August BLS Report, Labor Day Edition: Table Waiting, Bartending Employment Booming

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By Joe Guzzardi

Joe is a CAPS Senior Writing Fellow whose commentaries about California's social issues have run in newspapers throughout California and the country for nearly 30 years. Contact Joe at joeguzzardi@capsweb.org, or find him on Twitter @joeguzzardi19.

The writer's views are his own.

September 2, 2016

This summer, my granddaughter had a part-time job as a cashier at a large box store retailer. Last month, before she left for college, I told her – kidding on the square – that her cashier’s job may be the best one she’ll ever have even after she earns her diploma.

Luckily for her, she doesn’t follow the gloomy monthly Bureau of Labor Statistics reports. August was another stinker. Last month, the economy created only 151,000 nonfarm payroll, about 30,000 fewer than Wall Street projected, and marks the tenth time in the last 13 months that reality has fallen short of analysts’ expectations. As usual, bars and restaurants gained jobs, 34,000 positions, while mining dropped again, minus 4,000, and better paying jobs in construction, transportation and manufacturing remained flat.

For American workers, will cashiering be as good as it gets?

Speaking of manufacturing, nothing summarizes the consistently bleak labor market better than the March 2016 CNN report which confirmed that since 2000 the United States has lost five million jobs to Mexico. The story’s title said it all: “$75 a day versus $75,000 a year: How We Lost Jobs to Mexico.”

Adding to U.S. workers’ misery, in July, Fiat Chrysler confirmed that within a year, it would only manufacture Jeep SUVs and Ram pickups in the U.S. Fiat Chrysler’s other domestic operations will likely shift to Mexico. So many automakers have moved to Mexico that a labor shortage has surfaced south of the border, and will intensify as the corporate giants project spending $15.8 billion for streamlining (read: automation). Some factories, according to the The Wall Street Journal, are so desperate to lure recruits that they promise cowboy boots to sign on.

Meanwhile, recently back home in America at Volkswagen, more than 230,000 workers applied for some 4,200 jobs. Despite the continuously lousy job market, President Obama would love to give struggling American workers one more kick in the pants before he leaves office. Obama will press Congress to pass the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the 12-nation pact that will give international workers greater flexibility to come to the U.S. on L-1 or tourist visas to displace American workers. The Economic Policy Institute published an in-depth analysis of how harmful TPP would be for U.S. workers whose wages have been flat for years.

Please go to Californians for Population Stabilization’s Action Alert page here and tell Congress to oppose TPP and the immigration increases it includes.

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