a good factory job. The government sanctions what is akin to slave labour and poor standards… a bed in said factories in exchange for labour, children kidnapped and sold to farms, accepting bribes, corrupt knock off warehouses, few or no safety standards, almost non existent quality control or assurances, threats on their lives and families if they try to form unions, lead and toxic waste in children toys, recycling toxic ewaste illegally, etcetera, etcetera. I don’t think anyone should compare North American work forces to those in China.

Thank you Dan Hess for expounding in your last post on what I was trying to express. The rewards in billions of dollars is excessive,though and would be more likely abused, and higher rewards often mean less productivity. The biggest untapped energy is the people. We are incredible working machines if we are matched to work that is productive and satisfying.

Being China will rebel on devaluing the dollar, and devaluation can lead to further devaluation with any crisis, economic or not, adding jobs with value can make a strong dollar and add growth.