As the two presidential candidates talk about emails and foul mouths, the real issue escapes their attention.
Americans want and need jobs.
Everyone today knows of someone out of work for long periods of time.
Moreover, according to one survey, the hardest hit sector are those workers under 55 years of age.
A new study by the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council highlights the sad situation. By their latest survey (click here) millions of jobs are being lost as the candidates dither.
In addition, although Department of Labor unemployment rate figures stagnate at 5%, many Americans are without full-time employment.
Experts estimate more than 90 million Americans have stop looking for work or are employed in so-called “phantom jobs.”
They do not appear in DOL figures because most have used up their unemployment benefits or were not eligible for other reasons. Therefore it can’t account for them. This is giving a false picture of what is happening in the land.
What is interesting and should be at the top of any candidate’s agenda, SBEC’s gap research spotlights a usually ignored factoid. The hardest hit group are individuals 55 years old and younger.
Some specific findings from the survey:
- Comparing the labor force participation rates of age groups in 2015 and 2007, it turns out that the decline in the labor force due to lower participation rates is all about the age groups below 55 years old.
- If the U.S. had a reasonable level of employment relative to population, such as the level existing before this last recession, there would have been 8.1 million more people employed in September 2016 than actually were working
- The labor force in 2015 was down by 13.1 million compared to where it should have been at reasonable participation rates for ages 16 to 54.
- Job growth has been grossly inadequate, and the numbers clearly show a dramatic exodus of workers from the labor force and a drastic shortfall, or gap, in terms of employment.
America has always managed to absorb rising birth rates and immigration. Not so in recent years. This inability to provide jobs has increased the fault lines in our political system. The increasingly desperate workers who have attained middle-class status and now fear the loss of status and income are fueling Donald Trump’s candidacy.
They see their gains eroded as the nation transitions to a service economy and blue collar positions evaporate.
A recent New York Times article about a small Pennsylvania town highlighted the changing work dynamics. Here, Trump is supported by the working class inhabitants while more affluent residents are leaning towards Hillary Clinton.
Ironically, the Silicon Valley-led electronic revolution has added to job woes. As organizations have flattened their structures and smaller enterprises can rely on cloud-based products to manage many of their core functions, they are not hiring enough staff to fuel growth.
A recent study by my company, Small Business Digest, found many smaller companies reducing staff by sending key functions into the clouds. As a result, they are keeping hiring down.
Another major reason for reduced hiring being the penalties incurred by Obamacare if they exceed 50 employees.
Another factor affecting job growth is the rise of the so-called gig economy. Staff are being hired on a project or term basis rather than for full-time employment.
Ironically, this sort of arrangement is becoming preferred by younger workers who are desirous of more flexibility in their lives. Resumes with three or more positions with two or less years in service are becoming more common.
Human Resource executives polled recently told our staff they are seeing more job hopping than in previous years. Some ascribed it to an improving economy but others felt it was because younger workers were not seeking the job security of their elders.
Regardless of its causes, job losses and security are the number one issue for most Americans, and it is not being addressed by the presidential candidates.