Thursday, June 23, 2011

Meanwhile...

...as the Democrats bomb Yemen and the Republicans continue their war on uteri, jobless claims are up again:
The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits rose last week, suggesting little improvement in the labor market this month after employment stumbled in May.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits climbed 9,000 to a seasonally adjusted 429,000, the Labor Department said on Thursday. Economists had expected claims to come in at 415,000.

..."Again no quick rebound in employment. We're still in the soft patch that we have had for a couple of months now," said Sean Incremona, an economist at 4CAST in New York.
Yeah. A couple months now.
The number of people on emergency unemployment benefits rose 5,728 to 3.30 million in the week ended June 4, the latest week for which data is available. A total of 7.54 million people were claiming unemployment benefits during that period under all programs.
Long-time readers will recall my writing, oh, I dunno, a million times or so in the last seven years about the ubiquitous corporate practice of not filling jobs when people leave and simply redistributing their work among remaining staff, who aren't compensated for the additional duties.

Here's me in Jan. 2006, for example:
This is the big secret behind American productivity going up with fewer workers, especially in small companies: Someone quits, or someone gets fired, and they don't get replaced. Their work gets divided up among the remaining staff, and the extra cash goes in the coffers. Everyone I know at a corporate job complains about how they're part of a skeleton crew—and don't get paid for overtime.

It's a despicable practice, largely ignored in discussions of workers' rights, which is, in itself, an issue that barely gets lipservice even from our allegedly liberal Senators and Reps these days.
Mother Jones' Monika Bauerlein and Clara Jeffery have a great piece [TW for ableist language] this week about that very despicable practice, the "speedup." I highly recommend reading it, because the speedup is a huge part of the underlying reason for our protracted unemployment rate and wage stagnation, as well as the explanation for why productivity and profits keep rising despite high unemployment.

It also underlines why maintaining a functional democracy while selling out the government to corporations who have been granted personhood is impossible.