This Is What Employment In America Really Looks Like...

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Michael Snyder of The Economic Collapse blog,

The level of employment in the United States has been declining since the year 2000.  There have been moments when things have appeared to have been getting better for a short period of time, and then the decline has resumed.  Thanks to the offshoring of millions of jobs, the replacement of millions of workers with technology and the overall weakness of the U.S. economy, the percentage of Americans that are actually working is significantly lower than it was when this century began.  And even though things have stabilized at a reduced level over the past few years, it is only a matter of time until the next major wave of the economic collapse strikes and the employment level goes even lower.  And the truth is that more good jobs are being lost every single day in America.  For example, as you will read about below, Warren Buffett is shutting down a Fruit of the Loom factory in Kentucky and moving it to Honduras just so that he can make a little bit more money.  We see this kind of betrayal over and over again, and it is absolutely ripping the middle class of America to shreds.

Below I have posted a chart that you never hear any of our politicians talk about.  It is a chart that shows how the percentage of working age Americans with a job has steadily declined since the turn of the century.  Just before the last recession, we were sitting at about 63 percent, but now we have been below 59 percent since the end of 2009...

Employment Population Ratio 2014

We should be thankful that things have stabilized at this lower level for the past few years.

At least things have not been getting worse.

But anyone that believes that "things have returned to normal" is just being delusional.

And nothing is being done about the long-term trends that are absolutely crippling our economy.  One of those trends is the offshoring of middle class jobs.  As I mentioned above, Fruit of the Loom (which is essentially owned by Warren Buffett) has made the decision to close their factory in Jamestown, Kentucky and lay off all the workers at that factory by the end of 2014...

Clothing company Fruit of the Loom announced Thursday that it will permanently close its plant in Jamestown and lay off all 600 employees by the end of the year.


The Jamestown plant is the last Fruit of the Loom plant in a state where the company had once been a manufacturing titan second only to General Electric.

This isn't being done because Fruit of the Loom is going out of business.  They are still going to be making t-shirts and underwear.  They are just going to be making them in Honduras from now on...

The company, owned by Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway but headquartered in Bowling Green, said the move is "part of the company's ongoing efforts to align its global supply chain" and will allow the company to better use its existing investments to provide products cheaper and faster.


The company said it is moving the plant's textile operations to Honduras to save money.

So what are those workers supposed to do?

Go on welfare?

The number of Americans that are dependent on the government is already at an all-time record high.

And doesn't Warren Buffett already have enough money?

In business school, they teach you that the sole responsibility of a corporation is to maximize wealth for the shareholders.

And so when business students get out into "the real world", that is how they behave.

But the truth is that corporations have a responsibility to treat their workers, their customers and the communities in which they operate well.  This responsibility exists whether corporate executives want to admit it or not.

And we all have a responsibility to our fellow citizens.  When we stand aside and do nothing as millions of good paying American jobs are shipped overseas so that the "one world economic agenda" can be advanced and so that men like Warren Buffett can stuff their pockets just a little bit more, we are failing our fellow countrymen.

Because so many of us have fallen for the lie that "globalism is good", we have allowed our once great manufacturing cities to crumble and die.  Just consider what is happening to Detroit.  It was once the greatest manufacturing city in the history of the planet, but now foreign newspapers publish stories about what a horror show that it has become...

Khalil Ligon couldn’t tell if the robbers were in her house. She had just returned home to find her front window smashed and a brick lying among shattered glass on the floor. Ligon, an urban planner who lives alone on Detroit’s east side, stepped out and called the police.


It wasn’t the first time Ligon’s home had been broken into, she told me. And when Detroit police officers finally arrived the next day, surveying an area marred by abandoned structures and overgrown vegetation, they asked Ligon a question she often ponders herself: why is she still in Detroit?

Of course this kind of thing is not just happening to Detroit.  The truth is that it is happening all over the nation.  For example, this article contains an incredible graphic which shows how the middle class of Chicago has steadily disappeared over the past several decades.

Once again, even though we have never had a "recovery", it is a good thing that things have at least stabilized at a lower level for the past few years.

But now there are all sorts of indications that we are rapidly heading toward yet another economic downturn.  The tsunami of retail store closings that is now upon us is just one sign of this.  The following is a partial list of retail store closings from a recent article by Daniel Jennings...

  • Quiznos has filed for bankruptcy, USA Today reported, and could close many of its 2,100 stores.
  • Sbarro which operates pizza and Italian restaurants in malls, is planning to close 155 locations in the United States and Canada. That means nearly 20 percent of Sbarro’s will close. The chain operates around 800 outlets.
  • Ruby Tuesday announced plans to close 30 restaurants in January after its sales fell by 7.8 percent. The chain currently operates around 775 steakhouses across the US.
  • An unknown number of Red Lobster stores will be sold. The chain is in such bad shape that the parent company, Darden Restaurants Inc., had to issue a press release stating that the chain would not close. Instead Darden is planning to spin Red Lobster off into another company and sell some of its stores.
  • Ralph’s, a subsidiary of Kroger, has announced plans to close 15 supermarkets in Southern California within 60 days.
  • Safeway closed 72 Dominick’s grocery stores in the Chicago area last year.

And the following are some more signs of trouble for the retail industry from one of my recent articles entitled "20 Facts About The Great U.S. Retail Apocalypse That Will Blow Your Mind"...

#1 As you read this article, approximately a billion square feet of retail space is sitting vacant in the United States.

#2 Last week, Radio Shack announced that it was going to close more than a thousand stores.

#3 Last week, Staples announced that it was going to close 225 stores.

#4 Same-store sales at Office Depot have declined for 13 quarters in a row.

#5 J.C. Penney has been dying for years, and it recently announced plans to close 33 more stores.

#6 J.C. Penney lost 586 million dollars during the second quarter of 2013 alone.

#7 Sears has closed about 300 stores since 2010, and CNN is reporting that Sears is "expected to shutter another 500 Sears and Kmart locations soon".

#8 Overall, sales numbers have declined at Sears for 27 quarters in a row.

#9 Target has announced that it is going to eliminate 475 jobs and not fill 700 positions that are currently empty.

#10 It is being projected that Aéropostale will close about 175 stores over the next couple of years.

#11 Macy's has announced that it is going to be closing five stores and eliminating 2,500 jobs.

#12 The Children’s Place has announced that it will be closing down 125 of its "weakest" stores by 2016.

But it isn't just the retail industry that is deeply troubled.

All over America we are seeing economic weakness.

In this economic environment, it doesn't matter how smart, how educated or how experienced you are.  If you are out of work, it can be extremely difficult to find a new job.  Just consider the case of Abe Gorelick...

Abe Gorelick has decades of marketing experience, an extensive contact list, an Ivy League undergraduate degree, a master’s in business from the University of Chicago, ideas about how to reach consumers young and old, experience working with businesses from start-ups to huge financial firms and an upbeat, effervescent way about him. What he does not have — and has not had for the last year — is a full-time job.


Five years since the recession ended, it is a story still shared by millions. Mr. Gorelick, 57, lost his position at a large marketing firm last March. As he searched, taking on freelance and consulting work, his family’s finances slowly frayed. He is now working three jobs, driving a cab and picking up shifts at Lord & Taylor and Whole Foods.

So what does Abe need in order to find a decent job?

More education?

More experience?

No, what he needs is an economy that produces good jobs.

Sadly, the cold, hard reality of the matter is that the U.S. economy will never produce enough jobs for everyone ever again.

The way that America used to work is long gone, and it has been replaced by a cold, heartless environment where the company that you work for could rip your job away from you at a moment's notice if they decide that it will put a few extra pennies into the pockets of the shareholders.

You may have worked incredibly hard for 30 years and been super loyal to your company.

It doesn't matter anymore.

All that matters is the bottom line, and in the process the middle class is being destroyed.  But by destroying the middle class, those corporations are destroying the consumer base that their corporate empires were built upon in the first place.

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NemoDeNovo's picture

Jobs we don't need no stinkin' jobs this is 'murhiKa bitchez

Obama phones all around..........

espirit's picture

And Nasa can always buy rides from the Russians... Rotflol.

Gringo Viejo's picture

"The cockaroaches is eatin' my food stamps
and my wife
she sleepin' wi da Bees"

.........Blind Melon Chitlin'

espirit's picture

Gas, grass, or ass.  Else you can get out 10 miles up.

philipat's picture

Agreed, US persons are being deliberately thrown under the bus because the Corporatocracy doesn't need them, they have robots and cheap labour elsewhere to continue to inflate global profits.

The US economy comprises 70% domestic consumption so, for the economy to grow it needs EITHER a massive increase in capital investment (To grow the 30%, which is not going to happen) OR increases in consumer consumption, also unlikely with the present labour participation rate and declining real net disposable incomes. Ergo, the US economy is NOT going to grow. And you think they don't know that? The US comprises only 4% of the total population of the globe so, net net, it is more profitable to cut costs in the US and generate new revenues elsewhere. End of story.

If they really cared about the average Joe, the end of Globalisation and a massive dose of protectionism would very quickly restore the US economy and generate jobs and income. Of course, the Corporations, and their political employees in Washington, will never allow that to happen (See above), so don't hold your breath.

boogerbently's picture


Do we want free market capitalism, OR, a forced return of industrial jobs to America?

zerozulu's picture

Last week I talked to my UPS guy and he said almost 95% stuff in his truck is from eBay or from Amazon.

TungstenBars's picture

What's wrong with a real job?

Afraid to get your hands a little dirty?

TruthInSunshine's picture

But...but...Warren Buffett & his partner in crime, Charlie "Fuck The Taxpayers" Munger openly & aggressively supported Barack ZerObama in 2008 & 2012 (not that McCain or Romney would have done anything better - Red Pill/Blue Pill) and received 17 billion USD in taxpayer bailouts of Berkshire Hathaway owned/controlled failures of companies for their contribution.

Nobody For President's picture

Buy a politician - best ROI out there.

SWRichmond's picture

So what does Abe need in order to find a decent job?

More education?

More experience?

No, what he needs is an economy that produces good jobs.


Sadly, the cold, hard reality of the matter is that the U.S. economy will never produce enough jobs for everyone ever again.

Wrong.  The economy is quite capable of producing the jobs we need.  All that has to happen is for the government to get out of the way.  If they will not do it themselves, and they seem unwilling to, as the regulatory state is the source of their ability to wring "contributions" from "constituents" in order to buy "elections", then what shall we do?

philipat's picture

A return to free market capitalism ISN'T going to happen. So your choices for the people are EITHER unrest to push for protectionism OR unrest and get used to a much lower standard of living. It's your choice, of course.

Nobody For President's picture

So booger, you think what we have is 'free market capitalism'? If so, you are the stupidist fuck on this list: what we have is the most managed economy that corporate money can buy, and guess what? Citizens are not the benificiaries. 

Get your head out of your ass and join us here on ZH who get it. Or move to Ohio and live with the detrius left from globslim.

We are so screwed wirth assholes like boogerman believing this shit. Or maybe he is just a trolll, and I got suckered.

aVileRat's picture

Froot of the Loom (sic). Another fine Berkshire investment.

I wonder if Warren was at the board meeting when they approved schlacking these jobs. My second question is if this decision by his handpicked reps was voted on before or after his most recent "made in america" promote during the NCAA "perfect bracket" gimmick.

On one hand, Warren spent a life time trying to develop the financial education and retail participation in stock markets post 1935. For this and his persona that enabled people to at least try to become proactive about finance vs. chasing shysters & technicians (shysters) he should be applauded. Was it pure ? Likely not, but pure'er at least than others who emerged from the 1950's go-go conglomerate era. So for that impact on American finance you need to feel sorry for him. Watching Berkshire be consumed by the game he tried so hard to create is never easy in high finance, even going back to the brutal Sherson days. Byproduct of the zero-alpha world, same as Gross. Consumed by the game they helped build.

On the other hand, Warren and his companies to tend to promote capitalism for some, bailouts for me. The shoe may look different on a 49 billion dollar foot, but WB should have went under after Hurricane Andrew. Oddly it was around the 1990's when WB changed from being a big equity man to promoting the track record and started doing bolt on acquisitions to his core reinsurance & retail manufacturing product lines (distillates, paints, chemicals, securitization/repo gimmicks). So on that hand, you realize that Warren "peaked" about the same time US domestic manufacturing and R&D in applied sciences "peaked". Since 1995, WB and the whole value investing game, while fine at finding mature companies relies on prey where the market + fixed capital is fresh and can be stripped for cash cow dividends or leverage. Since most US fixed capital not in the energy or IT/military logistics sectors is at least 30 years old by now, the ability to find bigger fish to grow the BK/A bookvalue has dwindled to zilch.


On a related note, I wonder if Loom is going to use the same OEM vendor as Joe Fresh and the "walmart" specials.


zerozulu's picture

America is going back to slavery.

Nobody For President's picture

Fruit of the Loom = FTL, which is on their underwear.

FTL = Fuck The Ladies (Back when I was in high school a very long time ago.)

Now it is more FTU = Fuck the unemployed, or maybe just FU ...



Cattender's picture

he gave us a phone.. he gonna do more!

syntaxterror's picture

You got sold out by your own people america. 

chemystical's picture

"You got sold out by your own people america"

Can't completely agree with that.  Americans may have stood by and watched themselves be addlepated, but they were led down that path by soulless dual citizen sociopaths and their Quisling goyim.

Dr. Sandi's picture

Corporations are people too, you know.

zerozulu's picture

from now on you will be thoroughly checked before leaving the country.

A Nanny Moose's picture

What did "my own people" get for their money?

LetThemEatRand's picture

This is by design.  The .01% have become fabulously wealthy from this model, and they aim to rule the ruins that remain.   Long moat building companies and private security providers.  A return to mean.

There was a group of guys once who stood up to this model that existed for most of mankind's existence, and they created a country that defied the Lord/serf paradigm.  It kicked ass for a while.  Then the population was convinced that the "productive class" is the basis for a sound economy, and that only capital -- not labor -- is responsible for their success as a society.  The capital concentrated, and the labor got Obamaphones, NSA, Homeland Security, and the MIC.  Soon to be abject poverty and serfdom.

Totentänzerlied's picture

"created a country that defied the Lord/serf paradigm"

Do lefties actually believe this? Lol. Remind me how many of these "guys" were not aristocrats, and who their financers were?

(What they actually did was defy the nobility vs aristocracy vs royalty trichotomy which had dominated European politics since the 1000s, they - being untitled gentry - did themselves a favor and eliminated all forms of both hereditary nobility and royalty, making their own class the sole ruling class - remind me who it was that had sufferage in the earliest decades? Elimination of "serf" as a legal class was necessary for developing a capitalist economy - labor had to be free and unencumbered and urban, not tied to the land and to rural owners who would never be stupid enough to manumit their chattel for the sole benefit of their rivals - the capitalists. The belief that "the "productive class" is the basis for a sound economy" is now easily comprehended, no mythology about exceptionalism, destiny, or any other nonsense is required. The rest of the West copied this plan, by the way, and the results certainly show it. But none of this even begins to explain how any of this was possible [labor played a very minor and passive role, incidentally].)

Nobody For President's picture

Anybody who has to use umalats, or whatever the fuck the two dots are over the a in your name, is, by definition a total asshole and troll, and will be downvoted heavily. Better switch names and try again, asshole.

CrashisOptimistic's picture

It's much worse than by design.

It's inevitable.  There is nothing anyone can do to stop it.

i_call_you_my_base's picture

As you can see, everyone retired in 2008.

Caveman93's picture

I retired before retirement was cool. ;)

Colonel Klink's picture

I didn't retire per se, as I'm too young.  I stopped working by choice so as to not support the corrupt system.  But until the system collapses, I've retired for all intents and purposes.

Caveman93's picture

I hope the paper money ignites into flames. One day soon...still waiting.

Colonel Klink's picture

In a word....YES!  All the while your government, corporations, media, finance, and representatives have been LYING to you.  Please let me know when America wakes up.

espirit's picture

Dood: /doncha know DWTS is on?

Colonel Klink's picture

I'd rather cut my wrists.

Dr. Sandi's picture

I'd rather go out in a blaze of police gunfire.

A Nanny Moose's picture

Be careful what you wish for. We will need you before this is over.

Al Huxley's picture

Hey, it looks almost exactly like a chart of the mining stocks.

Stuck on Zero's picture

NAFTA = America's Waterloo.

chemystical's picture

You're off by a few decades.  Research trade deficits.  Nixon visiting China was the tipping point.  Later he forgave millions of $ in import duties owed by Jap consumer goods and Jap autos.  That was the death knell for American mfg.  The South's textile business was later sold out to SE Asia.  As a result of all that we have the Free Shit Army of erstwile employed folk.  Oh, yeah, let's not forget importing 20MM illegals to do the jobs that "we don't want to do".

Nixon's buddy Milton Friedman said that trade deficits did not matter.  He apparently attended the Dick Cheney School of Economics at Nancy Pelosi University.  Got his Nobel Prize from the same group that awarded one to Krugman. 

fattail's picture

I had clients that would always complain about a lack of good labor.   Just nobody wanted to work themselves to death for someone elses benefit for little pay and no benefits.  I seriously think some of those sociopaths actually expect people to work for free.  The idea of paying a good wage to get good help never crossed their minds.

cynicalskeptic's picture

It's all about the unending pursuit of the cheapest possible labor costs by our corporate overlords (and the top execs getting the resulting increased profits).

Any job that can be sent overseas to a lower cost (and less regulated - and less safe, more polluted and worse) locale is offshored and cheap labor (be it H1B or illegal) is brought in for the jobs that cannot be moved.

You are looking at a determined effort to revive serfdom.  Our aspiring lords and masters do not just expect us to work for free - they expect us to willingly sell ourselves into servitude in exchange for food and shelter - and minimal levels of those.  This mindset worsens with each generation removed from actual wealth creation.  As more and more wealth is passed through inheritances, those inheriting it become more and more obsessed with holding on to and increasing their wealth.   Look at the Walton heirs (Walmart) SEVEN people are worth more than 40% of he WHOLE American population.   Alice Walton has spend millions on an art museum in Bentonville AK as a means to 'give back' (a total scam where the wealthy write off 'donations' to 'charitable' endeavors).  If she REALLT wanted to 'give back' to the community she'd have Walmart pay its employees more and let them work 40 hours a week.

ChargingHandle's picture

I have nieces and nephews in college and I do not feel very optimistic about their professional prospects. It seems as though you'd better have a specialized skill set.  Med school , law degree, architect, dentistry,  etc. A degree and few hundred Facebook contacts will not get them shit and I sincerely want them and millions others to have opportunities for a real job. Capitalizing on the opportunities is another topic. 




foxmuldar's picture

You can't be eating out much on a part time workers salary. Most of the jobs that are created are part time. You won't hear Obozo mention this when he says the economy is picking up. Hope and Change has left many with no Hope and only lose change in their pockets. 

Kreditanstalt's picture

"And doesn't Warren Buffett already have enough money?"

Who is this guy to tell someone when they have "too much money"? 

chemystical's picture

I'm not of the mindset that leads to believing that we should tax "Bill Gate's" kid at 99.99% because he did nothing to deserve the inheritance*, and then...give it to someone else, likewise did nothing to deserve it.

But if the author of that quote used a clarifier such as "corruptly-gained" in front of money, then I'd agree.  Who's to say that Willie Sutton and Dillinger 'earned' too much?

* i've heard that exact phrase from several of the radical "left".  The 2nd half is my addition/rebuttal.  curiously it has yet to elicit a reply

Nobody For President's picture

Willie "That's where the money is" Sutton and Dillinger (who helped create the modern FBI) earned their money allright - and society, we citizens, got the tax back. Sutton spent half his life in prison, and Dillinger got shot down.

Where the fuck is Jon Corizine? Or Jamie "I'm richer than you" Dimon now?

Iam_Silverman's picture

"Where the fuck is Jon Corizine? Or Jamie "I'm richer than you" Dimon now?"

Still out there robbing the common man.  Oh, wait - that was a rhetorical question, wasn't it?

juggalo1's picture

I'm not sure I understand this article.  As he highlights, the major issue which conservatives and liberals will agree on is that the major issues confronting the American workforce are technology and globalization.  Yet nowhere in the article did he suggest a "solution" to globalization, or did he even really define these as problems.  Some more intelligent commentary has pointed out that the world appears to have reached "peak work", that is the number of hours of work needed to run the economy have been decreasing continually.  Economic growth has been outpaced by productivity, and as a result labor is inevitably made redundant.  No one has found the solution yet.