Unemployment DOESN’T Tell The FULL Economic Story – Underemployment Does

If you reside in a democratic country, chances are you are subject to elections filled with candidates who spew nothing but positive half-truths, along with hyperbolic negativity about their candidates positions. If there is ONE topic that is SURE to elicit both kinds of BS, it’s when politicians begin rambling on about the economy and start to correlate unemployment numbers as a TRUE reflection of society either being on a GLORIOUS up swing or a massively depressing spiral. The problem with this thinking is that the unemployment rate is studied so acutely, it leaves no room to talk about a fast-growing yet largely ignored sector of our society: The Working Poor.

The quick and easy association we make about people living in poverty is joblessness, but in countries like Canada, America, Italy, Spain & Ireland, a large part of the people in poverty actually ARE employed, and therefore count towards the employment rate. This means when members of a poverty-stricken household get a minimum wage job at Burger King, the party in office can boast and brag that they have cut the unemployment rate [which is technically true], but the REAL LIFE problem those people face is the fact that minimum wage at BK isn’t providing them with a sufficient working wage or even enough money to save or invest in anything other than their daily survival.

Many first world nations are experiencing a SHARP-decline in middle-class jobs, but an increased demand of low-paying jobs. Couple that with the fact that we are now currently in an “Employers market” where it’s harder to find fair and equal pay commensurate with your education and experience, and you have a whole nation of people WITH jobs, who are not being compensated nearly as much as they NEED to be in order to be considered ACTUAL economic-success stories. There are young lawyers, architects, and MBA-having young business professionals who are entering the workforce with one of two scary-ass options: 1) Be unemployed and unable to pay down your student debt while you search for a proper paying job which may never come anytime soon, or 2) Take the job that underpays you just to keep the lights onand it would SHOCK many of you to learn how many people choose option 2.

I understand that there are various ways at measuring WHO belongs in the working poor, but if there’s one thing we ALL should be able to agree on, it’s that the job market is NOT nearly as robust as it NEEDS to be in order to provide more stability for families a missed-check away from abject poverty.

This Is Your Conscience

Lincoln Anthony Blades can be found on Twitter at @LincolnABlades and on Instagram at @ThisIsYourConscience