Headlines for economic news stories tend to conflict and confuse. So let’s play [game show theme]: “Connect-The- Headlines!”
We’ll try to find meaning in three competing headlines from recent news reports. “Back-to-school revenue lousy,” grumped the first one, noting that parents were being all fussbudgety this year about purchasing clothes, backpacks and such for their kids. The August start-of-school season usually is a giant profit-generator for the likes of Walmart and Macy’s, but shoppers (damn them) have been so reluctant to buy that chains are resorting to deep discounts in a desperate effort just to get some customers in the stores.
Headline number two was more upbeat: “Jobless claims at 6-year low.” It seems that fewer people are being fired these days, down by half from the dog days of the Great Recession. Still, that’s more than 300,000 workers per week having to go on the unemployment rolls. Read down below the headline, though, and reality begins to come into focus: Less firing, you see, doesn’t mean more hiring. America’s self-proclaimed “job-creators” aren’t. So the millions of unemployed workers still are.
Then, the third headline brings us full circle: “Many new jobs either low-paying or part-time.” Actually, the proper adjective is not “many,” but “most.” So far this year, 61 percent of those lucky enough to be new hires had to take low-paying jobs, and 77 percent of the new jobs provide only part-time employment. In other words, today’s corporate powers are not creating near enough jobs to meet America’s need, and the jobs they do create are piss poor, leaving people with paychecks that can’t even keep up with today’s historically low inflation.
So, connecting the dots, few jobs and poor pay for America’s workaday majority equals lousy revenue for big retailers.
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