I began the research for this piece by trying to get an idea of how many homeless people could also be employed. [An effort to make a connection within my series] I came across a number of articles claiming there were homeless people who had worked within the last thirty days, but I was unable to find any information on how long these people had been on these jobs.
My attempt was to find a correlation between those who had worked long term but still could not afford to ‘live’.
What I did find is in December of 2017 the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development reported there were over half million people who were homeless. During that same time the Bureau of Labor and Statistics reported unemployment at only 4.8%.
Looking at these numbers it does not appear there is much of a crisis as far as employment.
That seemed a little odd to me so I looked a little closer to find how inaccurate these figures are. They are just estimates. Of course, I knew this. It is impossible to count each and every case, and I already understood that. However I was unaware of the depth of random guessing in these processes that exclude so many people.
For a long time I have questioned statistical data, because I did not understand how it could reside in the neighborhood of accuracy.
I came across an article from U.S. News and World Report from 2012 that discusses three categories:
The first two terms are familiar, but we do not usually hear much about the nonemployed. Nonemployed refers to those who are not looking for work.
If someone who was searching for employment gets discouraged and decides to end or simply take a break from their search this sways these already estimated figures even more. This makes me look at the rise and fall of unemployment with a serious side-eye.
I chose to look further into employment as a whole and decided I would briefly discuss the following issues that may be of some harm to job seekers while still trying to be mindful of the side of the employer.
- Degree Inflation
- Offshoring Jobs
Degree inflation is when jobs require a degree that did not before.
I will not go into too many details, but I would like to share an example of something I witnessed a few years back.
A job for general customer service is posted to the public and the employer also used a staffing agency to acquire new recruits. The word from an inside source was the company was not satisfied with those who applied or who the staffing agency selected to send. The job posting is removed and months later it shows up with an entirely different description requiring a host of skills it did not before along with a Bachelor’s Degree.
To offer some sort of defense for the employer I would say these candidates probably were not up to par, but why the drastic change in the job description?
What if you arrived at work one morning, were brought into a conference room, and informed your entire department is being sent offshore to another country?
I came across a few personal stories of those who had been in this situation. Some of these people had to train their replacement who had no experience in the field they themselves had been in for a decade or more. Someone who was seasoned in their profession making over $70,000 per year not only loses their job, but had to train someone with no experience to replace them whose salary would not even be twenty percent of that. A plus for the company.
Now here is where I could throw out a pile of statistics on how many jobs are sent overseas. As previously discussed, Can these numbers be trusted? The fact that it is happening is enough to make me question Why is it being done in the first place?
Considering the side of the employers. Bottom line corporations want to save money and there appear to be quite a few advantages to sending portions of their companies offshore which may include lower operating costs, tax breaks, and credit. What business wouldn’t take advantage of those things? Is it their problem when they are simply trying to make sure their own goals as a company are met? As hard as it is for me I have to set aside my own opinion and look at the situation as an employer. As an employer would I not take as many breaks as possible in order to sustain my business?
“I wouldn’t pay anyone $15 an hour to flip burgers!” A bold statement I heard quite a few times when the minimum wage was raised.
This raise is not immediate and will be spread out over a period of time. With the rising costs of everything by the time it reaches fifteen dollars many who work at that pay rate will more than likely still need more to live.
Side note: I don’t know about anyone else, but I would want any persons preparing food to be as happy as possible with their wage……. just sayin’.
With my obvious skepticism on statistics I will not bore you with the data on wages. I am not interested in the average salary. I am interested in people earning a livable wage no matter what their job is.
Consider the food service worker. No not the high school student just starting out trying to gain some work experience; or the college student trying to contribute to his education or accumulate a little bit of a cushion for extras. I am talking about the fifty plus year old man or woman [whatever their story might be] who is working at a fast food chain or grocery store deli department and this is probably their best option to make some sort of living. I am not trying to be disrespectful or humorous, but let’s be honest….they exist-and they will probably be working in this field until…..they are not.
Can they save? Can they retire at a reasonable age? Can they retire?
I also consider those living paycheck to paycheck who are not in a realistic position to save anything.
They do not have the skills or are not at any level to go get more. What about them? Quite possibly a paycheck or so away from being homeless.
If they lose their income or something catastrophic in their lives happened and they are unable to earn a sustainable wage would they be able to maintain a decent lifestyle while searching for another job?
Some experts say you should have a cushion of about six months to fall back on in case you lose your job. Other experts say your savings should equal up to a year of expenses. Is that possible for those who fall under this category?
It’s almost as if it is a game. A game that is larger than the brain can fathom….
….and we have no choice but to play by the rules. Is it fair? Does anyone even care? You really have to wonder.