Hilfe & Kontakt

Sigh ... More Ph.Ds Drivin' (More) Cabs: The Unemployed Become Underemployed Under U.S. Job-Loss Tsunami!

Von: Kyle Schwitters (slipuvalad@yahoo.com) [Profil]
Datum: 06.12.2008 14:10
Message-ID: <e204491e-8091-4abb-9df1-37f943f3f5ef@s20g2000yqh.googlegroups.com>
Newsgroup: alt.religion.christian alt.politics.republican alt.jobs alt.food alt.impeach.bush
Hey ...sellin' apples on street corners is NOT demeaning!   What's
demeaning is pickin' up those discarded cores to take 'em home to

Thank you ever so much Mr. Bush.  How's Ol' Grand Bag doing?  Back to
those high-calorie meals?

And dad, Wimpy?  Still "seeing" Jennifer "The Other Woman"
Fitzgerald?  Cute couple there.

And will Jebby be able to clear his name from involvement in Florida
"real estate" in order to make a prez run in 2012?

Neil as SecState?

Exciting prospects for "our country," no?

"Rising Underemployment Contributes to Pain of Jobs Slump"

By Michael S. Rosenwald
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, December 6, 2008; D01

Not long ago, Kim Toliver was making a nice living as a consultant.
Today she is an administrative assistant, clocking in at a temp job
and making 20 percent of her old salary.

"I guess you could say I'm also in the middle of a strategic job
acquisition process," said Toliver, 37, of Prince George's County.
"I'm trying to do better."

The nation's unemployment report, released yesterday, was even worse
than many economists had feared. But some say it was also incomplete.
Workers like Toliver who are stuck in jobs for which they are
overqualified went largely unnoticed.

In one of the worst recessions since at least the early 1980s,
economists say, the ranks of the country's underemployed workers are
growing. They include not only skilled laborers who are working in
unskilled jobs, but also workers who are seeking full-time employment
yet have had to settle for part-time alternatives.

Their misfortune, experts warn, is the economy's misfortune, too.

"It's a huge disservice to the economy, in that it means there are
highly productive, hardworking people who are not maximizing their
potential," said Heidi Shierholz, a labor market economist for the
Economic Policy Institute. "They cut back on their consumption. That
reduces demand. It's a downward spiral. It's a huge drain on the

The government does not count some types of underemployed workers --
those who are overqualified for their current work, for instance. But
it does count people who are working part time when they would prefer
full time. That count has jumped by 2.8 million in the past 12 months,
to 7.3 million.

There are people in a worse position. In all, 10.3 million were
reported unemployed in November, sending the nation's unemployment
rate to 6.7 percent, the highest level in 15 years.

But some economists insist the widespread attention paid to that
figure is misplaced.

"For whatever reason, the focus has been on unemployment instead of
this broader measure," said Christine Owens, a worker right's advocate
and executive director of the National Employment Law Project.
Underemployment "is a much more accurate measure of what the economy
is really like for people."

Temp agencies say they are seeing an uptick in the number of workers
with MBAs, backgrounds in finance or in the mortgage industry --
people who are willing to settle for significant cuts in pay just to
pay their bills, according to Chuck Ray, regional director for
Manpower, one of the nation's largest temp agencies.

Some end up as paralegals or administrative assistants, others find
work in customer service.

"It's unfortunate -- you get people with just a wealth of education
that end up in call center roles or something," Ray said. "You will
find a lot of people out there that I wouldn't call desperate, but
they need to do something."

From a worker's perspective, the implications of underemployment are
practical and emotional. Toliver, who has a master's degree in
organizational development from American University, has cut back her
cellphone services and how often she goes to the movies. Her student
loans are in forbearance. And she waits.

Toliver was driving to a job interview recently when the employer
called to cancel.

"It's depressing," she said. "It makes you wonder if you got the right
degree, if you messed up or something."

Even though the government does not officially measure
underemployment, many economists use as a proxy a statistic that
includes the total number of unemployed workers, people who work part
time when they would prefer full time, and people in the workforce not
seeking jobs, perhaps because they tried and gave up.

In November, that figure was 12.5 percent of the workforce -- the
highest level since 1994, when economists began using the proxy

Economists and temp agency executives note that underemployment is
cyclical, and that many people who are underemployed return to jobs in
their chosen industries once the economy bounces back. That doesn't
help in the here and now, though.

If workers lose their jobs, then find temp or part-time work at a much
lower salary, they can sometimes still afford monthly mortgage
payments by tapping into savings and investments. But if their money
runs out, say, a year from now, that could cause trouble.

"It could be another contributor to the foreclosure problem," said Gus
Faucher, director of macroeconomics at Moody's Economy.com. "When
people have their hours reduced, they face more financial burdens and
they are more inclined to give up and let the bank take over the

Shierholz said, "There's a lot of damage being done that we won't
actually see play out for a while."

There are few regions of the country that will be spared, economists

When Whitney Warner, an Atlanta-area resident, left the Navy last
year, she did so hoping to become a flight attendant for a major
airline. She was scheduled to start training this summer, but now the
airline, facing a tough economy, keeps putting her off, so she is
answering phones and filing papers at a temp job.

Warner is living with family, spending very little money and using
credit for purchases she must make. "In my rainy day fund, it's been
raining a little bit," she said. Her savings will last her through
March, she said, and if she runs out of cash, she might have to re-
enlist in the Navy.

"I know I can live that long financially," Warner said, adding that
she's "just happy to be working."

One of the oddities of Warner's experience is her expert status around
the office where she's temping. The permanent employees have questions
for her, not vice versa.

Said Warner: "They ask me questions about doing temp work," worried
they could soon find themselves in her position.


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