|Collapsing Jobs on Labor Day 2002
> ------------------------- By LEIGH STROPE
> .c The Associated Press
> WASHINGTON (Aug. 31) - Many Americans this Labor Day are just thankful
>have a job.
> The nation's unemployment rate is hovering near a seven-year high,
>jobs are not being created as the bleak economy teeters on the cusp
>recovery and recession.
> ``To working families, it looks a heck of a lot like a recession,''
>Jared Bernstein, an economist at the union-supported Economic Policy
>Institute in Washington and an author of ``The State of Working America
> The list of large employers seeking bankruptcy protection is formidable:
>Kmart, Polaroid, Enron, WorldCom, US Airways and more. Companies recently
>announcing layoffs include American Airlines, Charles Schwab, Williams
>Cos., Coca-Cola and Nokia.
> For Kathy Angiolillo of Woodbridge, Va., the economy couldn't get
>worse. She was laid off from her lobbying job at a nonprofit organization
>July 3 and has a 4-year-old son to support. Unable to find another
>full-time position, she has been working as a receptionist or office
>assistant whenever a temporary firm calls.
> ``I don't care how much they pay, just give me a job,'' she said.
>they called me to walk dogs I would do it.''
> Angiolillo has sent out dozens of resumes, often without receiving
>response. Employers that initially show interest end up turning her
>because they think she is overqualified, will demand too much money
>won't stay long.
> ``I miss the '90s,'' Angiolillo said.
> So do a lot of people. The recent string of corporate scandals and
>volatile stock market have made that time of freewheeling prosperity
>distant memory to many workers now jittery about the future of their
> The unemployment rate, now at 5.9 percent, dropped to a 30-year low
>percent in 2000 as the country enjoyed the longest stretch of prosperity
>record. Jobs were relatively easy to find, and many employers had
>compete for workers by boosting salaries and upgrading benefits.
> Between 1995 and 2000 the average income of black and Hispanic families
>grew by 17 percent and 27 percent respectively. For white families,
>by 11 percent. The median family income was $52,321 in 2000, compared
>$46,857 in 1995.
> ``The tight labor markets of the late 1990s brought the first persistent,
>broad-based prosperity in decades,'' said Lawrence Mishel, EPI president
>and an author of the ``Working America'' analysis of Labor Department
> But the pay of corporate executives grew even faster during that
>chief executive last year was paid in one day what an average worker
>in almost a year, according to EPI figures.
> As wages grew during the boom, so did the hours at work, and America
>remains a workaholic nation. The average worker logged 1,877 hours
>- more than any other rich, industrialized country, EPI said. The
>middle-income, two-parent family works 660 more hours per year - 16
>more weeks - than in 1979.
> ``But now with the boom gone bust, American workers are heading back
>economy marred by slow wage growth and no job growth, with wage and
>disparities widening once again,'' Mishel said.
> Employers are under less pressure to keep improving wages and benefits
>attract workers. Hourly wages are growing faster than inflation, but
>acceleration has slowed to the lowest since the beginning of 1995.
>college degree doesn't provide the recession protection it used to.
>group has seen a 1.4 percent rise in unemployment, larger than in
> ``If we are in an economic recovery, it's a jobless recovery at present,''
>said Carl Camden, president and chief operating officer of Kelly Services,
>the temporary employment firm. ``Our two prime concerns about this
>are its fragility and the lack of strong demand for staffing services.''
> Employment demand in health care and financial services has improved,
>however, he said. But economists don't expect hiring spurts until
>economy shows more life, and the unemployment rate could continue
>to as high as 6.5 percent by fall.
>& Co. ``Many young people are going to graduate school, and people
> Times may be rough right now, but analysts expect the job market
>eventually to improve. A shift is likely in the mix of available jobs
> About 23 million new jobs are expected in the next 10 years, the
>business-supported Employment Policy Foundation estimates. Management
>related occupations will account for about 29 percent of the gains.
>Professional jobs will increase by 7.5 million, including 2.5 million
>jobs in mathematics and computer science and 2.1 million new jobs
> ``Other occupations, such as machine operators, precision production
>crafts and secretaries and clerks will most likely see a decrease,''
>Ed Potter, the foundation's president.
> 08/31/02 16:27 EDT