The Labor Market is in Worse Shape than you Think

The ADP National Employment Report announced Wednesday that private employers hired 158,000 new workers in March — the smallest gain in five months and far below the 200,000 forecast by economists.

Most of these new jobs are low-paying retail, food services and health care related. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported in February that retailers hired 252,000 new workers over the last year and that retail recovered 723,000 jobs since reaching a low in December 2009. In comparison, the construction industry has added 349,000 new jobs since reaching its employment low in January 2011.

The U.S. economy overall increased payroll by 355,000 since January 2013 and more than 1.8 million in 2012. This Friday The Bureau of Labor Statistics will present its latest snapshot of our domestic labor market. Economists once again expect an average gain of 200,000 jobs for March.

Despite thirty consecutive months of job growth since the dark days in 2009, but the national unemployment rate remains high at 7.7%.

According to Robin Harding, U.S. economics editor at the Financial Times, the U.S. has shed nearly two million clerical jobs since 2007 while creating just 387,000 managerial positions. People are finding that they are not able to find the kind of job in this economy they’d like to find.”

Harding says the shift to low-wage jobs from “good, middle-class” jobs such as construction workers, bookkeepers, typists, bank tellers and data entry employees, has led to growing income inequality. “Companies are finding ways to automate these office processes,” Harding says, and this leads “to a lot fewer of the steady office jobs that the middle class has been relying on since the Second World War.” He found that the average wage for a clerical job in 2012 was $34,410. But the positions that are being created in this economy – like a personal care aid – paid on average of $24,550.

Perhaps more worrisome is that despite relatively strong growth in February, the economy is adding jobs more slowly to start 2013 than it did early in 2012, when payrolls grew by an average of 262,000 jobs over the first three months of the year.

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