Friday, January 11, 2013

The Jobs are Out There

I'm sick and tired of hearing the Right tell us that jobs are out there, and that Americans are just too lazy to take them.

Jobs are coming to Albuquerque, 200 retail jobs with the opening of a new Target store.  Target is holding a three day job fair, during a winter storm, and of course, you'd figure that a lot of people in the city could get off the unemployment rolls with a huge influx of jobs like that, and that the Right is absolutely right... right?

So 200 jobs... and thousands of applicants show up on just the first day of the job fair.  Even if it were only two thousand, and if they'd shut the job fair down after yesterday (neither of which were the case) there would still be only 1 job for every 10 applicants.

And what does that say about job availability?  Further, what does it say about our residents willing to come out and stand in line in the cold for hours to get into the job fair to apply for a minimum wage job?

Of course, some of those job hunters may be a portion of the hundreds of workers who are being laid off from HP as they move their Rio Rancho operations out of state.  I can't imagine a whole lot of HP workers being paid minimum wage, but they'll be lucky to get the Target jobs... engineers, customer support specialists... whatever... because part time on minimum wage can keep them off  unemployment.   But that's not going to make up for all the jobs lost, and it won't come close to all the income lost, and while we will have 200 people who will have a job, we'll still have thousands who have waited out n the cold who have no jobs.  And even among those 200, we may well have people who've gone from professional to retail positions, have no benefits, and are working for a fraction of what they'd been making up until now.

This is NOT the economy getting better.  This is everyone settling for less, because it's better than nothing.  This is the media and politicians celebrating the raw number of jobs over the equally important aspects of work:  That these are not 200 well paying full time jobs with benefits.  These are not all the kinds of jobs you can feed and house a family with.  Those jobs are ending with increasing frequency, leaving even those few lucky enough to find employment underpaid and clinging to the poverty line.

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