Why Fight for Minimum Wage? Because Half the Jobs Created Cause Underemployment

by Bill on December 11, 2013

Since the economic crisis of 2009 huge efforts have been made to restore lost jobs and reduce unemployment. The problem is that over half the jobs created are minimum wage, low wage and create more underemployment.

There’s an article from The Globe and Mail about the statistics. It points out that the reason so many people are concerned over minimum wage increases, is the fact that most jobs created post-Great Recession have been on the lowest end of the pay scale.

“The new attention to the struggle of the country’s lowest-paid workers reflects one of the more dissatisfying aspects of the current economic recovery. Since 2009, 54 per cent of the new jobs created in the U.S. have been low-wage positions, according to an analysis by EMSI, an employment research firm. In the ten occupations where job growth has been the strongest, nine of them pay average wages of less than $14 an hour, it said.”

        The Globe and Mail

Well gee, that would explain the billions spent on public assistance programs over the past five years wouldn’t it. Sure the economy has rebounded somewhat, but the rebound has created a nasty side effect of near adverse poverty for half of those employed today. Underemployment is rampant; and I honestly believe it is tied in with the rise in depression, mental illness and other issues.

In a post related to a couple of news articles I found, I tossed up some examples and stats showing up lately concerning fast food workers and bank tellers.

And here’s an interesting statistic that not everyone takes notice of, which I stated before: today’s fast-food worker is typically over 20, often raising a child, and 68 percent are the primary wage earners in their families, according to a report by the University of Illinois and the University of California, Berkeley.

So why fight for a better minimum wage? Because way too many people are living off of low wage income and there are just too many underemployed people who need help. We, as a nation, complain about how much money the government spends on public assistance; and yet there is not one statistic showing that it needs to be this way. Why fight for a better minimum wage? Because no one but those underemployed low wage workers feel the pain. That’s why.

Can you relate to this? I would like to hear about your tales too.  
William Swan, writer


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JTHmishmash December 11, 2013 at 4:25 am

You’re arguing that underemployment is worse than unemployment. Who are you to make these decisions for the working class? If they think they’re underemployed, they can personally make the decision to go unemployed and find a higher paying job.

We have no right to tell a worker that they must make themselves of higher value to their company. We have no right to tell a company how to run their business. This is America.
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Bill December 11, 2013 at 8:56 pm

Yes, you’re right. I do argue that underemployment is worse than unemployment. Here’s why – unemployment allows for full government assistance in the form of rent vouchers, cash assistance, basic medical, food, heat and help with transportation in many cases. If you are underemployed, most of what’s out there just isn’t available because you earn too much.

Personally I found this out twice. When I worked 35 hours per week making $7.25 per hour I found out my gross pay was $60 over the allowed limit to receive food stamps for a single person. In my town, minimum wage allows you a single room efficiency depending on how far away from town you want to live. While unemployed, had a roof, food, medical, utilities all paid for. So yes, I do know how the system works. It sucks, but that’s the system.

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