Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Middle Class Decay: The Service Class

In my last post I commented and constructed a very brief analysis on NYTimes writer David Leonhardt article "The Agenda." His piece was meant to research and quantify what has lead to the middle class decline; in great depth he researches and performs comparative analysis on recessions in the United States through past decades as well as their perspective recoveries. Though what is unique about the most current recession is there has been little or no growth in the middle class sector, this I feel can be suggestive depending on the evidence provided.

My interpretation of the issue (middle class decay) is that the new middle class has become what I call "the service class," because a boost in manufacturing was the original method of recovery for the middle class during previous recessions, and also the key form of sustainability for the middle class as long as the United States was a key exporter. Though concepts like outsourcing and off-shoring have removed the manufacturing element from the United States almost entirely (partially due to the role reversal as a key importer rather than exporter), this is not breaking news to just about anyone by any means, though this metamorphosis of a manufacturing middle class to a service lower-middle class is quite a distinct, and perhaps mortifying, adaptation to the globalizing economy.

In this post will I discuss the service class, one of the most identifiable aspects of middle class decay and outsourcing/off-shoring.

Interestingly enough, unemployment rests at 8.3 percent (according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statstics) as of July 2012 and yet Americans are still struggling to adjust to the costs of inflation, why is this?

According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics "Employment Situation Report" for July 2012:

"The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to asinvoluntary part-time workers) was essentially unchanged at 8.2 million in July. Theseindividuals were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job."

Though unemployment percentages are at better ratios, the reality is that people are still having trouble making ends meet due to only being able obtaining part-time jobs or having labor hours cut back. These figures are current summer data, this implies seasonal summer labor into the mixture, during "colder" times there will be less part-time employment available and hours could be cut back further.

This, again, is partially due to our reversal of fortune being the key importing power rather than exporter, this has its own weight in the global economy though this also bears a most unique significance in that the middle class and the lower-middle class become blurred together and since the United States produces compartively insignificant amounts, this is due to labor laws ensuring fairer labor practices (to be discussed later), therefore we have one other option, sell what we import (or little that we actually produce). By this point the national market is at mercy of the fickle supply and demand fluctuations.

Simply put, if people do not desire it, it will not be shipped, if it doesn't get shipped it's not in stock, and therefore won't be sold. If there isn't an item to be sold, that means less people to sell it, in otherwords less jobs (full or part time alike). The service class systems' primary means of expansion relies on growth via leadership opportunities, there is not necessarily need for education whereas experience can and will suffice. This can suggest that because the service industry requires less education that these standards may be reflected nationally based on global economic demand.

One can surmise that most teens or uneducated persons work at either Wal-Mart, Home Depo, or smaller retailers as either associates, cashiers, or sales clerks. This generally does not require more than a high school diploma, and often a place for people that do not have more than a Bachelor's Degree potentially leaving the Associates degree as a superfluous debt or stepping stone at most.

And "declining unemployment rates" are supposed to be reassuring.

Thanks for reading and I feel now, in retrospect, that it would be more appropriate to examine the labor law structure globally at a later time; for instance subcontractors with clothing outlettors (which I will go into greater detail during future posts). Also, I would like to address how, I feel, education has "gone through inflation" as well in future posts.

Employment Situation Summary Link for July 2012:

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