Technological Unemployment and Restoring the American Middle Class

We are about to embark on another quest to select a leader of the free world. Candidates are announcing their candidacy. Issues are being defined. One issue we will hear a lot about in the months ahead is how we restore the middle class. Indeed: How we restore the American Dream.

This is not the 80s, or the 90s. We are a technologically dependent society with no way to turn back the clock. I don’t believe we can hope to understand what it might take to restore the middle class in America without a thorough understanding of Technological Unemployment, and I don’t believe we can hope to understand Technological Unemployment with the data and the statistics we now use to define employment in the the US.

Why, in 2015, are we reliant upon incomplete, inaccurate, and insufficient survey data on the number of people we have working and employed in the USA?

Do we really have to live with surveys, and statistics that are frequently revised when we obviously have the technology to know tomorrow how many people were employed yesterday?

I know how politicians love to talk about the jobs they have created, and fully understand why they may be reluctant to have the guesswork taken out of the debate over employment in America. We should have  reliable, timely, detailed information available on jobs, wages and employment.

Jim Clifton of the Gallup organization recently called the unemployment statistic our government touts  a “Big Lie“.  Clifton points out a number of areas which illustrate how our reliance, and focus on this statistic is misleading:

  • The number of people who have opted to dropout of the workforce and no longer seek employment is growing.

“Right now, as many as 30 million Americans are either out of work or severely underemployed. Trust me, the vast majority of them aren’t throwing parties to toast “falling” unemployment.”
Jim Clifton, Gallup –  “The Big Lie: 5.6% Unemployment

  • People who take an odd job for even a few dollars, or take a part-time job are counted as employed.
  •  The number of “good jobs” in America is shrinking.

“Right now, the U.S. is delivering at a staggeringly low rate of 44%, which is the number of full-time jobs as a percent of the adult population, 18 years and older. We need that to be 50% and a bare minimum of 10 million new, good jobs to replenish America’s middle class.”
The Big Lie: 5.6% Unemployment

Jim Clifton is right. It’s time we cut through the rhetoric about the decline of the Middle Class, and restoring the American Dream. The “Big Lie” won’t cut it in 2015. Let’s move the employment/jobs discussion out of the realm of speculation, and into the 21st century.

It’s time to establish a baseline for the arithmetic of Technological Unemployment and the restoration of the middle class in America.




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