More Job Seekers Emerge… And They May Be Working Well Into Their Retirement Years

August 4, 2014  |  

The latest job numbers continued the gains we’ve seen in past months, but the final tally was markedly lower. In July, 209,000 jobs were added to the US economy, versus 298,000 in June. While the number is disappointing, taken from a wider view, 1.5 million jobs have been added in the past six months, the strongest figures since 2009. That includes a small comeback in the manufacturing and construction areas, which were hard hit when the housing market collapsed.

“Jobs in these sectors tend to offer middle-class wages. The recovery is no longer dominated by hiring for low-wage retail and restaurant jobs,” writes CNNMoney.

Nearly nine million jobs were lost during the recession, according to numbers provided by the site.

Still, there are roadblocks to this recovery. The unemployment rate actually went up a touch, from 6.1 percent to 6.2 percent as job seekers, seeing encouraging signs, decided to resume the search for work.

Then there’s the fact that the job gains are not evenly spread. For Blacks, the unemployment rate jumped from 10.7 percent up to 11.4 percent between June and July. Then you have the persistence of the wage gap, which impacts everyone, but some groups more than others.

“Women of color across the U.S. face a wage gap affected by both gender and race. An African American woman working full time, year-round, makes on average a whopping $18,650 less each year than a white man working full time, year-round,” reads The Huffington Post.

And the repercussions of the wage gap are felt well into our golden years.

“Because retirement savings are ever more closely tied to income, the widening gulf between the rich and those with less promises to continue — and perhaps worsen — after workers reach retirement age,” reports the Associated Press. “That is likely to put pressure on government services and lead even more Americans to work well into what is supposed to be their golden years.” The average Social Security payment last year was about $1,300 per month. And retirement savings is dropping as fewer people participate in savings plans, in some cases because just living from month to month is a struggle.

Finally, the wages themselves haven’t increased by a significant amount — only a penny an hour in July to $24.45. Overall, wages have gone up two percent in the past year, not enough to keep up with the rising costs of food, student loan repayments, and the other necessities of life.

A CNN/ORC International study released on Friday found that 41 percent of people rate the economy as “good” while 58 percent say it’s “fair.” So people realize that while things are improving, we’re not out of the woods. (Though the one percent seem to be doing just fine.) It’s forecast that the economy will play a big role in who gets elected in November, and the minimum wage question will continue to be debated as one solution for what financially ails the country.

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