President Donald Trump’s promise to the American people is that he will make the country great again. His whole platform was “Jobs! Jobs! Jobs!” Trump often stated that during his presidency, he will bring hundreds of billions of dollars back to the United States which will then equate to creating jobs. The unemployment rate in America is between 4 and 5% which many of the economists consider full employment. The United States had a record of 75 months of straight job growth under the Obama Administration. The poverty rate has decreased over the years in our country from 19% in 1964 to 13.5% in 2015 according to the Census Bureau. All signs point to the fact that the work force has only improved over the years.
The million dollar question is, why do American workers feel worse off? Also, why does lamenting the state of work seem right? In the last half century, the economic, political and social changes have changed not only the makeup of the workforce but also what it takes to get a job and support themselves. The workforce has changed completely over the years. Industries that were once dominant, such as manufacturing which was a job that paid well without a college degree, have been taken over by service sector jobs that are now low paying. At the same time, knowledge-based jobs that exclude lower skilled workers are continuing to grow. The cost of getting a college degree is up more than 1000% since 1978. The current generation is getting piled with more student loan debt and despite being more educated, they earned 20% less in the year 2013 than the older generation at their age in 1989.
Millions of American workers in the year 2017 are working consistently long hours each day with their paychecks not matching the hard work that has provided to employers. The decades of stagnant wages mean both parents must often work to make ends meet for their family. America’s work structure doesn’t work with many realities of American life. A major fear for Americans is that the demands of work mean they don’t spend enough time bonding with their children, connecting with their spouses, or having time to themselves. Many people that work are emotionally and financially drained from juggling the health costs of aging parents and childcare needs of growing families. Americans are always arranging and rearranging the puzzle pieces of work, family and leisure time making sure they all fit. In reality, it doesn’t always work out because people spend ridiculous hours in order to financially support themselves and their families. For the working parents, finding and paying for childcare can be a painful process. One in three parents says it’s difficult to find childcare and once they do find it, costs for it become a burden to keep up especially after factoring household expenses.
The people of this country are basically scrambling with working one, sometimes two, or even three, jobs to satisfy the needs of their families on top of themselves. Donald Trump claims he wants to help the American people with creating more jobs and opportunity, but he is actually doing the opposite. More people who go to school and get a degree are finding themselves settling for low paying jobs because the demand for their desired jobs is too high for them to obtain. Our focus needs to shift away from creating jobs and we need to focus on growing at the jobs we already currently have, What good is having 3 mediocre jobs and no free time when we could have 1 stable job?