Last week, Americans celebrated Labor Day. That day off came as the American economy remains in a precarious state. Since 2009, economic growth has averaged 2.2% a year, and college students are graduating with almost no job prospects, and saddled with huge student loans. A report out on August 29 on Breitbart.com stated that the Labor Force Participation Rate (LFPR) is at a 34 year low. This indicator is the percentage of Americans who currently have a job, or are actively looking for one. With these dismal numbers, what is the general outlook for America's workers?
Today, the national unemployment rate is 7.4%, down slightly from 7.6% in June of this year. That breaks down to approximately 11.5 million Americans, that are still being counted, out of work. Divided up, things look like this; for women-6.5%, Hispanics-9.4%, Asians-5.7%, and bearing the brunt of an economy under the nation's first black President, the Black unemployment rate is 12.6%. Black teen unemployment is skyrocketing at 41.6%.
In the wake of the economic downturn in 2008, many companies and corporations endured large lay-offs and downsizing. This could be a reason for an older pool of potential employees, but has also been the result of an aging population. Sixteen percent of workers are between the ages of 55 and 64.
Another hurdle for employers is the looming implementation of Obama care. Many businesses, especially small ones, are already struggling under the weight of government regulation, and cannot afford to insure all of their employees. Many are cutting employee hours down to part-time to get under the full time hourly rate mandated by Universal Healthcare to 30.
With automotive jobs in Detroit all but gone, and so many other manufacturing jobs being shipped to Mexico and overseas, union influence on the American workforce is nothing like it used to be. Today, only 12% of workers belong to a union.
One of the latest things to emerge is the demand by fast food workers for a higher minimum wage. They want an increase to $15 dollars an hour, nearly twice the current rate of $7.25. Corporations like McDonalds and Burger King say this is just not feasible. It would force them not only to raise prices, but to actually lay off the very people demanding the change. Most believe this will not happen to entry level jobs that are meant for high school and college age people, and were not meant as full time careers.
The state of the American worker appears to be ever-changing. It has seen 90 million people leave the workforce, and more and more younger Americans being content to live off of government entitlements. It seems that American workers will have to adjust to whatever an unpredictable economy has in store for them.