Why We Need Action For Good Jobs Now

The Economy Remains In Trouble

This economy is not working for working people. Corporate profits are up; large corporations are sitting on almost $2 trillion in cash. CEO salaries are soaring; bank bonuses set a new record in 2010.

  • 23 million Americans are in need of full-time work.
  • 24% of all teenagers are unemployed; 40% of African American teenagers are unemployed.
  • 45% of the unemployed have been without a job for more than six months.
  • There is one job available for every 5 people looking for work.
  • The share of the population that is employed has fallen to levels not seen since the 1980s.
  • Wages are not keeping up with prices, especially on such basics as food. Companies are using the crisis to force cuts in health care and retirement benefits.
  • Home prices have fallen 33% from their peak, and are still falling in every major U.S. city except Washington, D.C.
  • States and municipalities have cut 446,000 jobs since September 2008; they are expected to cut even more jobs in the coming months.

Our Economic Problems Are Not Short Term.

The middle class has been losing ground for three decades.

  • Since the 1980s, productivity has been up; workers have seen little benefit.
  • Wages have stagnated as unions have gone from representing one-third of the private workforce to representing only about 7% of today’s workers.
  • CEO salaries were 35 times greater than those of the average production worker in 1980; by 2009, they were 185 times greater than the average production worker.
  • The wealthiest 1% earned 56% of all income growth over the last three decades, while the bottom 90% earned just 16%. The United States has the largest concentration of wealth and income at the top since the onset of the Great Depression.
  • Top-end tax rates have been cut from 70% in 1980, to 30% today, while working families have been hit with higher payroll taxes, higher sales taxes, and higher fees for everything from school activities to bus fares.

The Cost Of Basics Continues To Increase

  • Americans pay nearly twice as much per person for health care than any other advanced industrial nation. Corporations are pushing more health care costs onto workers, while conservatives in Congress are actively working to push more of the costs of Medicare onto seniors and the disabled.
  • The cost for college is soaring. In August 2010, total student loan debt surpassed credit card debt for the first time, $830 billion to $826.5 billion.
  • Half of all companies offer no retirement plan, while 40% of Americans 55 years and older have less than $25,000 saved for retirement.
  • Working past the age of 65 has become a reality for more and more Americans; one-third expect to work past the age of 70 or never retire, 54% expect to work at least part time.

America Continues To Ship Good Jobs Abroad

  • General Motors now sells more cars in China than in the U.S.; more and more companies make most of their profits abroad.
  • Companies have used the recession to lay off workers in this country, while expanding employment in other countries where they are able to pay lower wages.
  • During the financial collapse of 2008, Wall Street’s corporate profits plummeted. But since then, they have rebounded faster than any other sector, taking in 30% of corporate profits and climbing.

The Bottom Line: We need a new strategy for America in the global economy, one that works for working families, not simply for CEOs or big banks.