Low wage capitalism with a dab of cronyism: Of job sectors with the highest growing raw number of positions 9 out of 10 will pay $35,000 a year or less with little to non-existent benefits.

There was a big miss with the latest employment report.  The addition of 74,000 jobs produced the weakest employment report going back to January of 2011.  Yet part of this is not a surprise given the weak retail sales over the holidays at the expense of cash strapped American consumers.  If you dig deep into the data you find a continuing pattern of low wage employment taking over the nation.  This trend is accelerating as wealth inequality reaches record proportions.  When the Great Recession struck many good paying jobs were washed away in a bathtub of corporate financilization that has truly set the country on a fast track to economic inequality.  Austerity for the public and corporate welfare for Wall Street.  Even the “Wolf of Wall Street” still lives in a multi-million dollar home in California while fleeced investors take a walk down memory lane.  Low wage jobs are here to stay.  This might be stunning for older Americans but young Americans are faced with this once the minted college degree paid by debt is picked up.  What does it say that the vast majority of the top 10 job sectors in America will pay $35,000 or less?

Low wage America

The latest BLS jobs report was a big disappointment.  It frankly caught the market off guard because they were used to the juiced up stock market of 2013.  Of course, not much of the gains going to the financial sector or even the highly speculated real estate market are trickling down to working Americans.  The lords of finance are sucking out every penny from the real economy and are living high on the hog with 75 percent of wealth controlled by the top 10 percent of earners in our country.

Here is an interesting look at the projected top employment sectors:

low wage job growth

Source:  BLS

All of the top growth jobs pay less than $35,000 per year aside from registered nurses.  What is interesting is the top jobs are the following:

-1.  Personal care aides

-2.  Registered nurses

-3.  Retail salesperson

-4.  Home health aides

-5.  Food preparation

In other words, we are heading to an economy catering to the old (that are largely broke) with young workers making peanuts and just enough to purchase a Happy Meal for dinner.  Is it any wonder then that 1 out of 3 Americans has zero dollars saved to their name?  That the plan for retirement for most is close your eyes and hope Social Security is enough to get by.

Demographic changes are also tweaking what we see in the unemployment rate:

Labor Force

Somehow something like 10 million Americans are “missing” from the labor force.  If these people were put back into the data calculations we’d be looking at the unemployment rate at 11 to 12 percent.  So of course, myopic views are more focused on how strong the portfolios of the top one percent of our society are doing.  That is also how you have a peak in food stamp usage coinciding with a peak in the stock market.

Looking at the latest jobs report, we see that the bulk of employment was part-time in nature in retail and temp help:

Jobs Dec report

Source:  ZeroHedge

Of course the financial press is trying to make this a one-off incident blaming it on the snow and slower retail sales since they don’t want to pay attention to the growing army of working poor Americans.  You know, the 47 million on food stamps, the 1 out of 3 with no savings, and the massive number of young Americans making peanuts while they are in massive student debt.  This is the recipe of low wage capitalism with a touch of cronyism for those on Wall Street.

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4 Comments on this post


  1. Ametrine said:

    Just want to say to the author of this blog how much I appreciate the graphs he uses in his articles. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words!

    January 11th, 2014 at 3:15 pm
  2. Ulysses said:

    Back in 1970, the average wage of an entry-level engineering job was $12,000/yr, the price of gas was $0.30/gal, the price of an average car was $3,000 and the price of a typical middle-class house in Florida was $25,000. Then Nixon trashed Bretton-Woods and took the dollar and, by inference, the entire world off the gold standard turning it into an inherently worthless fiat currency with ever depreciating value.

    Today everything I have mentioned above has a nominal price of roughly 10 times that of 1970. In other words, the dollar has lost a full 90% of its purchasing power over the last four decades and counting but I fail to see a tenfold improvement in our lifestyles. Quite the opposite, in fact.

    So how is a high wage defined and what is it supposed to achieve? Remember, when our own wages are raised, then we expect to buy more of the the products of other workers who will consequently be able to buy less of our products unless, of course, everybody’s wage is equally raised, making it a zero sum game.

    For instance, if the wage of a McDonald’s worker is doubled then he will think he can now buy twice the number of Burger King sandwiches. The Burger King employee, whose wage has also doubled, will have the same expectation about Big Mac.

    Then they will meet in the marketplace where a big surprise will be waiting for both which will not only confound them but Keynesian economists, including Ben Bernanke, as well who equate inflation with prosperity …

    January 13th, 2014 at 1:12 pm
  3. KaD said:

    I’ve been broke and unemployed for so long I’d be ecstatic for even a TEMP job anymore.

    January 18th, 2014 at 8:24 pm
  4. H. Skip Robinson said:

    There is very little about our system that can be construed as capitalistic. The money is not even free market derives. A central bank is the 5th platform of communism and an income tax, the 2nd. Most people don’t know this because the 10th platform of communism is public education. The entire platforms of the 1928 and 1932 American Socialist Party have long been enacted into laws in our country. We are a fascist oligarchy and a recent Princeton Univ. study concluded that the majority, over the years analyzed, had virtually little or no influence over the political process of our so-called “Democratic” Republic.

    It like calling those in positions of economic and political power, elites. There is nothing elite about people that are as unconscionable and unethical in their actions as some of these people who control our society. Most of these people are just a bunch of lowlife liars and thieves. The intellectual elites are the whistle blowers and others that are changing our world by telling the us the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

    July 24th, 2014 at 4:15 am


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