Tuesday, September 2, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Taking a Pay Cut

Jobs are out there, but nearly half the workers who lost, then found, work in the last year had to take a pay cut, according to a new survey. What is this doing to the American dream?

Taking a Pay Cut

A year ago, when the recession was just settling in, about two-thirds of the people who would lose a job could count on finding another one in less than 14 weeks. About half of those folks would find a job in less than five weeks. Even as bad as it is now, more than half of the job seekers (56.5 percent) will find work in less than 14 weeks, according to the U.S. Labor Department's most recent report. That's even though one in four workers will be out of work more than 27 weeks.

I guess that's the good news. But the jobs come at a price -- a price to them, and really a price to our society.     

Nearly half of the people who lost and found jobs in the last year took a pay cut, according to a survey by Careerbuilders.com, an online job site. Only 15 percent managed to snag a raise. The survey, conducted in February and March, also found that men had an easier time finding full time employment. Best off were workers aged 35 to 44 -- 68 percent of them were able to find jobs. Hardest hit were the youngest, aged 18 to 24, who fared worse than workers age 55 or older.

Here's what really stinks, as far as I'm concerned. People just can't get work that pays them what they once earned and that fits their talents. I met a man at the Philadelphia Free Library's job fair today who is an unemployed dental technician. Last time he had a full time job in his field was 2007. We all have teeth, right?  (Well, maybe we have fewer and fewer as we get older!). So why can't this man get work? Now he works part time with the city in a recreation center, and he's not checking teeth or working with dentures, not at the playground. He came to the library hoping to find a second job. "You have to take a pay cut to just get any kind of job," he said. I'm not sure what the answer is here, but this man is in no position to stimulate the economy, not when he's scraping by on part time pay.  

What do you make of this? It seems that at the end of this convulsion, nobody will be making a decent living, or am I just depressed by seeing 1,000 job seekers show up to talk to 20 employers? 

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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