We now have a Labor Dept that doesn't fuck with numbers as much as Elaine Chao's used to, and as a result we're getting a fairly grim picture.
And even though the pace of layoffs is slowing, many companies remain anxious about growth prospects in the months ahead, making them reluctant to add to their payrolls.
“There’s too much uncertainty out there,” said Thomas A. Kochan, a labor economist at M.I.T.’s Sloan School of Management. “There’s not going to be an upsurge in job openings for quite a while, not until employers feel confident the economy is really growing.”
Correct me if I'm wrong but wasn't that the point of Obama's promises during the campaign? To jump start the job market a la FDR so people would have money to spend, thus bringing the economy out of the oligarchic doldrums?
That limbo is arguably the quintessential American experience of the moment. When the Great Recession is dissected into its component parts, this might be remembered as the Waiting Phase. It’s not as scary as the Plummeting Phase of last year, or as event-filled as the To-the-Ramparts Phase of several months ago, but that doesn’t make it any easier.
A real recovery, we have heard time and again, won’t begin in earnest until the jobless rate, now at a 26-year high of 9.7 percent, starts to fall. But what will it take for the rehiring to start? What do companies like Katana need to see before they call back people like Charles Salak?
What, in other words, are we waiting for?
What, indeed? Everybody's waiting for somebody else to make the first move, preferably the govt. But the govt has apparently shot its wad propping up Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan. Getting people - you remember them? "people"? - back to work is no longer a priority because it woul-d be...what?
Right. "Too expensive." The corporate-friendly atmosphere of kiss-ass towns like Columbus has, far from making them the rich centers of a thriving local economy, barely kept them solvent.
The management-friendly atmosphere has lured lots of corporations, which in turn lured people like Mr. Salak, who was raised in Arizona and has relatives in Schuyler, a nearby town. The deal was: Manufacturers could make the rules largely as they saw fit, and in return workers got steady jobs in a place where it was relatively cheap to live.
A sign about 17 miles outside of town says “Columbus Is Open for Business,” and the more time you spend here, the more literal those words sound.
You can see management’s unfettered hand in the vaguely Dickensian hours that many here work, and you sense an emphasis on unfettered growth in the just-build-it ethos that governs the stretch of strip malls on the road that bisects the town. It’s fast food, a Wal-Mart, a J. C. Penney, check-cashing outlets and dozens of other stores.
You can translate "vaguely Dickensian" into absurdly long hours for short pay with large lay-offs and minimal employment where workers do 3 people's jobs for a half of one person's paycheck, and their reward as workers is just enough of a payday to buy the kids' shoes from China via Wal-mart.
Not exactly the middle class dreams the oligarchy promised.
The trouble is that everybody's trapped in a system that has been so crooked and so warped and so slanted toward the rich for so long that nobody can fix it without stepping on the toes of the people who have benefited from it and who are continuing to benefit, while the people who would benefit by a restructuring and reprioritizing have been so thoroughly conned that they actually believe that if they just hang on long enough they, too, will eventually be oligarchs.
You can ignore the class system in America just like you can ignore racism but that doesn't mean they aren't running the reality you're living in.