Career Calling

February 18, 2014

Unemployment and Underpayment

Huffington Post reports that American list unemployment as the most important problem facing the country.  According to a Gallup poll, 23% of American feel this way, which is up 7% from last month.  While this information is interesting, it only reflects what people think, not economic realities.  Clearly unemployment is a problem, a big one.  But I don’t think it’s the most serious.  Most Americans are still employed.  The bigger problem is that their pay has been flat or cut.  Employers have increased employees’ contribution to health care, or they have stopped matching payments into retirement plans.  For many low wage workers, employers have moved to a contingent labor model in which workers are scheduled on an as-needed basis.  All of these people are working, but they feeling like they are falling behind.  We know what unemployment is, and economists have a way of measuring it.  What we need is a way to measure underpayment.  That’s the real problem.

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