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Multiple Jobholders Can’t Make Ends Meet

Clyde Wilson  1995  Published in: Social Trends Newsletters, Oct. 1995, No. 140  

A new Labor Department survey reports a growing trend of multiple jobholders in the work force. Today, 7 million Americans, 6 percent of the work force, occupy 15 million jobs. Although single mothers and divorcees are among the total, most of the multiple jobholders are married, holding down more than one job to make ends meet.

No other country (developed) approaches the United States, says Richard Freeman, a Harvard labor economist. In most other developed and industrial nations, wages from one job are sufficient. You would have thought that as women entered the work force, that would have been enough additional income, and dual jobholding would have declined, but the opposite has happened. “Women going to work (out of necessity) have not brought in enough income,” Freeman said.

Freeman states that since 1970, 80 percent of the nation’s households have failed to gain ground after their incomes — mostly in wages — were adjusted for inflation, etc.

Here is a country that has over a $6 trillion Gross Domestic Product, can produce more goods and services than the American people can possibly consume (stores and shelves filled to the brim), yet with all its industrial and technological capacity, this nation still clings to an obsolete economic system that cannot distribute what it produces to all of the American people. What good is all of this so-called “technological advancement and progress” if the American people have to work at so many jobs and so many hours just to make ends meet. How long must we wait before the country redirects its priorities toward where the people can receive the benefits and the fruits of this technology and, for a change, have more leisure time to enjoy living.

 

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