“Just Get a Job” or “Find Something New”
We Don't All Work for Our Dad
US new case COVID numbers are higher than they have ever been. On July 15 there were 65,370 new cases in the US. We are not supposed to be going back to work.
Even as states begin their phased “reopening,” businesses aren’t operating at full capacity. Employees are facing reduced hours and increased risk. Several states have even halted or rolled back their reopenings because of COVID surges.
Even when states have “reopened” some industries will not be able to get back to work for considerably longer. The events and entertainment industry will not return until at least 2021 and that industry alone accounts for over 5 million jobs.
THERE AREN'T JOBS TO GO BACK TO:
The NY Times reported, and the EPI confirms, that there were still nearly 15 million fewer jobs in June than in February, before the pandemic forced businesses to close. The unemployment rate fell to 11.1 percent in June, down from a peak of 14.7 percent in April but still higher than in any previous period since World War II. The rate would have been about one percentage point higher, the Labor Department said, had it not been for persistent data-collection problems.
The continued layoffs are already signaling an "economic scarring."
"It’s still more than twice the worst week of the Great Recession," said Heidi Shierholz, director of policy at the Economic Policy Institute, a progressive think tank. “It’s a sustained hemorrhaging of jobs unlike anything we’ve seen before.”
UPDATE: In August, CNN reported that there are still 13 million fewer jobs than there were pre-pandemic.
And CNN reported on July 7th that there's now a total of 3.7 million unemployed Americans whose previous jobs are gone for good. And millions more are at risk as businesses having closing sales shutter for job, state agencies begin layoffs without federal assistance, and according to the BLS the ratio of unemployed people per available job is 4:1 and those jobs could be part-time.
In Response to the White House’s Call to “Find Something New”
Pivoting to a new career field takes time, a certain level of financial resources, or both, which are currently scarce.
Of the 10 fastest growing occupations in the United States, 8 require at least a year of additional training (and some up to 6 years + residency). The median wages for the 2 that do not require advanced training is less than $12 per hour.
The average living wage for a family of four in America (two adults working full time with two children) is $16.54 per hour.
If training for a new job is a serious proposal, it actually seems like an incentive to continue FPUC even longer so we all have time to go back to school or train in these new specialized professions.
Many people who are unemployed are middle class workers and their bills have not changed. Moving to a minimum wage job (of which very few are available anyway) does not pay their bills. Many of them also have jobs to return to when their industry reopens so pursuing one of the few jobs that are left right now would take that job from someone who might need it permanently.
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