Smarmy Alligator

Politics, pop culture, and self-deprecation

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Alright, record job growth is a good thing. Employment statistics, though, always seem so oddly calculated, and I often wonder what statements like “308,000 jobs created in March” mean. If the vast majority of those jobs created are low-paying jobs in retail, new job creation means crap to me. If the unemployment rate drops because people stop actively seeking work, well, that also means crap to me.

See, technically, I am gainfully employed. I work an average of 33 hours a week–full time. I bring home a regular (albeit wimpy) paycheck. And despite monthly struggles to pay rent, I actually live above the poverty line. But I didn’t move to Boston intending to be a waitress. This isn’t a career. I don’t feel gainfully employed. In fact, I have spent the past year looking for a job, and only recently decided that it was too demoralizing to continue.

There are too many people in my position. People with years of education, people who have had careers, people with families to feed and clothe and shelter and whatnot. You can’t take a job making minimum wage and expect to successfully support your family. Sometimes you can’t even expect to successfully support yourself. Yet, taking the minimum wage job that doesn’t even feel like a job automatically increases the number of gainfully employed citizens in the statistical ranks, and decreases the unemployment rate.

So I was curious, reading about these 308,000 new jobs, what exactly those jobs entailed. This website answered that question quite well. And while retail-oriented service jobs were not the vast majority of new jobs created, I am still feeling bewildered and frustrated by how these statistics are created and manipulated in the electoral political process.

Sigh. At least I live above the poverty line.


Written by laura k

April 2, 2004 at 7:26 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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