Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Where Have All the Jobs Gone?

America is undergoing a massive cultural sea change. The old verities no longer seem to matter; the new realities are dire indeed.

For my part, I have tried to read the signs and analyze the trends.

Here are a few from the press today.

Mort Zuckerman writes in U.S. News and World Report that the unemployment situation is far worse than the statistics suggest. By many measures the current economic situation is more dire than the Great Depression.

In his words: “In the face of the most stimulative fiscal and monetary policies in our history, we have experienced the loss of over 7 million jobs, wiping out every job gained since the year 2000. From the moment the Obama administration came into office, there have been no net increases in full-time jobs, only in part-time jobs. This is contrary to all previous recessions. Employers are not recalling the workers they laid off from full-time employment.”

And also: “We now have more idle men and women than at any time since the Great Depression. Nearly seven people in the labor pool compete for every job opening. Hiring announcements have plunged to 10,248 in May, down from 59,648 in April. Hiring is now 17 percent lower than the lowest level in the 2001-02 downturn. One fifth of all men of prime working age are not getting up and going to work. Equally disturbing is that the number of people unemployed for six months or longer grew 361,000 to 6.2 million, increasing their share of the unemployed to 45.1 percent. We face the specter that long-term unemployment is becoming structural and not just cyclical, raising the risk that the jobless will lose their skills and become permanently unemployable.”

The real question is not whether this situation is going to cause a major cultural change in America, but when and how.

Yet, Zuckerman does not seem able to bring himself to denounce the Obama administration’s leadership failure. He chastises the current Congress while failing to mention that the 2008 election gave extraordinary power to the Democratic party.

Isn’t it time to give discredit where discredit is due?

Since Zuckerman counted himself among those who supported Obama’s election, I think that when he writes articles about how bad the economic situation is, he should offer an acknowledgment of his prior poor judgment.

At the same time, Bloomberg just offered us a fascinating report about a jobs success story, the Hyundai plant in Alabama.

Considering how well Hyundai treats its workers, the great majority of them are not interested in joining a labor union. In this case, the United Auto Workers.

So, a plethora of good manufacturing jobs has come to Alabama. What could be wrong with that?

According to the UAW, everything is wrong with that. Given that Obama is in the White House, and that the NLRB has become a pro-union activist, UAW feels no real need to respect the wishes of workers.

The article reports: “ [UAW President] King has said the union has set aside $60 million from its strike fund to organize the U.S. workers of an Asian or European automaker this year. He’s said the campaign will aim to put public pressure on the companies and accuse them of violating workers’ human rights if they try to block organizing efforts.”

So much for democratic elections!

In the meantime, notoriously liberal and union-friendly New York City is seeing an outward migration. Of course, it's is not really news that people are leaving New York faster than they are arriving, except perhaps to the New York Times.

For the Times, it’s surprising to see that African-American New Yorkers are leaving the city to seek out, and often to find, job opportunities in the American South.

The Workers’ Paradise of New York City seems to have stifled job opportunities. Liberal New Yorkers have missed the point that people need jobs more than they need new rules, new regulations, and liberal pieties.

So, black New Yorkers are moving to a part of the nation that has right-to-work laws, that gives workers a choice in whether or not they want to join a union.

People who could find no work in New York are quickly hired in Atlanta. Who knew?

Powerful labor unions in New York have blocked business expansion whenever possible. Witness the witless, but successful, efforts to keep Walmart out of New York.

Those who manage New York City government intone the usual platitudes about how Walmart is going to kill Mom-and-Pop businesses, all the while ignoring that Walmart would employ a very large number of people and also help improve the quality of life for city residents.

As everyone knows, New York City, one of the great laboratories for liberal policies, is fast becoming divided between the very rich and those who serve them.

Those who actively supported Barack Obama and who were thrilled to give Democrats leadership over the economy in 2009 and 2010 should acknowledge that they voted for an unholy trinity of labor unions, trial lawyers, and government bureaucrats... killing jobs wherever they go.

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