10 Perspectives Into The Slow, Agonizing Death Of The American Worker

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Michael Snyder of The Economic Collapse blog,

The middle class American worker is in danger of becoming an endangered species.  The politicians are not telling you the truth, and the mainstream media is certainly not telling you the truth, but the reality is that there is nothing but bad news on the horizon for workers in the United States.  In the old days, when the big corporations that dominate our society did well, that also meant good things for American workers since those corporations would need more of us to work for them.  But in the emerging one world economic system that our economy is being merged into, those corporations have other choices now.

For instance, the big corporations can now choose to limit the number of "expensive" American workers that they employ by shipping millions of jobs to the other side of the world.  And from their perspective, it makes perfect sense.  They can make much bigger profits by hiring people on the other side of the planet to work for them for less than a dollar an hour.  If they can get good production out of those people, then why should they hire Americans for ten to twenty times as much, plus have to give those Americans health insurance and other benefits? 

Another major factor in the slow, agonizing death of the American worker is technology.  We live during a period when technology is advancing at a pace that is almost unimaginable at the same time that it is steadily becoming cheaper and cheaper.  That means that it is going to become easier and easier for companies to replace workers with robots and computers.  As I have written about previously, it is being projected that our economy will lose millions of jobs to technology in the coming years.  Yes, some of us will still be needed to help build the robots and the computers, but not all of us will.  And of course the overall general weakness of the economy is not helping matters either. 

The American people inherited the greatest economic machine in the history of the world, and we have wrecked it.  Decades of very foolish decisions have resulted in the period of steady economic decline that we are experiencing now.

America is simply not the economic powerhouse that it once was.  Back in 2001, the U.S. economy accounted for 31.8 percent of global GDP.  By 2011, the U.S. economy only accounted for 21.6 percent of global GDP.  That is a collapse any way that you want to look at it.

Today, American workers are living in an economy that is rapidly declining, and their jobs are steadily being stolen by robots, computers and foreign workers that live in countries where it is legal to pay slave labor wages.  Politicians from both political parties refuse to do anything to stop the bleeding because they think that the status quo is working just great.

So don't expect things to get better any time soon.

The following are 10 amazing charts that demonstrate the slow, agonizing death of the American worker...

#1 Wages And Salaries As A Percentage Of GDP

Wages And Salaries As A Percentage Of GDP

As you can see, wages as a percentage of GDP are hovering near an all-time record low.  That means that American workers are bringing home a smaller share of the economic pie than ever before.

#2 Average Annual Hours Worked Per Employed Person In The United States

Average Annual Hours Worked per Employed Person in the United States

We are an economy that is rapidly trading good paying full-time jobs for low paying part-time jobs.  The decline in average annual hours worked that we have witnessed represents the equivalent of losing millions of jobs.  There has been an explosion of "the working poor" in the United States, and this trend is probably only going to accelerate in the years to come.

#3 Manufacturing Employment

Manufacturing Employment

As you can see, there are less Americans working in manufacturing today than there was in 1950 even though the population of the country has more than doubled since then.  The United States has lost more than 56,000 manufacturing facilities since 2001, and yet our politicians stand around and do nothing about it.

#4 Employment-Population Ratio

Employment-Population Ratio 2013

This is one of my favorite charts.  It shows that there has been absolutely no employment recovery at all since the end of the last recession.  The percentage of working age Americans that have a job has stayed under 59 percent for 44 months in a row.  How much worse will things get when the next major economic downturn strikes?

#5 Labor Force Participation Rate

Labor Force Participation Rate

This is how the Obama administration is getting the "unemployment rate" to magically go down.  They are pretending that millions upon millions of Americans simply do not want to work anymore.  As you will notice, the decline of the labor force participation rate has accelerated greatly since Barack Obama entered the White House.

#6 Duration Of Unemployment

Duration Of Unemployment

The average amount of time that it takes an unemployed worker to find a new job has declined slightly, but it is still far above normal historical levels.  It is a crying shame that it takes the average unemployed worker two-thirds of a year to find a new job, but this is the new economic reality that we are all living in.

#7 Delinquency Rate On Residential Mortgages

Delinquency Rate On Residential Mortgages

Since there are not enough jobs for all of us, and since our wages are not rising as rapidly as the cost of living is, a whole bunch of us are falling behind on our mortgages.  As you can see, the mortgage delinquency rate has only dropped slightly and is still way, way above typical levels.

#8 New Homes Sold

New Homes Sold

American workers also don't have enough money to go out and buy new homes either.  Yes, new home sales have rebounded slightly this year, but we are nowhere near where we used to be.

#9 Consumer Credit

Consumer Credit

Millions of American families continue to resort to going into debt in a desperate attempt to make ends meet.  After a slight interruption during the last recession, consumer credit once again is growing at a frightening pace.

#10 Self-Employment At A Record Low

Self-Employed As A Share Of Non-Farm Employment

Since there aren't enough jobs for everyone, why aren't more Americans trying to start their own businesses?  Well, the reality of the matter is that the government has made it exceedingly difficult to start your own business today.  Taxes, rules, regulations and red tape are choking the life out of millions of small businesses in the United States.  As a result, the percentage of self-employed Americans is at a record low.

As all of these long-term trends continue, the middle class will continue to shrink, poverty in America will continue to explode and government dependence will continue to rise.

The numbers don't lie.  Today, the number of Americans on Social Security Disability now exceeds the entire population of Greece, and the number of Americans on food stamps now exceeds the entire population of Spain.

We are in the midst of a horrifying economic collapse, and the next major wave of that collapse is rapidly approaching.

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Joe Davola's picture

Not sure if it was slow or agonizing, but apparently meeting up with Kai from Dogtown in Times Square then having butsecs can lead to death also.

SafelyGraze's picture

these charts are *positive*, not negative!

for example, chart 1 shows that with the increasingly successful role of finance in the GDP, wages and salaries don't have to do so much of the heavy lifting.

chart 2 shows that workers are more efficient and are taking more time off to enjoy travel and music and talking with friends.

chart 3 shows that at long last we have relegated the boring and repetitive manufacturing jobs to others, so that we can engage in more information-oriented work.

charts 4, 5, and 6 are the most positive ones of all. it shows that the long-sought goals of leisure and retirement are being enjoyed by more americans than ever before, which means that fewer people need jobs.

charts 7 and 8 show that homeowners have so much confidence in their financial resources that they no longer feel obligated to pay mortgages on time. the added fees for late payment are no problem for most homeowners, which further boosts the financial sector. and with so many homeowners, fewer people are buying houses.

chart 9 shows this same confidence. americans are buying everything in sight, knowing they can always pay later.

chart 10 is fantastic. it demonstrates that companies are hiring so many people that practically no one needs to be self employed any more.

all in all, these charts show that the green shoots in the economy have matured into a lush forest.



Bollixed's picture

Did you just have sex with MDB?

trembo slice's picture

I laughed too soon.  MDB usually has me all pissed off, until I see it is MDB.

Van Halen's picture

What MSNBC article/White House Talking Points Memo/Office of Nancy Pelosi For Immediate Release/Democratic Underground fax did you copy/paste this from?

SafelyGraze's picture

that means you liked it!

nancy = inspiration

Chuck Walla's picture

So, as America has exported most of its low skill, low wage jobs, the Progressive's answer is to import millions of Hispanic low skill workers. Oh, and they'll pay taxes and won't be a burden on the state, either...


The real sticking point for Obama's social catastrophe plan, whereby the Progressives steal the last crumbs of power, is that stupid 2nd Amendment. 


Arius's picture

NO - that is not a fair comparison!

"The numbers don't lie.  Today, the number of Americans on Social Security Disability now exceeds the entire population of Greece, and the number of Americans on food stamps now exceeds the entire population of Spain."


YES - those numbers lie!  comparing USA with greece and spain is misleading; it doesnt take into account how large and populated the USA is; Greece is smaller than many of the US states...no comparison!

Doubleguns's picture

Those numbers lie. 


No they dont lie they are true. You just dont like the way it was compared. Please refrain from calling numbers liar's because they are incapable of lieing and it hurts their feelings. 

ceilidh_trail's picture

Safygraze- Thanks for giving me the new perspective! I read your bio and know that you are one accomplished dude! I will be all in when the market opens at 0930. You forgot to mention the quantum leap in telecommunications- I can now order my dope from the comfort of my obamaphone whilst watching the Simpsons on my big screen...          /sarc

theliberalliberal's picture

although the sarcasm is obvious to regular ZHs,  I am sure some CNBC reporter has just Ctrl + C'd this and will be the basis of tomorrow's segment on the economy.

myptofvu's picture

Jay Carney OUT...SafelyGraze IN...

otto skorzeny's picture

most people don't realize how much the US economy is propped up via direct and indirect govt spending-whether it be food stamps, or military spending to secure cheap oil, infrastructure spending , healthcare, anyone that draws a govt paycheck, exceedingly easy access to credit, etc- it is the ONLY WAY the US lifestyle is being maintained. when that is threatened/ends the guns will be turned inwards.

Son of Loki's picture

Looks like a "jobless recovery" right?

B2u's picture

These graphs show how much Obama has failed.

Jumbotron's picture

"These graphs show how much Obama has failed."

What a monumentally stupid remark.  That is so assinine as to create its own black hole of idiocy sucking into it all reason and logic.

Look at those charts again fuckwad.....it goes WAY, WAY beyond Obama...or Bush....or Clinton....or Reagan.  Although....they all had a hand in it.

It started in 1913.  And every year since it has gotten worse because of the collective year over year, decade over decade stupidity of the American Sheeple to know the root cause and do anything about it.

And you are certainly one of those stupid sheeple.

Deo vindice's picture

I spent quite a number of years in management of various sized companies.

I can say without hesitation that the death of the worker was not slow, and it was only agonizing for both the customers and company owners.

When the union threatened to go on a "work to rule" I applauded and thought it would be wonderful ... productivity would go up by +/- 25%.

SubjectivObject's picture

fuckwad .... nice

Well how about this:  In any of the charts shown above, do you see even an inkling of diversion from the trend, a moderation of slope, even, during the Obaminator's administrations?  Shrub Cubed is clearly your phukkwahhd here. The con of hope and change realized.

You might recollect he did not nationalize a couple of big banks when he had the mandate, the Congress, and the chance on a silver platter, to do the right thing; a crime for which no curse can measure up to.

otto skorzeny's picture

Obama is a errand boy, sent by grocery clerks, to collect a bill

BLOTTO's picture

I think it goes much much further back in time then 1913.


1913 was just a chapter out of the 'story' so far...and the years played out since the beginning somewhat like paragraphs and pages...


The problem imo, was right off the bat...not halfway thru 'the book'...


Jumbotron's picture

"Well how about this:  In any of the charts shown above, do you see even an inkling of diversion from the trend, a moderation of slope, even, during the Obaminator's administrations?  Shrub Cubed is clearly your phukkwahhd here. The con of hope and change realized."



Almost too stupid to reply too...but I have a soft spot for the historically challenged.

Look at those charts again....VERY....VERY...slowly.  Particularly #1, #2, and #3.  They all peaked around the 70's....LBJ and Nixon.  Democrat and Republican.

Now....look VERY...VERY...slowly at charts # 6 and # 10.  Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy.  Democrat, Republican, Democrat.

Now....think VERY...VERY...carefully.  Has the party in power mattered?

Let's see......here is the makeup of the Party in Power (Executive Branch) since 1913.


Woodrow Wilson March 4, 1913 - March 4, 1921                 -    Democrat

Warren G. Harding March 4, 1921 - August 2, 1923             -    Republican

Calvin Coolidge August 2, 1923 - March 4, 1929                 -    Republican

Herbert Hoover March 4, 1929 - March 4, 1933                   -    Republican

Franklin Delano Roosevelt March 4, 1933 - April 12, 1945    -    Democrat

Harry S. Truman April 12, 1945 - January 20, 1953             -    Democrat

Dwight D. Eisenhower January 20, 1953 - January 20, 1961  -    Republican

John F. Kennedy January 20, 1961 - November 22, 1963     -    Democrat

Lyndon B. Johnson November 22, 1963 - January 20, 1969  -    Democrat

Richard M. Nixon January 20, 1969 - August 9, 1974           -    Republican

Gerald Ford August 9, 1974 - January 20, 1977                  -    Republican

Jimmy Carter January 20, 1977 - January 20, 1981            -    Democrat

Ronald Raegan January 20, 1981 - January 20, 1989         -    Republican

George H. W. Bush January 20, 1989 - January 20, 1993    -    Republican

Bill Clinton January 20, 1993 - January 20, 2001                -    Democrat

George W. Bush January 20, 2001 - January 20, 2009        -    Republican

Barack H. Obama since January 20, 2009                          -    Democrat


So.....8 Democrats have been President since 1913 and 9 Republicans have been president.  And not a SINGLE one has abolished the Fed. 
Not a SINGLE one has stood up to Globalism.

In fact....it was Taft (Republican and Skull and Bones member) who allowed the Bankers both American and European to hatch their scheme on Jekyll Island and let it run up the halls of Congress and Wilson saw in enacted.

When will you get through your exceedingly thick skull that it has nothing to do with Democrat or Republican, Bush or Obama.....but a multigenerational cabal of human beings in the halls of finance to create and mold a utopia for them and their families?

School is out and your dismissed.  Your homework assignment is to look this up for yourself.  And don't call me again.  I'm done with you.

newworldorder's picture

Whoever junked you is a troll. Thanks for speaking the truth. Most on this board do understand. There are howevever a core group of imbeciles who always see the smallest detail but fail to connect the macro dots of politics and economics.

What is happening to us is due to the elites desire for CONTROL, unhampered by "democratic princelples" as outlined in our Declarative documents. The American people have bee asleep at the switch for several generations, and its not about to change soon, if ever.

Van Halen's picture

Great point! What I have been telling a lot of people - it's very hard for them, even us, to understand that there are (in the US) about 3000 of them running 320 million of us. The common theme in those 3000 is that their every waking moment is concentrated on two things: Money and Power. They will stop at NOTHING to realize those goals.

Bananamerican's picture

the lure of partisanship is very strong...it appeals to the compelling urge in judeo-christian Peoples to distinguish between "right and wrong"....

Unfortunately "right and wrong" are like Russian nesting dolls...and the biggest doll, "finance", contains all the rest...

prains's picture

where the Glitchez gets confused is the "social" issue part of the agenda. The Dem/Repub dynamic is:

1. BOTH do the bidding of the corporate oligarchs thru regulatory capture

2.BOTH choose very distinct and separate sides of "social" issues as they are worthless contrivances to an Oligarch and only serve their ultimate purpose of distracting the masses while they get robbed blind

Oldwood's picture



This is a gang turf war and with any such war it requires either a certain level of public support or at least public indifference. One gang has attempted to hold its support through the enrichment of the producers. the business people, and using their earning powers to gain power. The other gang has used the power of mass public support through agitation and handouts. Both gangs have actively been destroying the economy through different methods and sometimes in even more destructive behavior, through cooperation. While many of these “gangsters” will say all of the right things, there actions speak much louder. Obama was elected for many reasons but one main one that many at least rationalized was his promise of action against corruption and entrenched political powers, but what we have seen is anything but. The only solution is to eliminate the gangs. Nonviolent civil disobedience. I doubt we will develop the courage until it’s far too late.

GeorgeHayduke's picture


HAHAHA! Excellent post for the morons here.

Unfortunately when they reach this part of your post: "Now....think VERY...VERY...carefully." they are way out of their depth. They don't think, they just spew back the usual talking points they hear during their daily media brainwashing. Not that they had any thinking going on before the brainwashing.

Nice try though but folks like this dude don't do research, they already have it all figured out.

Unpopular Truth's picture

Indeed, that is the big picture. Sigh. But we are all afraid to vote, say, Ron Paul, beacuse the other party might win, and our issue might lose...

roadhazard's picture

You will learn that you can not talk about any involvement by repubicans in the destruction of America in this forum without  getting a slew of down votes. This place is 99% right wing. Get used to it.

wingers crack me up.

dark_matter's picture

OK, Obama is worthless. But do you really think McCain or Romney would have been better? Would either of those guys have done the right thing?

freewolf7's picture

The charts help.
I just thought it was me.

Parisnights's picture

And you are certainly one of those stupid sheeple

Negative 1 for walking out of your anger management class and logging on here.

Jumbotron's picture

If more people got rightously angry and called out stupidity the moment it was found and heaped shame on stupid people the better this place would be.

Headbanger's picture



See ya!

Jumbotron's picture

Since you referenced it......"I'm Madder Than Hell And I'm Not Going to Take It Anymore".....from the movie Network.....

here's the truth of it all.....also from the same movie.....

"The World is a Business"


And from the same movie....

"Its The Individual That's Finished"



surf0766's picture

All the communists men



syntaxterror's picture

Chart number 9 depicts the one constant throughout the last four decades: the exponential ability for the consumer zombies to increase borrowing to infinity to finance the consumption orgy.

Yes_Questions's picture



The ability to borrow is first dependent on available credit.

Someone thought it was a good idea to put workers lo whole countries in unpayable, defaut assured debt.

Chart 9 would have been more vertical had it been totally up to the "lending" side of all this.



IPA's picture

This weak started getting 0% for 14 and 15 months offers for new credit cards. Hard to resist.

Yes_Questions's picture



Impossible for any of us broke consumers of shelter, food, water, fuel and clothing.



Help Is Not Coming's picture

This weak started getting 0% for 14 and 15 months offers for new credit cards. Hard to resist.

If you get a Chase Rewards card with 0% for 15 months can you use the card to buy Silver Eagles? Then use the reward points to buy more Silver Eagles? 15 months from now sell enough of the coins to pay off the debt. That somehow seems fitting.

Haloween1's picture

Words of impending doom -

"We are the wealthiest country in the world.  Certainly we can afford to (fill in the blank)."

Yes_Questions's picture



Drone innocent children abroad.

Force oil rich countries to over produce and sell for our paper, fiat currency

Force labor rich countries to hold vast amounts of our debts

Abandon the working class.




LongBallsShortBrains's picture

Not in that order for God's sake!!!!

Dr. Engali's picture

Chart number 9 annoys me most of all. It's not bad enough that the bankers have extracted the wealth out of the nation and turned it into its current status, now they continue to pick the carcass clean.

Seasmoke's picture

The motherfuckers took the heart out of self employment