I think it’s appropriate to focus on jobs for Labor Day.
The good news is that employers did add new jobs last month. Unfortunately they didn’t add nearly enough to make a dent in unemployment. Even as private employers are adding positions, cash-strapped state and local governments have had no choice but to cut them. Drowning government in the bathtub sounds great until you realize there’s lots of things government does to make the private sector possible.
The flipside of employment is, of course, unemployment. Real unemployment is much higher than the “headline” number. That’s because the number you hear on the news doesn’t include people who have given up on jobs, people who went back to school because there’s no jobs/to get training/hoping the market will be better when they graduate, part time workers who would rather work full time, etc.. Of course, it’s also alarming how long many of the unemployed have been unemployed.
It doesn’t help matters that the current administration thinks they can create jobs by encouraging companies to borrow money. Banks are still being stingy and real property is no longer something with which truly small businesses can secure loans. Besides, what bank in their right mind is going to lend money to some unemployed guy who figures he can start his own business?
We’re one of the only modern countries with no maternity leave, no mandated sick leave, and no guarantee of health care (merely an upcoming mandate that we pay the profitable insurance companies that created our unaffordable system). We also trail every modern nation when it comes to vacation time. Heck, some people have to fight for their lunch break!
Let’s hear it for Labor this Labor Day.
In closing: any prison term can turn into a death sentence; why people believe lies; fired for being paid so little she qualifies for food stamps; advice for college freshmen; Enron exec to stay in prison during appeal (good!); this is not good; Thank you, Digby, for saying what I’ve said for years, If Social Security is running out of money, how is less money supposed to fix it??; parents’ worries vs children’s actual risks; Abigail Disney on the Estate Tax; VW wants to be #1; on debt; I wouldn’t treat a dog this way; “Moby Dick with Dragons“; on racism, bad neighborhoods, and the news; and Mac Vs. PC.