The economy remains the number one consideration for the electorate. As election night beckons the recent job report for October 2016 shows favorable gains again for the 73rd month in a row. This promising report many believe gives some push towards the incumbent’s party for a victory for the democratic candidate. But given the strangeness of this election cycle, these presumptions are no longer a telltale sign one way or another.
Unfortunately, with the wealth of banter at the last hour of the election surrounding everything but the economy, we are forced to dig-deep in order to remain positive about our presidential hopefuls. The contestants for the world’s most powerful position seem to be focused on the legality of the opposing candidates past actions more than the future of our nation. Lost in a world of diversionary tactics with little thought for the better good or future of our country, we cry out for understanding. If the candidates would keep their heads focused on the main goal of job creation, the winner is without a doubt going to be the American people.
With this most recent job report there is a mix of hope and healthy skepticism. Many Americans still find it difficult to make ends meet; many times both husband and wife are working, many times part-time jobs that pay at or slightly above minimum wage. Some single parents are working two or three jobs; these may be part-time positions without health benefits. More than ever, a previously well-off class is at danger of losing everything they have worked their entire lives due to underinsurance of no medical insurance. The days of yesteryear where a high school or trade school graduate could find a factory or civil service job at union wages and full benefits, seem to be gone forever for many in America. We ask ourselves, did our corporations and politicians abandon us?
Many of the new jobs created over the last 8 years or so since the Great Recession have been in the service and food sectors offering little hope of a real living wage and benefit package that were so prevalent in the 70s and 80s.
The more generous paying new jobs in the medical and technology fields are very specialized positions requiring highly skilled and developed individuals with substantial qualifications and years of school, focused learning and licensing. These fields are indeed having a struggle finding enough qualified candidates.
Even after a season of 73 months of increase, the truth of the matter is overall economic growth remains measured and modest by all accounts. More and more Americans ability to empower long-term job security and advancement is still substantially restraining and eliminating the middle-class. Many are fighting to maintain their strata level and working harder than ever to continue a downward slide.
As many as 53,000 manufacturing and almost 11,000 mining industry jobs have been eliminated in the last year. Even though there is an effort underway to regain American manufacturing jobs, the truth of the matter is cheap labor in Asian countries will continue to make this difficult at best.
With the consensus of nations agreeing that climate change is a continuously evolving and menacing foe, the coal industry will be forced to give way to clean energy technology. As innovative and game-changing technologies that are currently in development become reality, dirty forms of energy production may be displaced altogether almost overnight in the perfection of one single groundbreaking technological development such as cold fusion.
The fact that the job participation rate still hovers in the 63 percent range is an additional reason for concern. We continue to see an incredible 37 percent of an otherwise viable workforce giving up at gainful employment hopes.
Many laid-off individuals in their 50s and 60s have been aged-out by younger workers even if new jobs become available in many previously vibrant sectors. Factory workers are at the top of this list. With little opportunity, the incentive for this group to get back in the job market continues to wane. This group tends to get-by on savings, limited retirements (with no cost of living increases or medical benefits) disability payments and financial help from family members. More and more Americans are forced to group-up together relatives or friends households simply to survive; much like families in third world countries.
Politics and the economy have forever been inextricably linked. Our next president will have a tremendous task at hand developing new job growth and retraining those from displaced sectors. These manufacturing and other sector jobs will need to provide livable wages and medical benefits while considering environmental factors in the face of global climate change. We can do this together, moving forward beyond the blaming and character assassination of this most recent political cycle and all work together in a spirit of harmony and respect for each other while remembering the need to create new employment and opportunities for our populous.