Sunday, August 28, 2011

Portion of men who work falling with wages

Mike Dorning, Bloomberg Businessweek
Sunday, August 28, 2011

As President Obama puts together a new jobs plan to be revealed shortly after Labor Day, he is up against a powerful force, long in the making, that has gone virtually unnoticed in the debate over how to put people back to work: Employers are increasingly giving up on the American man.

If that sounds bleak, it's because it is. The portion of men who work and their median wages have been eroding since the early 1970s. For decades the impact of this fact was softened in many families by the increasing number of women who went to work and took up the slack. More recently, the housing bubble helped to mask it by boosting the male-dominated construction trades, which employed millions.

When real estate ultimately crashed, so did the prospects for many men. The portion of men holding a job fell to 63.5 percent in July - hovering stubbornly near the low point of 63.3 percent it reached in December 2009. These are the lowest numbers in statistics going back to 1948.

Among the critical category of prime working-age men between 25 and 54, only 81.2 percent held jobs, a barely noticeable improvement from its low point last year - and still well below the depths of the 1982-83 recession, when employment among prime-age men never dropped below 85 percent. To put those numbers in perspective, consider that in 1969, 95 percent of men in their prime working years had a job.

Men who do have jobs are getting paid less. After accounting for inflation, median wages for men between 30 and 50 dropped 27 percent - to $33,000 a year - from 1969 to 2009, according to an analysis by Michael Greenstone, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology economics professor who was chief economist for Obama's Council of Economic Advisers.

"That takes men and puts them back at their earnings capacity of the 1950s," Greenstone says. "That has staggering implications."


The impact has been greatest on moderately skilled men, especially those without a college education, though even men with bachelor's degrees from less selective schools are beginning to see their position erode.

"There's really been this polarization in the middle," Katz says, as men at the top of the education and income scale see their earnings rise while those in the middle gravitate downward.




The Peak Oil Poet said...

to answer your question

no, i don't usually put music to my poems though i am a musician, or at least, i was for many years a musician

i write either because i get an instant inspiration and the poem just flows out or i am very systematic and start from some point - either some rhythm i hear of feel or some quirk of language or some single issue....

like you i am a computer programmer and mathematician

my goal is to write poems that other people actually like - and all are experiments to determine what it is that may attract people to reading poems


at the same time i am trying to raise explicit awareness of issues like Peak Oil - but not at an intellectual level - at an emotional level

because i think there is an undercurrent of emotional awareness that people struggle to express

all we have is the eruptions of violence and war

and noise

i'm trying to write little peaks in the noise - like the way your brain will look at clouds or something and see a face or an animal etc

anyway - you are welcome to put music to anything - go for it

also note that i know from my own reaction that when we see someone putting "copyright" all over their work that it projects something that people react to negatively in some way - is best to be way more subtle

and the way i see it, if a tiny voice in all this mess makes an impact - isn't it better to be copied all over the place than to be some weird implanted american idea of getting rich or famous?

like gee, who'd ever think a poet could make money of his/her poems before he/she is dead?

Gods gift: our soul, peeks out sometimes
when poets fall in love
for every cell of being cries
the praise of God above
and from such love come mighty things
an infinite surprise
of poets new who'll speak of love
and open all our eyes


Patricia said...

Thanks. I am currently focused on doing something with the songs I've already written besides sings them to myself occasionally so I don't forget the tunes. So I'm not thinking about trying to immediately do something musically with your poems, but I do like them and hope to work with them in the future. I think you have important things to say, and would like to help you reach a larger audience.

I do put copyright notices on my poems because they are usually also song lyrics. It costs me money to get a demo made, and I can't afford to do that for nothing, esp. because I am out of work. When I am working, I don't have time to do much with my songs except write down the lyrics. It was very stressful having a bunch of songs in my head, and knowing that when I die, they will disappear. Now that I am out of work, I have been getting the sheet music created and copyrighted. That way, even if my family throws out all my poems/songs after I die, which is almost a sure thing, they will still be on record with the copyright office. I probably won't die soon, but one never knows. I've had friends much younger than I die from car accidents or cancer or other health problems.

Also, due to age discrimination, I ended up with little savings, and it would be really foolish to be spending the money to get more recordings made of my songs if there is no chance of making at least somethings from them. If you have a good enough paying job to be comfortable, it is easy enough to tell others they shouldn't worry about money. And I feel a kind of duty to develop at least some of my songs that I feel are good.

Also, I think that if good people allow selfish people to profit from stealing other people's work, we are helping to sustain a situation where the selfish takers are an increasing share of the population.

Post a Comment