by Bud Meyers
We have 3 million high school graduates every year (not counting college grads or dropouts). If we divided 3 million by 12 months, that would be 250,000 a month. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. added 295,000 jobs in February 2015 and the unemployment rate fell to 5.5% — as 8.7 million jobless Americans are still counted as “unemployed”.
Also according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, we see that the number of those “not in the labor force” has also risen again during that same time — from 92.544 million in January to 92.898 million in February — for an increase of 354,000, which exceeds the 295,000 number of jobs created (Over 11 million more are not in the labor force since the Great Recession officially ended in June 2009).
The media is reporting the average wage is now $24.78 an hour. But they shouldn’t use the “average” (or “mean”) hourly wage — they should use the “median” wage to report a more representative snapshot of wages, as “averages” are very skewed by high incomes at the very top. The vast majority of wage earners do not earn anywhere NEAR $24.78 an hour. Social Security last reported 50 percent of wage earners had net compensation less than or equal to the “median” wage, which was estimated to be $28,031 a year.
$24.78 an hour (for a 40-hour-week job) is $51,542 a year — which is just shy of the “median household income” of $54,332 for January 2015. As of 2013 (last available data from Census) shows the U.S. has nearly 123 million households, of which 39% have two or more wage earners — and 23% have no earners at all (they could be retirees, disabled, etc). So this could mean two “median” wage earners in one household makes about the “median” household income.)
Also, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, we also see that “multiple job holders” has also risen from 6.685 million in January 2014 to 7.289 million in January 2015 — an increase of 604,000 jobs that went to someone who already had one job.
The Huffpo/AP reported “The U.S. economy expanded at a breakneck annual pace of 4.8 percent in last year’s spring and summer, only to slow to a tepid 2.2 percent rate in the final three months of 2014.” The U.S. economy only grew by a rate of 2.4 percent for all of 2014. Whereas, The Wall Street Journal reported China’s economy expanded at 7.4% in 2014 — and that was the slowest in decades. But Bloomberg also reports that it could be much higher.
China’s economy has already overtaken the U.S. to be the world’s largest economy — lifting 500,000 of their people into the middle-class. And by 2022, China could have over 630 million — while the U.S. middle-class continues to decline. Now only 20% of Americans earn a middle-class wage. Most don’t come close, and are either lower-middle-class, lower-class, or poor.
Meanwhile, look at what China has been doing for the past 30 years while Rome burned.