Archive for January 2011
Chinese workers convert to Islam to work on railroad in Mecca.
Suicide bomber dents side of Japanese oil tanker. Dents.
Hey, I’m gainfully employed. So now I can blog again. These are exciting times.
Since I’m employed and blogging again, maybe I should comment first on the state of national unemployment:
103,000 jobs were created in December. Which lowered the unemployment rate to 9.4%. The lowest it has been in 19 months. Good news? Ehh, not really.
For one, after worker productivity gains and the natural growth of the labor force (think December graduation and less retirees), 103,000 more jobs ain’t that many.
My general observations – which aren’t unique – are the labor market has undergone a permanent change. Structural unemployment is likely to be this high for a long time because employers learned to be leaner since the Great Recession. Secondly, those who are working have become more willing to work longer hours because unemployment can come quickly and seemingly last for eternity (trust me). And really, there is no such thing as funemployment.
What can government do about this? Not sure if many will like my answer. Maybe legislators can take a look at worker rights issues. Maybe Congress can limit work-week hours for salaried employees.
Everyone knows that income inequality is increasing in the U.S. Now, I’m not saying that this is because many high-wage earners are lucky or benefit unfairly. Most high-paying occupations are given to highly skilled employees who earn their salaries by taking on significant workloads, often 2 – 3 times more than a typical job. So what if Congress were to pass or consider legislation which – *now I’m about to curse – like the French-system imposed limitations on hours-per-week an employer can have their employees work?
I’m not saying let’s have 35 hour work weeks. But what if work-weeks were not allowed to surpass 50 hours, or 55 hours? I know employers who would lose 20 hours of per employee work this way. Now if they had 2 employees who couldn’t work 20 extra hours a week, they would have to hire another employee. Pay may decrease per employee but employment would increase. General social benefit would occur.