Is This The New Employment Sign?

Part-time jobs=reduced purchasing power. To the corporate bigheads: Are you getting it?
Part-time jobs=reduced purchasing power.
To the corporate bigheads: Are you getting it?

I read an article earlier today stating that Wal-mart and other stores are recording lackluster sales. Is anyone really surprised when the only hiring signs are for ‘part-time’ positions with no benefits? We are told that the national unemployment rate stands at 7.4%. I say to that, “bullshit!” When determining who is ’employed’ the government includes part-time workers and also temp agency workers. Part-time jobs and temporary jobs are NOT gainful employment. Those types of jobs would barely keep a roof over a squirrel’s head. But to make the national unemployment figures look good, let’s count them anyway.

It seems to be a fact, full-time jobs with benefits that pay a living wage are fast becoming a thing of the past as so many Americans are employed in a limited capacity and then when statistics show that people are even cutting back at the so-called ‘low end’ stores, we wonder about it? Really? Part-time jobs and temporary jobs do not instill an awful lot of confidence in people when they look at their take home pay and what the bills amount to and figure out that there is no way to stretch their poverty wages to cover even the basic necessities. The sad truth is that things are only going to get worse. The times when people could walk into a company and literally start to work that day earning a decent salary, are gone. The steel mills have shuttered their doors. Those great jobs in manufacturing are gone and unfortunately, it is not as if we can re-open those old buildings and rev up our manufacturing base. We are hard pressed to find anything ‘American made’ anymore. That is the problem. When we got excited over how cheaply we could purchase junk made in sweat shops overseas, we did not realize that we were digging ourselves into a jobless hole from which we cannot escape. Unfair trade agreements also played a part in the annihilation of good paying full-time jobs.

And now the reality is that part-time, temporary, low wage jobs are the new norm. Unfortunately, it is not just fast food companies that are guilty of this. Many grocery store chains and retail chains are also guilty. Hell…everywhere you look, there are the same signs posted. “Help Wanted, Part-time!” It is too bad that decades ago, we did not see the clear signs of what led to the ‘signs’ we see today. I certainly hope that no one is expecting an epiphany from the corporate executives that the reason why people are not lining up with unlimited purchasing power is due to their unmitigated greed which in turn is causing ‘lackluster’ sales. Trickle down never did work, but it just might be that the inability to spend will eventually cause a ‘trickle up effect because when ‘consumers’ can’t ‘consume’, just what did the corporate executives at Wal-Mart and other companies think would happen? Exactly what is happening, a reduction in consuming which could eventually adversely impact the corporate bottom line.

4 thoughts on “Is This The New Employment Sign?

  1. As always, outstanding analysis, and again, hitting the nail on its very head:
    “Part-time jobs and temporary jobs are NOT gainful employment. Those types of jobs would barely keep a roof over a squirrel’s head. But to make the national unemployment figures look good, let’s count them anyway.”

    Excellently put! The neoliberal way of capitalist employment is the kind of exploitation that yields the effect of a genocide, since it converts the employees into many tiny “enterprises” (self-employed individuals) who are forced to take the “same” risks as the richest corporations on the market – where the “same risks” mean that the heavily taxed one-person “employee” enterprises are to forced to compete with the untaxed corporations, and if the employee-enterprise fail in the competition (as they obviously do in large numbers) they are blamed for being “not hard-working enough”.
    So you are very much spot-on if you also sense that something is awfully dubious with this picture …


    1. Sky, thank you and yes…something is most definitely dubious with this picture. When I wrote that piece on ‘people striking for a fair wage’, I stated that “they’re damned if they do and damned if they don’t.” The economists are busy trying to paint a rosy picture of how great we’re doing. Who the hell are they kidding? The working poor have sunk to the bottom and when trying to come up, are entangled in seaweed, while the middle class is in the sinking boat with an ever widening hole and as the boat fills up, they have a teaspoon scooping the water out. Meanwhile, the corporations are wondering where the peons are and why they’re not ‘consuming’. Seriously?

      Where we are heading, we do not want to go.


      1. Shelby – again I very much agree.
        What we have is only media-lies and cosmetics when it comes to quantifying the description of the status of economy. Every time when I read a country-specific account of the dire economic conditions neoliberalism caused, I feel the need to emphasise (sorry if it is evident anyway): both the destructive policies and their effects are the same all over the world – they are the same both in the poor-to-begin-with Eastern bloc and in the formerly well-to-do West ; the only difference is that the latter can survive a little longer like an upper section of the same sinking global Titanic-boat.


  2. I like your analogy of the Titanic because this ship called, America is fast becoming the Titanic. Yes, you are right that many have not yet experienced the bottom falling out, but they will. It is only a matter of time. How many people thought that their job was safe even though every time they looked up, another one of their co-workers was gone. They never thought it would soon be their turn, not until they were handed the pink slip. People do not want to believe that we are all in this together. They want to think that it is a ‘poor’ thing and that they are immune to that. Newsflash! No one is immune to corporate greed and the disdain that corporate heads have for those who work for them.

    You are also right again, it is a global issue. People, the world over are pretty much in the same boat. It is just that some of us in the West have not ‘bottomed out’ yet and so we don’t feel as though it is our fight. But we’re getting there!


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