US poverty rises: a focus on “good jobs” is needed

US poverty has risen from 46.2 million in 2011 to 46.5 million in 2012 and is at 15% of the population. Poverty in 2012 was defined as a family income of $23,494 for a family of four. Clearly, the bottom of the pyramid in the US is growing and is not enjoying the benefits of the stock market boom simply because they do not own shares to begin with. Since the recession, a disturbing trend is that many in the suburbs have become poor. A focus on what Jim Clifton of Gallup calls "Good jobs" is needed. Something that Ben and Sue Harback of Illinois need after coming down in family income from $150,000 to $ 30,000 according to the NBC video above. Ben Harback is packing ties in his new job which gives great value to his employer but deprives a less educated poorer worker who might have done the job , before the recession.

While poverty is at 15%,unemployment among the poor is estimated at 21%, which is at the level of average unemployment during the 1930's depression. The underemployment among the poor is a staggering 40%. And the situation is not expected to improve in the short term given that the poor are less educated, there is more competition for low skilled jobs from folks who have some college and are willing to do jobs that did not require college earlier. For example, you will find middle aged college educated folks working at McDonald,retail and factory (as the above video shows)  simply because the jobs they held before the great recession simply disappeared to either overseas outsourcing or to younger cheaper qualified  domestic workers. 

The trouble is that such recession  hit  middle aged folks, displace younger workers who have some high school, who can actually do the factory labor or food service minimum wage job fairly well. These younger folks who do not have a college education or trade skills are now poor and in danger of becoming a permanent underclass in the US,  forever unfit for the "knowledge" economy.

Perhaps it is time to sharply focus on:  at risk poorer high school students, so that they can pick up appropriate trade and technology skills for "good jobs" in the new knowledge economy.Contact StratoServe.

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