Pollsters report being bewildered by what seems to be an "expanding economy" that is greeted by an overall dissatisfaction with things economic on the part of the American public. Recent data provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics provides some answers.
Media outlets report only the bare bones. Last week we heard reports that 207,000 new jobs were created in July. What was not reported (why do our media sources insist on being so shallow?) were details about the nature of these new jobs.
Here's the rest of the story:
26,000 of these jobs were tax-supported government positions (13%).
181,000 were private sector jobs.
177,000 of these private sector jobs (98%) were found in the domestic service area.
30,000 positions were food servers and bar tenders.
28,000 were in health care and social services.
12,000 were in real estate.
6,000 were in the field of credit intermediation.
8,000 were transit and ground transportation positions.
50,000 were in retail trade.
8,000 were in wholesale trade.
7,000 jobs were in construction, with most being filled by immigrants.
Bottom line: the jobs being created today provide generally low wages for those who land them.
Paul Craig Roberts, former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration, put me in touch with these statistics. He believes that what we are watching in terms of job creation is the slide of the American economy into Third World patterns (see his essay at http://counterpunch.org/roberts08092005.html).
This likely explains how job numbers can be up, but citizen satisfaction is down.
As I think about future impact on our cities; again, I find myself troubled.
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