Relating to what I wrote yesterday about the Right and much of the media being largely blind to the existence of those of us on low and middle incomes, here’s an interesting piece from the New York Times:
The folks in the upper-income group are not suffering much, if at all, from the profound reversals in employment brought about by the Great Recession. Those in the middle have been hit hard. The job losses there have been severe and long-lasting. But for those in the lower-income groups, the scale of the employment crisis has been mind-boggling.
What you’re not hearing from the politicians and the talking heads is that the joblessness and underemployment in America’s low-income households rival their heights in the Great Depression of the 1930s â€” and in some instances are worse. The same holds true for some categories of blue-collar workers. Anyone who thinks this devastating problem is going away soon, or that the economy can be put back on track without addressing it, is deluded…
…The highest group, with household incomes of $150,000 or more, had an unemployment rate during that quarter of 3.2 percent. The next highest, with incomes of $100,000 to 149,999, had an unemployment rate of 4 percent.
Contrast those figures with the unemployment rate of the lowest group, which had annual household incomes of $12,499 or less. The unemployment rate of that group during the fourth quarter of last year was a staggering 30.8 percent. That’s more than five points higher than the overall jobless rate at the height of the Depression.
The next lowest group, with incomes of $12,500 to $20,000, had an unemployment rate of 19.1 percent.
We don’t have that kind of information on unemployment in NZ but most of the job losses have been in blue collar industries – manufacturing, construction, and retail. We also know that Maori unemployment has risen 5.6% to 15.4% compared to a 1.4% rise to 4.6% for Pakeha. Those who bear the brunt of recession are already largely invisible in the media and to the government. So, their plight is largely ignored.