The economic recovery is in full force. In November, 321,000 new jobs were created, making 2014 the year with the most job growth since 1999.
This is a quite extraordinary piece of news. The jobless rate has gone down from 7% to 5.8%, and the median job gain was of 224,000 a month. Economists say that a month in which the number of jobs added exceeds 200,000 is a sign of strength.
The macroeconomic numbers are robust and hopeful, but they couldn’t be farther from the popular sentiment that the economic recovery is not felt in the pockets of the American families.
This is because the new jobs, which replaced the ones lost during the Grand Recession, pay less wages and benefits.
The job growth in Southern California is a good example of what’s going on at the national level.
A recently released report of the Southern California Association of Governments showed a rapid job growth in the past two years, but those were mainly retail sales and fast-food jobs. Those occupations don’t require a high school diploma and pay an average of $18,000 to $22,000 per year.
Some people lost middle-class jobs to join the ranks of the working poor. Many of them are in the Los Angeles County.
A new report by the Census Bureau, for example, estimated that 18% of our county’s residents live below the poverty line. This is a higher percentage than that of California and nationally.
Poverty is usually linked to low education, but the problem today is that there are no jobs. The law of supply and demand works against workers because there are more applicants than jobs, which helps keeping wages low.
This is why those workers are clamoring for a minimum wage increase. The economy needs domestic consumers with purchasing power. This is the pending debt of the economic recovery