Ripplings

A chronicle of ever increasing circles of thought.

"We believe, instead, that the decline in the economy’s ability to create good jobs is related to a deterioration in the bargaining power of workers, especially those at the middle and the bottom of the income scale. The main cause of the loss of bargaining power is the large-scale restructuring of the labor market that began at the end of the 1970s and continues to the present. The share of private-sector workers who are unionized has fallen from 23 percent in 1979 to less than 8 percent today. The inflation-adjusted value of the minimum wage today is 15 percent below what it was in 1979. Several large industries, including trucking, airlines, telecommunications, and others, have been deregulated, often at a substantial cost to their workers. Many jobs in state and local government have been privatized and outsourced. Trade policy has put low- and middle-wage workers in the United States in direct competition with typically much lower-wage workers in the rest of the world. A dysfunctional immigration system has left a growing share of our immigrant population at the mercy of their employers, while increasing competitive pressures on low-wage workers born in the United States. And all of these changes have played out in a macroeconomic context that has – with the exception of the last half of the 1990s – placed a much greater emphasis on controlling inflation than achieving full employment. In our view, these policy decisions, rooted in politics, are the main explanations for the decline in the economy’s ability to generate good jobs." (via Chart: Good jobs are getting harder and harder to find)