The Economic Collapse
by Michael Snyder
As the number of good jobs continues to decline, the number of Americans that cannot take care of themselves without government assistance continues to explode. On Friday, we learned that the U.S. economy added “195,000 jobs” last month. But when you look deeper at the numbers, another story emerges. Last month, the U.S. economy actually lost 240,000 full-time jobs. Overall, the U.S. economy has only added 130,000 full-time jobs in 2013, but it takes about 90,000 full-time jobs a month just to keep up with population growth. So we are losing quite a bit of ground as far as full-time jobs are concerned. Meanwhile, the U.S. economy has added more than 500,000 part-time jobs so far this year. Unfortunately, there are very, very few part-time and temp jobs that can be considered “breadwinner jobs”. Part-time jobs are great for teenagers, university students and elderly people that only want to work a limited number of hours, but what most Americans need are good paying full-time jobs with benefits that will allow them to take care of their families. Unfortunately, those jobs are continually becoming a smaller part of our economy.
As David Stockman has noted, the U.S. economy has only regained 200,000 of the 5.6 million breadwinner jobs that were lost during the last recession…
By September 2012, the S&P 500 was up by 115 percent from its recession lows and had recovered all of its losses from the peak of the second Greenspan bubble. By contrast, only 200,000 of the 5.6 million lost breadwinner jobs had been recovered by that same point in time. To be sure, the Fed’s Wall Street shills breathlessly reported the improved jobs “print” every month, picking and choosing starting and ending points and using continuously revised and seasonally maladjusted data to support that illusion. Yet the fundamentals with respect to breadwinner jobs could not be obfuscated.
This is a big problem. As I wrote about the other day, the quality of jobs in America is falling very fast. Only 47 percent of all adults in the United States have a full-time job at this point, and 53 percent of all American workers make less than $30,000 a year.
Meanwhile, the number of part-time jobs has hit an all-time record high, and the number of temp jobs is absolutely exploding.
Incredibly, the number of temp jobs has increased by more than 50 percent since the end of the recession. Approximately 10 percent of the jobs lost during the last recession were temp jobs, but close to 20 percent of the jobs gained since then have been temp jobs.
We are witnessing a fundamental shift in our economy. Full-time jobs are on the decline. Part-time and temp jobs are on the rise.
In fact, the second largest employer in the United States is now a temp agency. Kelly Services has become the second largest employer in the country after Wal-Mart.
But it is really hard to pay the bills stocking shelves at Wal-Mart or working temp jobs for Kelly Services.
Unfortunately, these days millions of American workers find themselves having to take whatever they can find. We live during a period of chronic unemployment. In fact, according to John Williams of shadowstats.com, unemployment in the United States is now higher than it was at any point during the last recession after you factor in discouraged workers and workers that have taken part-time jobs for economic reasons.
So why don’t more Americans go out and start businesses and create their own jobs?
Unfortunately, thanks to the federal government, state governments and local governments, the environment for small businesses in America today is incredibly toxic. In fact, the percentage of self-employed workers in this country is at an all-time record low.
As a result of everything that I have discussed above, more Americans than ever find that they cannot take care of themselves without government assistance.
I have often written about the fact that the number of Americans on food stamps has skyrocketed in recent years. In the year 2000, there were only 17 million Americans on food stamps. Today, there are more than 47 million Americans on food stamps.
But the number of Americans that are dependent on our “modern day bread lines” is actually far higher than that.
According to a recent CNS News article, a total of 101 million Americans are enrolled in food assistance programs. The following are some of the staggering numbers for some of these programs…
The National School Lunch program provides 32 million students with low-cost or no-cost meals daily; 10.6 million participate in the School Breakfast Program; and 8.9 million receive benefits from the Woman, Infants and Children (WIC) program each month, the latter designed for low-income pregnant, breastfeeding, and postpartum women, as well as children younger than 5 years old.
In addition, 3.3 million children at day care centers receive snacks through the Child and Adult Care Food Program.
There’s also a Special Milk Program for schools and a Summer Food Service Program, through which 2.3 million children received aid in July 2011 during summer vacation.
At farmer’s markets, 864,000 seniors receive benefits to purchase food and 1.9 million women and children use coupons from the program.
Yes, there is some overlap in some of these programs. So the actual number of Americans receiving food assistance is going to be less than 101 million.
But clearly something has gone horribly wrong. Our economy is not producing enough good jobs, and more Americans than ever cannot take care of themselves as a result.
This is not normal. What we are witnessing is the slow-motion collapse of the middle class. The number of Americans that are dependent on the government for their daily bread is so large that it is difficult to comprehend. The following are a few statistics from my recent article entitled “21 Facts About Rising Government Dependence In America That Will Blow Your Mind“…
-Back in the 1970s, about one out of every 50 Americans was on food stamps. Today, about one out of every 6.5 Americans is on food stamps.
-Today, the number of Americans on food stamps exceeds the entire population of the nation of Spain.
-According to one calculation, the number of Americans on food stamps now exceeds the combined populations of “Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming.”
You can read the rest of that article right here.
So what is the solution?
Well, we need a lot more full-time “breadwinner jobs” that will enable men and women to be able to take care of their families.
Unfortunately, we continue to ship millions of good jobs overseas, and our politicians continue to pursue policies which are making the business environment in this country very toxic.
There is not going to be any easy way to fix all of this. We should have seen a nice bounce in the employment numbers during this so-called “recovery”, but that did not happen. And now the next wave of the economic collapse is rapidly approaching, and the employment crisis in this country is going to become a lot more painful.