Thursday, September 18, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Eagles and manufacturing

The last set of numbers that came out from the U.S. Labor Department profoundly depressed me. I really don't see how the economy is going to emerge from this mess. Besides the big number of 263,000 jobs lost and an unemployment rate of 9.8 percent, it was the many, many less-publicized numbers that disheartened me as much. Weekly wages declined by $1.54. No one is making any money anyway. Overtime hours are down. The work week is now down to 33 hours, the lowest in a long time.

Eagles and manufacturing

The last set of numbers that came out from the U.S. Labor Department profoundly depressed me. I really don't see how the economy is going to emerge from this mess. Besides the big number of 263,000 jobs lost and an unemployment rate of 9.8 percent, it was the many, many less-publicized numbers that disheartened me as much.  Weekly wages declined by $1.54. No one is making any money anyway. Overtime hours are down. The work week is now down to 33 hours, the lowest in a long time. The manufacturing workweek declined as well, after a couple of months of growth. My contacts in the temporary staffing industry and in recruiting tell me they are seeing a pick-up. And yes, the numbers indicate a pathetic growth of 800 jobs in "employment services." Yet temporary help jobs are still declining -- by 1,700 jobs.  Nothing will move until those numbers move.

And frankly, why should they move? We aren't making anything, ergo, there's little for the service industry to serve. A knowledge economy? Hmmm. Again, what endeavors require knowledge? Tonight there's a town hall meeting on manufacturing at Lincoln Financial Field that addresses the topic. The organizer is the Alliance for American Manufacturing and besides the executive director of the organization, the speakers include Sen. Bob Casey and the head of a manufacturing company. The Alliance also includes labor unions, including United Steelworkers -- unions, like many, who are interested in a strong manufacturing sector.

Maybe there will be some answers there, although I'm not sure exactly what Eagle Jeremiah Trotter or former Eagle Vincent Papale, both on the lineup for tonight, will add to the debate.

If nothing else, the price is right. It's free, the parking is free and the event includes a tour of the Lincoln Financial Field. Refreshments available. Time is 6 p.m. on the clubhouse level.    

Finally, my apologies for the break in the blog. I had a combination of a couple of short vacations, taking kids off to college, adjusting to them being gone and some out-of-town assignments, but you can expect more faithful blogging going forward.

About this blog

Jobbing covers the workplace – employment, unemployment, management, unions, legal issues, labor economics, benefits, work-life balance, workforce development, trends and profiles.

Jane M. Von Bergen writes about workplace issues for the Inquirer.

Married to a photographer she met at her college newspaper, Von Bergen has been a reporter since fourth grade, covering education, government, retailing, courts, marketing and business. “I love the specific detail that tells the story,” she says.

Reach Jane M. at jvonbergen@phillynews.com.

Jane M. Von Bergen Inquirer Staff Writer
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