U.S. working class hit hardest by falling wages, unemployment

NYHTC — February 15, 2011

Recent articles in the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times discuss the falling wages and increasing unemployment that continue to plague the American workforce even as some sections of the economy and other nations' economies recover from the recent recession. Workers are still suffering from the economic implosion despite the fact that corporate profits "have more than recovered, rising 12% since late 2007." The main cause of this "jobless recovery" is the basic structure of the American economy one where employers function with few restraints. 

With business-friendly courts and the decline of union density, corporations can recover and have recovered their profits by cutting their workers' wages, benefits, and jobs before making other cutbacks. Without unions to demand fair wages and fair treatment, companies keep labor costs down by hiding behind claims of economic hardship. As David Leonhardt puts it, "for corporate America, the Great Recession is over. For the American work force, it's not."

In fact, wages have been steadily falling across the country as a result of attacks on organized labor and the slow elimination of manufacturing jobs, which began long before this most recent economic downturn.

Reddy, Sudeep. Downturn's Ugly Trademark: Steep Lasting Drop in Wages. Wall Street Journal. January 11, 2011.

Leonhardt, David. In Wreckage of Lost Jobs, Lost Power. New York Times. January 19, 2011.

Photo by Tracy O.