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Career in Government? It Pays More…

A recent survey by USA Today shows that in a number of occupations which exist both in the Government and commercial world – “the Government pays better”. That is not actually always true – but it makes good press.

Might be a real good idea for those aspiring college graduates to get a resume into the Government to pursue a career as a G-man or G-woman.

The key to this though, isn’t that the Federal Government pay scale has gone whacky. There are two factors contributing to the differential.

First is the age of the average Federal Government worker.

In the United States, for example, 60 percent of the federal civil service is older than 45 years – nearly double the 31 percent in the private sector. Furthermore, only 3 percent of the federal workforce is less than 25 years old.

In the Federal Government’s pay system, additional pay is given for each year of seniority in a position. So, a person who is new to a job makes less than someone with 10 years experience at the same job. The impact of an older workforce is to artificially push up the average salaries.

Second, is how commercial corporations have reduced their payroll by eliminating older workers – pushing down the average age of the workforce, while lowering expense due to salaries. This sort of age discrimination is fairly rampant – and has resulted in a massive real income loss for the average American Family. Where it gets truly ugly is the fact that this strategy has forced perhaps as many as 5 million older American workers into unemployment, or under-employment in what should have been their prime earning years – socking away a large portion of their retirement funds. In combination with the massive losses Wall Street has inflicted on pension and retirement plans – this means that the cost of this generation nearing retirement has been pushed off onto the Government, as massive numbers of people will be dependent on Social Security as their only income.

Ergo – the “shinola” is about to hit the fan.

 
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Posted by on March 8, 2010 in You Know It's Bad When...

 

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The New Jim (Recession) Crow – Older Educated Black Workers Hit Hardest

Unemployment in America is increasingly becoming targeted towards older, more experienced workers – with the people with skills being the first to lose their jobs, and the last hired. When you add the New Jim Crow to that, it has a disproportional impact on black Americans.

Recession hits older blacks in what should be their prime

America’s economic recession has hit African Americans who are middle age and older much harder over the last year than it has the general public, according to a new survey released Tuesday by the AARP.

In telephone surveys, more than twice as many African Americans ages 45 and older reported having trouble paying their mortgage or rent, having to cut back on medications and having borrowed money to pay living expenses in comparison to the general population.

Twice as many blacks also reported losing a job and having a spouse who either lost a job or had to take a second job. Nearly twice as many blacks had difficulty paying for essential items such as food and utilities.

These older, established black workers also lost their job-based health coverage at higher rates, were more likely to raid their retirement savings prematurely and provide financial help to their parents and children more often than their age-equivalent peers, the survey found.

The data reinforces what many experts have said for months: that the recession is really a depression for many blacks, particularly in areas where black unemployment has surpassed or hovers around 20 percent.

AARP Vice President Edna Kane-Williams said the disparities reflect the tough circumstances and tough choices blacks are making to survive the economic downturn.

“The recession has driven many African Americans to make hard choices now that may lead to serious problems down the road,” Kane-Williams said. “Raiding your nest egg or ending contributions, even in the short-term, will have long-term consequences because you will have less time to make up the losses.”

The troubling findings paint a gloomy financial picture for African-American workers during what should be some of their prime earning years, said Algernon Austin, who heads the Race, Ethnicity, and the Economy program at the Economic Policy Institute.

The data also bodes ill for the future of these workers, Austin said, since many are using their retirement savings to pay for living expenses, health care and education costs and to support adult children.

“These findings suggest we shouldn’t be surprised if we see increases in poverty rates for blacks 65 and older in the coming years because a number of them are spending down their retirement income to try to get past this Great Recession,” he said.

Equally troubling is that older blacks aren’t consulting financial planners or using the Internet for financial assistance at the same rates as their non-black peers. Instead, they’re relying more on financial advice from friends and family members.

The survey did find that blacks were more likely to be training for a job in a new field, looking for a job and taking part in job fairs.

Nationally, the black unemployment rate is 16.5 percent, compared with 9.7 percent for the nation as a whole. The jobless rate is 8.7 percent for whites, 12.6 percent for Hispanics and 8.4 percent for Asians.

“I would have no problem saying (blacks are) in a depression,” Austin said. “There are different technical definitions and debates about what is or isn’t a depression, but to me, when you have unemployment close to 20 percent or above, the community is economically depressed.”

The AARP survey was conducted by phone in January and involved a national random sample of 1,407 respondents, of which 405 were black. The margin of error is 3.1 percentage points for the non-black respondents and 4.9 percentage points for the African-American sample group.

 
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Posted by on March 2, 2010 in The New Jim Crow

 

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