'Buy American' plan could cost US jobs
Green Jobs are Not Always Good Jobs
Jobs are the mantra of nigh everyone. Yet an income apart from jobs is what workers need. And ironically, that would generate more jobs. We trim, blend, and append four 2009 articles from: (1) Reuters, Feb 5, on jobless claims; (2) LA Times, Feb 6, on unemployment; (3) Reuters, Feb 3, on protectionism; and (4) Good Jobs First, Feb 3, on green jobs.
by Lucia Mutikani, by Maura Reynolds, by Doug Palmer, and by Philip Mattera
US jobless claims surge to 26-year high
The number of US workers filing new claims for jobless benefits rose 35,000 to a seasonally adjusted 626,000 in the week ended January 31, the highest since 1982, the week ending October 30. The four-week moving average for new claims rose to 582,250, the highest reading since 1982, the week ending December 4.
Also, the number of people staying on the benefit rolls hit a record high the week ended January 24; it surged by 20,000 to a record 4.788 million.
Unemployment rate at 17-yr high; jobs disappearing at faster pace
Since the recession began in 2007 December, the economy has shed 3.6 million jobs, half of them in the last three months. In January, employers closed 598,000 jobs. The last time the economy lost so many jobs in one month was December 1974.
Unemployment climbed to 7.6% from 4.9% at the start of the recession. The last time it reached 7.6% was in 1992 September.
JJS: Seventeen years ago fits in neatly with the 18-year land-price cycle which drives the rest of the business cycle, since FIRE is the biggest sector in the economy, twice as big as second-place manufacturing. And ironically, if you want jobs, the federal government’s bailout could abort them.
"Buy American" plan could cost US jobs
US trading partners worry the United States is moving toward increased protectionism.
"Buy American" provisions under consideration in Congress as part of a huge economic stimulus bill could create only 1,000 new steel industry jobs and might cost as many as 65,000 across a number of sectors from lost trade, says a report by the Peterson Institute.
The Business Roundtable, which is working to delete the provisions, said if we revert to economic isolationism, the rest of the world will retaliate.
On the contrary, the steel industry estimated that requiring 100% US content in infrastructure projects would create 77,000 new jobs and that US market share would not shrink from retaliation.
The governments of both the European Union and Canada sent letters to Congress urging the provision be dropped.
JJS: Even if going trillions deeper into debt could net new jobs, some of those called “green” might be grey.
Green Jobs are Not Always Good Jobs
High Road or Low Road: Job Quality in the New Green Economy by Good Jobs First examined three sectors: manufacturing of components for wind and solar energy generation; green building; and recycling. It found some employers treat their workers decently while other purportedly green employers do not. At two wind energy manufacturing plants workers initiated union organizing drives in response to poor safety conditions and then faced strong union-busting campaigns by management. Some US wind and solar manufacturing firms are opening parallel plants in foreign low-wage havens such as China, Mexico, and Malaysia.
Many wind and solar manufacturing plants receive sizeable subsidies. Many states and localities apply job quality standards to companies receiving subsidies or public contracts. The report’s authors urge wider use of such standards by federal as well as state and local agencies.
JJS: Most people know no other way to make money than doing a job. They might not like the job, such as debt collection. The job might not be useful, such as vice president. But it’s a job.
However, almost every politician, economist, and their uncle touts jobs. Not jobs they would do. Not jobs paying wages they would accept. Just jobs for the masses, to keep us busy, keep the economy humming, keep everyone falling into and climbing out of debt -- and to keep the topic of fundamentally reforming distribution, so the economy works right for everyone, off the table.
As long as jobs are the only way to get money, people will be at the mercy of those who hire. But jobs are not the only way that’s fair. There’s working for oneself and starting a business. There’s investing. And there’s also owning.
Presently, some over-own and some under-own. Some own part of the commons, which belongs to us all, and some receive very little from the commons. But the commons is huge and its biggest portion is the worth of Earth. All the money we spend for the land and resources we use, all that now ends up in very few pockets. But since none of us made Earth and all of us make its value, we should share that flow of spending.
Once we all get a rent dividend, a la Alaska’s oil dividend, then we can tell bad bosses and dissembling politicians to “take that job and shove it.” Enjoying a minimal income, we’ll have the leverage to negotiate better wages and more time off. At last jobs won’t fill the headlines but measures of leisure and wellbeing will -- just as soon as we feel worthy of an income apart from our labor.
Jeffery J. Smith runs the Forum on Geonomics.
Let’s hope their cure is not worse than the disease
This period looks a lot like 1929-32
Bankruptcy or Bailout to Nowhere?
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