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Krugman Should Comment On The Complete Picture

Paul Krugman writing in the NYT today.

There was a message in the latest jobs report that is consistent with what these reports have been telling us for at least the past year or two. Namely, the workers are alright.

Paul Krugman

Well who am I to disagree with Paul Krugman?

John Philpin – that’s who. And I completely disagree.

As always, its what’s not being said that matters. The elephant [efn_note]elephants?[/efn_note] in the room cannot be ignored, and I am disappointed that someone like Krugman should waste his time on this kind of ‘opinion’. Yes, we have ‘great’ employment figures. But that’s because as usual, we measure and comment on the wrong things. ‘Everybody’ having a job is not the point (if a large chunk of the workforce is excluded from the count of ‘everybody’). It is everybody (not just 25 to 54-year-olds) having one job, that is paid fairly, so doesn’t need to work a second job to make ends meet. That is what we should be looking at.

Consider The Whole Workforce

The data was reporting on “the prime-age employment ratio, the percentage of Americans in their prime working years, ages 25 to 54, who have jobs.”

54 is just at the point where ageism creeps in … see this week’s newsletter

It’s just at that point that the problems kick in.

“This isn’t how most people think they’re going to finish out their work lives,” said Richard Johnson, an Urban Institute economist and veteran scholar of the older labor force who worked on the analysis. “For the majority of older Americans, working after 50 is considerably riskier and more turbulent than we previously thought.”

Richard Johnson, Economist [ProPublica]

Full Time Or Part Time

From the same ProPublica report, the graph speaks for itself.

Strong argument to suggest BTW that some 18% that are not in the labour force have partially self-selected out. Do we really believe that 8.39% of all American workers eligible to work have actually retired? Or is that what they use to describe their position because they can’t get another job.

Multiple Jobs

Twenty percent of teachers in America have a second job.

And they aren’t the only ones!

People rarely work second jobs for fun, they work them to survive.

Reward For Your Work

Pew Research reporting just last year that real wages have not moved in decades.

So yes, ‘fully employed’ America, where you aren’t counted in the last ten years of your working life, and those that are counted are working double jobs to make ends meet, while others are self-declaring early retirement because they can’t get a job. Life is just dandy … no?