Thursday, September 10, 2009

Prosperity bypassing younger workers

The AFL-CIO and Working America have just released their report "Young Workers a Lost Decade," which chronicles a less than rosy economic future for workers younger than 35.

Here are some of the findings highlighted in the report:
  • Half of all young workers live on the low-income end of the wage scale, earning less than $30,000 a year.
  • Three quarters of those workers say prices are rising faster than their incomes.
  • Seven out of 10 say they do not have enough money saved to cover just two months of living expenses.
Less than half of the workers in this demographic have paid sick leave—compared to 70 percent of workers who earn more than $30,000 a year. Fourty-four percent have no health insurance at all.

While additional education offers a potential path out the low-income world for many young workers, the rising cost of education, coupled with low-wages, is moving the pursuit of the American dream beyond the reach of many. Some 43 percent of low-income workers say they have put off education or professional development because of the cost, and 54 percent say they are worried about being able to pay for further education.

I'd be interested in reader's thoughts about solutions, and if they think this report paints a realistic picture, or if they think it's findings are slanted ideologically. Obviously, there are those that will posit that since the AFL-CIO had their hand in producing the report, then it's probably skewered towards a pro-union point of view.

The reality for many, however, is that the social contract that once existed in this country has somehow been altered. One would have to be living in cave not to recognize that the long-term job security that once existed for my father's generation, has disappeared.

It's hard to argue against the fact that there is a growing gulf between the haves and have-nots in the U.S., with the healthcare issue factoring into that. There is also the growing perception that this is the case, also. IMHO, this is not a positive development for a country that once prided itself on equal access to prosperity, at least in concept, if not necessarily reality.

1 comment:

karim said...

Very thoughtfull post on prosperity .It should be very much helpfull.

Karim - Creating Power