by: Michael Snyder
Friday, August 3, 2012
Do you want to know why it seems like good jobs are very rare in the United States today? It is because good jobs are very rare in the United States today. According to a paper that was just released by the Center for Economic and Policy Research, only 24.6 percent of all American jobs qualified as “good jobs” in 2010. Over the past several decades, there has been increasing pressure on corporations to reduce expenses and increase corporate profits. One of the biggest expenses that any corporation faces is labor. Large corporations all over the globe are in an endless race to gain a competitive advantage by pushing labor costs as low as possible. Sometimes this is done by using technology. Computers, automation, robotics and other forms of technology have eliminated millions of jobs in the United States and those jobs are never coming back. Millions of other jobs have been eliminated by offshoring. In our globalized economy, American workers have been merged into one giant labor pool with everyone else. That makes it very tempting for big corporations to move jobs from areas where workers are very expensive (such as the United States) to areas of the world where it is legal to pay slave labor wages. When big corporations do this, corporate profits go up, but the number of good jobs in the United States goes down. As a result, there is increased competition for the jobs that remain in the United States and this drives down wages. Meanwhile, the cost of living just keeps going up. So millions of American families have fallen into poverty in recent years, and millions of others have gone deep into debt in an attempt to survive. This dynamic is absolutely shredding the middle class in the United States.
So how exactly did the authors of the paper mentioned above come to the conclusion that only 24.6 percent of all jobs in the United States are good jobs?
Well, they had three criteria for what a “good job” is….
#1 The job must pay at least $18.50 an hour. According to the authors, that is the equivalent of the median hourly pay for American workers back in 1979 after you adjust for inflation.
#2 The job must provide access to employer-sponsored health insurance, and the employer must pay at least some portion of the cost of that insurance.
#3 The job must provide access to an employer-sponsored retirement plan.