Naming the crisis

Why We Worry / Economics Desk

It’s incomplete to call what we’re experiencing in the US an “unemployment” crisis. The problem is not just that there aren’t enough jobs available but that the existing jobs are low quality. New jobs put the unemployed to work, but these jobs are being created in a climate where workers have weak leverage, so they offer lower wages, decreased benefits and tenuous security. College students fight for unpaid internships until they graduate and fight for paid internships with no benefits. Though the worker today is more educated and more productive, his labor and his time earn him less. His economic interests are under constant attack from half of the political establishment, and in the other half he finds a fair-weather friend. Unless he’s one of a rare few, he does not enjoy the backing of a union.

These conditions have interlocking roots and together describe the larger crisis: the Labor Crisis.