Archives For middle class jobs

 

Unemployment Rate by Education Level

In 1992, the BLS began tracking unemployment rates by education level. Highlighted below are the unemployment rates for the following four groups…. All groups consist of individuals 25 years old or higher.

Education Level Achieved September 2012 Month/Month
(Points)
Year/Year
(Points)
Less than
High School
11.3% -0.7 -2.6
High School Grad
No College
8.7% -0.1 -0.9
Some College
or Associate Degree
6.5% -0.1 -1.9
Bachelor’s Degree
or Higher
4.1% 0.0 -0.1

It is no secret that the lower the education level the higher the unemployment rate. We are told that employers are out looking for people to fill their jobs and there are just not enough qualified applicants. When I grew up in the 1950s and 60s a young man could graduate from high school and if he had the connections could get a job in one of the auto factories in the area. It was a good paying middle class job. But then came robotics and foreign competition.

I’m not saying that robotic or competition are a bad thing. In fact I think it is just a normal progression through the industrial age.  A hundred and fifty years ago a young boy with no education could plan on making some pretty good money by signing on to a moving cattle from Texas to Kansas City.  Those jobs like the factory jobs of my generation naturally disappeared with the advent of the railroad.  It is just a matter of progress that the good paying jobs of one generation are not the good paying ones of the next.

The fact that to get a good middle class job in today’s world takes something beyond a high school education is just to be expected. But, a basic problem is that our education system just hasn’t kept up with the demand for more intelligent workers as evidenced by the above numbers.  This fact really shouldn’t surprise anyone. Our kids generally are just not getting the education needed for today’s jobs.

So, how do we as a country change the culture of our education system to meet the demands of the 21st century? I have never been involved in this field other than as a student but I have been exposed to some of its participants.  From the teachers I have met personally it seems that the majority of them are pretty naive in the ways of today’s businesses. For the most part they are arts majors fresh out of college. Most spend their entire careers inside the educational system. If we hope to continue to compete for the middle class jobs of the world we will need to entice those who have a working knowledge of the jobs available today and a big part of that is math, science and especially computer savvy teachers.  We need teacher at the high school level who have experiences outside the educational system. I don’t think that is happening to any degree right now. At least not in my local school district.

I know many teachers read this blog and I am not trying to put you down in any way. From your comments I know how difficult a job it is to be a teacher in today’s world.  I know that a big part of the problem is in the home of the students. But we must face facts that our kids are generally not equipped for the middle class jobs of today.

via Will bank branches wither away? – USATODAY.com.

In the past year, the number of bank customers who prefer to bank online has jumped sharply, according to a survey conducted in August by the American Bankers Association. Sixty-two percent of bank customers said they prefer banking online to all other methods, up from 36% in 2010. Only 20% of customers said they preferred using a branch, down from 25% last year.

I can remember as a youngster taking some of my hard earned grass mowing money to the bank to open a savings account. The lady there that handled all the money praised me for saving some of it. After that I regularly visited the lady behind her big counter to add to my account. I don’t remember how much I eventually had in the account or even what I used the money for but the bank itself made a big impression on me. It seems like local banks are going the way of many other institutions in relenting to cyberspace.

I know personally I very seldom am in the door of our local bank. I do visit their bank machine on a regular basis but only go inside when I need to do something with my vault box.  Everything else is done electronically as I seldom even use paper checks anymore. So, I guess I am contributing to this trend. As the article state that last year 36% preferred on-line banking and now 62% do. That is a very drastic increase in a little over a year. How much longer will banks, especially locally owned ones like I bank at, be able to afford keeping tellers behind the counters if no one actually goes inside? I’m sure the local small business owners frequent the bank on a regular basis to get currency for their cash registers so I imagine there will always be someplace to accommodate them but vast majority of the tellers will likely soon disappear. I wouldn’t be surprised if they disappear faster than our local video stores.

It seems that the internet is eliminating quite a few previously well established job opportunities and I expect this trend will continue in the future. The trouble with all this is that there just doesn’t seem to be many newly developed jobs opening up to replace them.  I don’t know what percentage of middle class jobs that are disappearing are due to technology as opposed to off-shore outsourcing. That would be an interesting statistic.

Most middle class jobs today require some post high school education and the U.S. is doing poorly in that category compared to other nations. Are all the kids who have only a high school education or less (almost 1/3 of U.S. kids don’t even finish high school) doomed to working for fast food and retail stores throughout their lives? Their doesn’t seem to be any leadership around today to change these trends and that is the saddest thing about all of this.

As a senior citizen I am mostly an observer in this type of thing. They say the average person today will change jobs about ten times in his/her working life.  I guess I was very fortunate to have worked for one  employer for 30 years and managed to retire with a pension plan.

Looking back at the prosperity of the Clinton years of the 1990’s I’d say we’ve lost a lot of ground in this country.

Are our best days behind us? They don’t have to be but given the current circumstances they might well be. If we cannot put aside our hatred of other political persuasions and creeds we may have peaked. The “us” vs. “them” mentality  that is so pervasive today is a very destructive thing and as a result it just might be all down hill from here. If we can’t get past these things then even I might live to see our collapse. Most of us think that these sort of things take years or maybe even decades to work out but that is not necessarily the case. Given the right circumstance a “Perfect Storm” can occur and things would happen on a very accelerated time scale.

Some are calling this the era of “Post Hope”.  I pray that is not the case but the evidence does seem to bear out that statement. Most middle class jobs that don’t require a lot of schooling have already left the country for China and India. The U.S. auto industry which has been the source for these types of jobs have been drastically downsized as a result of bankruptcies. What happens to those who seem unable to learn beyond the high school basics? Are they stuck with having to have two or three minimum wage jobs just to provide the basics for their families? Are they beyond hope?

We can only pray that eventually we will see that our current mentalities are more destructive than helpful. We can only pray that when that occurs that the best people to implement a new U.S. strategy are willing to step forward and take the reigns. The U.S. has been a nation that is known for going to the “brink” before stepping back and changing paths. Will we be able to do that again in our current world.  Just because we have managed that in the past doesn’t mean that we can always do it.

We are all so concerned about our personal situations that it seems almost impossible to step back and look at the nation as a whole and what would be the most beneficial for that view. Those of us who have lost our middle class jobs and don’t have any hope of ever having one again are struggling day to day.  Those of us who have managed to keep hold of our middle class job are constantly looking over our shoulders for when the hammer will come down on us too. There are what many once thought of as un-exportable jobs  just a few years ago that are now being moved off shore. It is even becoming more common to see people who require expensive surgeries to have them in other countries instead of here. Where will this end?

The disparity of incomes is becoming so extreme that something tragic may occur if nothing is done. In the last ten years those who have an annual income of $1million have seen their income increase more than 200% while the rest of us have seen a mere 20% increase over the same time. And of course this was a period of ever increasing costs especially in the healthcare area.

All of this certainly leads to the belief that we are now in the “Post Hope” era….