Monday, July 12, 2004

The Office View

Here's a partial view of what I see if I look out the window of my office. The windows from my window belong to the Park Plaza Hotel in Boston, where I work.

Shades stay down most of the time, as they are in this picture; though even when they're up, you can't really see into the windows unless someone turns a light on.

It's not exactly a stimulating view, but it's useful in that it lets you alone, which is a good thing when you're trying to work.

Friday, July 02, 2004

Employment Rates

The Washington Post (and other news outlets) reported today that the job growth rate for the month of June was not as high as analysts had predicted it would be, only 112,000 new jobs instead of the 240,000 that had been estimated.

But what gets me is this tidbit at the end of the article: "June's Labor Department report showed that average hourly wages rose by a 2 cents to $15.65, a 0.1 percent increase, less than the 0.3 percent expected. The average workweek fell by two tenths of an hour to 33.6 hours. Total hours worked in the economy dropped 0.6 percent."

$15.65 x 33.6 hours x 50 weeks = $26,292.00

That's not a good wage in today's economy, with housing, heating, and food costs being what they are. It's certainly not a wage one would want to support a family on.

And I would venture to guess that many people who are in these new jobs are making less pay than they did in their old jobs. I would also assume that while they were out of work, that they may have chewed up savings and/or increased debt. Coming back to work for less under those stressed circumstances is better than not working at all, but it's hardly cause for celebration.

And at 33.6 hours, what kind of benefits are these people getting, if any? Are they jobs in places where you need to work a full forty hours a week to get health insurance?

The economy may be on the mend, on paper, and by all economic theory, but going back to work for only $26,292 isn't the kind of thing that would make me at all excited about endorsing Bush's economic policies.

Meanwhile, businesses are being encouraged to offshore more jobs to survive. Again, according to the Washington Post: "In blunt terms, the report by the Boston Consulting Group warns American firms that they risk extinction if they hesitate in shifting facilities to countries with low costs. That is partly because the potential savings are so vast, but the report also cites a view among U.S. executives that the quality of American workers is deteriorating."

So the good paying jobs get outsourced more cheaply and what new jobs American workers can get offers fewer hours and less pay. These same workers who have increased productivity dramatically over the past decade or so are now deemed inferior.

And Bush and Cheney are bragging about this? They're proud of what's happening to working families and they think this is a good economic outcome?

I wonder if they will say what percentage of the tax cuts they love so much go to companies outsourcing jobs?