The newest unemployment data revealed a mere 88,000 jobs were added last month, and some economists have reassured that this number will likely increase. After a 236,000 job spike in February, however, the outlook is less than stellar.
Perhaps what is more troubling about this news comes in the finer print of the economic recovery. Fifty-eight percent of the jobs that have "come back" to America following the Great Recession have been low-wage positions, according to National Employment Law Project. This news comes alongside the declining trend of median household income, a significant indicator of the middle class, which has fallen $4,000 since 2000.
In an all-too-familiar grill session for Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) questions, do you believe we can have our middle class grow when economic growth is funneling to the already wealthy? The response: This has been a trend that's been going on for 35 years!
Of the new jobs created in the current recovery, we know a majority are low-paying. How low? The median wage for these new jobs comes in at a marveling $13.83 per hour. President Obama may want to re-think this economic reality as he proposes a budget that has some questioning whether the guy is even still a liberal.
As a quick side note, Obama ran a campaign promising not huge change but simply on the stance that he stood for economic growth, not austerity. And his message was overwhelmingly supported by the sovereign people of this county; he won by a landslide 126 electoral votes. His latest political debacle of caving to Republicans is yet further evidence that even those who support him have a hard time believing him.
Back to the middle class, or lack-thereof. The recovery seems to have signaled a paradigmatic shift in the way we think about the economy. Medium-skill, medium wage jobs just don't really exist anymore. Like Bernanke stated, globalization has taken the economy by storm; the middle class jobs didn't just disappear out of thin air, they spread out over the world. The effects of globalization are only now seen to be wreaking havoc on America. The middle class in America isn't just disappearing, its been gone for a long time coming.
Let's do a little math here. The number of jobs being added throughout the recovery is meager at best, and March's numbers fail to even hit those low expectations. Tack on that the fact that most jobs are low wage jobs, getting less than $15 per hour. What do you get from that? Admittedly I'm not a mathematician, but the outlook for the steady middle class just does not appear bright.
All in all, one thing is clear: the new economy we're moving into might be a lot worse than the one we had before.