Thursday, October 14, 2004

Jobs again

Here's an uncorroborated breakdown of unemployment figures. While I'm not going to place full faith in these numbers yet, it does raise a few questions:

  1. Politicians evoke the image of poor destitute children and a family of four when they talk about minimum wage. John Kerry mentions that the jobs that have been created in general pay $X thousand (X=8? 9?) lower than the jobs that have been lost. Question: how many of the lowest wage jobs (wage < $8.20 an hour, say, to use a figure around that quoted as the poverty line for a family of four) is held by teenagers, college students, dropouts, and people holding another job?

  2. How long do people with a college education or community college education stay at minimum wage?

  3. If we're outsourcing so many jobs, including high tech ones, why are we creating minimum wage jobs?

The fact is we live in a time of flux. Our job skills have to develop to keep up with the pace of new demands. I like the president's rhetoric here: training is better than protectionism. I wish his actions would match. However, I also think that education is not the domain of the federal government, and would rather see more local efforts in this regard (with commensurate tax shifts).