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More Jobs May Not Mean Good Jobs

The unemployment rate in November dipped to its lowest levels in nearly two years, but economists warn the quality and salaries of these new jobs may be less encouraging.

The jobless rate dropped from 9% to 8.6% last month, the Labor Department said this morning, with 120,000 new jobs added. To the unemployed, any job may be better than no job, but the new hires might be poorly-paid, and may only be temporary, experts say. In fact, wage growth fell in November — the average hourly earnings in November slipped 0.1%, following an upwardly revised 0.3% gain in October, the new numbers show. “If a vice-president takes a job as a dishwasher, it’s a job, but it’s not the same,” says Mason Gaffney, professor of economics at the University of California.. “It might be that working people are willing to accept jobs at lower pay or else there is a real demand for labor. We still don’t know.”

Many of the new jobs are likely seasonal hires for the holidays, experts say. Mark Grant, managing director at Southwest Securities in Dallas, Tx., says there’s not enough detail available to assess for sure whether these jobs will last. “Certainly, a portion of the 120,000 without any question are related to Christmas,” he says. “That’s why I don’t take the number at face value. One would also have to assume that some of them are lower-paid jobs in retail. Every year at this time, the government job numbers get somewhat fuzzy about seasonal hiring.”

Nor is the jobs recovery keeping pace with the cost of living, experts says. Patrick O’Keefe, director of economic research at J.H. Cohn consultants in Roseland, N.J., says, “What we’ve got is a stagnant wage and marginally positive jobs growth. That’s a flat net-income effect.” O’Keefe, who is a former deputy assistant secretary in the U.S. Department of Labor and a former deputy director of the National Commission for Employment Policy, adds, “Things have improved, but not enough.”

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    • By WebOsPublisher

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    • To No Name,

      Your first sentence made my day! My son just graduated from college in May. He IS WORKING a $10 job right now, and he is GRATEFUL to be working, even though it is not in his field. Unlike you, at the young age of 22, he can already see the value of productive work. He is learning real responsibility, practical job skills, budgeting, saving, and many other things. He knows (as do my wife and I) that sooner or later he’ll get a better job.

      As far as our recent retiree, there is no reason to be sorry, because I wasn’t upset. I couldn’t care less that we weren’t given two weeks notice. In our business this happens ALL the time. I just find it a little sad that there was no company involvement whatsoever in his “retirement planning”, because he was a good employee. But, when a person announces that he is done, and in fact, does not show up for work after that announcement, we have no choice but to move on. And for you to assert that we do not provide employees notice (of what, layoffs???), how would you know???

      Also, your assertion that a new employee works for a “tiny fraction” of what he produces for the company is false. In actuality, a new hire (especially an inexperienced one) COSTS a company more than he produces. Employers hire new employees in the hope that they WILL SOON ENABLE the company to be more productive, and thereby, more profitable. As the employee’s productivity increases, a smart employer will increase compensation accordingly based upon skill level AND market conditions. Since some employees are NEVER productive, in well run firms, they will eventually be shown the door.

      Your assertion that a company should GUARANTEE to help employees “advance” or “meet the challenges” of their lives is simply silly!! A company’s purpose is to make money for the stakeholder(s), plain and simple. Our company’s stakeholder is one man (not me), and all the employees know this very well. The owner has millions of dollars invested in his business. He knows that his business will not survive without dedicated employees, and the employees know that they will not have a job (i.e. no money!!) if they do not perform well in their jobs. It is a fine balancing act, and both sides must perform their parts for the organization (company) to succeed.

      I know very well that our employees are people, and I respect every one of them as people. I also tell every person that I hire that I want each of them to succeed in our company. I then proceed to show them, and tell them, what they need to do to accomplish this. I’ve been told many times that I’m a good boss. Over the years I’ve come to realize, that yes, despite my faults, I am indeed a pretty decent boss. I see this through little things like low employee turnover, a very clean facility, and employees offering me a slice of pizza, a handful of peanuts, or a simple “have a good weekend!”

      You would do well to grow up and stop feeling sorry for yourself. However, since you obviously know more than I, you will certainly make some snide remarks to me and continue to be a burden on society, because Lord knows, you could never take a job that only pays $9 or $10 per hour!

    • For the younger college grads starting at the bottom no longer means a reasonable job with respect and a salary that can support a family. Taking a job at 9 or 10 dollars an hour after taking on loans to get a Bachelor’s degree just doesn’t make sense. I’m sorry to hear that you were so upset by someone giving only 7 days notice. It is customary to give 2 weeks, but it’s also much easier to recruit in this market. I always considered an employee who gave more than 2 weeks notice to be doing a great service for the company.

      Is it really fair to believe you’re entitled to multiple weeks notice, when employees are not entitled any notice?

      Is it reasonable to expect everyone to take a job at the bottom and work for a tiny fraction of what they produce for the company?

      Is it reasonable to expect them to commit years of their life to a company that makes no guarantee to help them advance or meet the challenges in their life?

      Your employees are people, and they deserve respect.

    • It never ceases to amaze me how few people realize that the way to succeed is to work your way up! Sorry folks, but the reality is that you just don’t start at the top! You have to pay your dues, and take every opportunity you get. If you don’t, I guarantee that someone else will, because the competition is too stiff.

      A few days ago we had a mechanic give (all of 7 days) notice – he decided that he wants to retire. He is 62 years old, and can indeed collect Social Security, however, we think he has overlooked the fact that he can’t get Medicare for another 3 years. Really, we suspect that he is “playing us” for more money, but that is neither here nor there, because he left. Therefore, we immediately placed an ad in the local paper.

      Just today, I interviewed a guy who had worked for us about 7 years ago, but left to take a position at another company. Although he never set the world on fire, he was competent, and based on our conversation, he has picked up some additional, valuable skills. It was very interesting to me to hear him state that he wishes he would have never left our company. Although the pay isn’t world-class, the work has always been steady, and we have a decent place to work. But, by chasing after the “money, this gentleman told me that he was laid off twice and closed down two other area factories. We’ve decided to give him another chance, and due to the fact the our “new retiree” left us hanging, he is pretty much toast as far as we are concerned.

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