Regardless of the topic, when it comes to the job market, any and all problems will be blamed on working class folks. The power brokers will not blame themselves. They will twist themselves into pretzels trying to find absurd arguments about how average Americans caused this mess. It's sickening.
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Welcome to the Causey Consulting Podcast. You can find us online anytime at CauseyConsulting llc.com. And now, here's your host, Sara Causey. Hello, Hello, and thanks for tuning in. In today's episode, I want to talk about the complete insanity that we see on some of these news stories. To me, it seems that any and all problems or issues with the job market will be blamed on average working class citizens. The power brokers and the fat cats and the huge corporations will not take any blame. The Fed will not the politicians will not somehow no matter how absurd and nonsensical the argument may be, they will absolutely twist themselves into a pretzel trying to convince the readers Oh, oh, no, no, no, no, this mess is the fault of the average working class American. They will also blame entire generations, they will blame entire genders. And it's like, what part of me wants to laugh and part of me wants to cry. It is so headache inducing and dystopian. Yet, that's where we find ourselves. I saw an article the other day on ABC News. And I will admit, just looking at the headline, without clicking on it. I thought okay, maybe we're getting somewhere. Maybe I have a sense of hope. You remember that scene in The Devil Wears Prada where Miranda Priestly says something like, I had hope. Oh, my God, I live on it. That's kind of where we're at. I saw this article on ABC News. I'm like, okay, good. Maybe we're getting somewhere. The title of it is how millions of missing workers are making do without a job. As I've said before, I've heard some pretty out there. Theories, including people who seem to think that all of these supposedly missing workers are victims of like a fantasy style finger snap. Like they just blipped they've been abducted by aliens, or they've been taken somewhere. And they just don't exist on this planet anymore. That's one of my favorites just because it is so like not just tinfoil hat but extreme tinfoil hat. Do I think that that Thanos snapped his fingers. And these supposin Missing workers are now on another planet? Are they just disintegrated? No, indeed, I do not. I also don't think that they're all living in grandma's basement off their 2020 stimulus money. I don't think that they are all men who are young to middle aged and they are living on a girlfriend's couch or they are couch surfing through all of their friends. They're all drug dealers or drug users, all of these different theories that have been posited to us. No, I think they're taking very small thin slices of the population and trying to say, oh, it's their fault. Like the meme of the Spider Man is all pointing at each other. So when I see this article, I'm thinking Well, good. Maybe we're going to get something that's common sense. We're gonna get something beyond the banjos finger snap. All of these people are laid out on drugs. All of them are in Nana's basement. Yeah, so when I clicked on it, and I got to the byline, I knew I knew my hopes were dashed. So the title is How millions of missing workers are making do without a job the byline reads the lack of workers risks worsening inflation which could trigger a recession so here we are again. Here we are. Again. We're in the same same poop different day. The suppose and missing workers are going to make inflation worse they're going to trigger a recession and dammit, dammit straight to hell, if they had just done what they were supposed to do. If all of these suppose it, people had just put the bid in their mouth like a good little horsey and gone to work. We wouldn't be having this problem. Listen to that. Yeah, God honestly I am for real getting a headache because it's like I just I don't understand how someone could think that we would just be that stupid. I don't I don't get it. So when we start reading the the meat and potatoes, if you will of the article we find recession fears have mounted in recent weeks as inflation continues to strain household budgets, and the Federal Reserve appears set to raise interest rates and further slow the economy as if blissfully unaware however, the job market has thrived. Hiring last month exceeded expectations and defied warnings of a downturn. But the good jobs news is could it could ultimately imperil the economy? Sometimes these statements I mean, you can't even hardly read them because they're not written well, but then also it's like quiet. But the good jobs news could ultimately imperil the economy. Wages last month grew a blistering 5.1% compared to a year earlier, offering welcome relief for workers but also sobering news for Fed officials fearful of runaway inflation driven by income gains. Oh, yeah. I talked about this in the last Saturday broadcast. This is shaping up to be another strain of the narrative. It's your fault. You greedy little pigs. Oh, how dare you job hop and look for more money? Oh, shame on you. Shame, shame, shame. You shouldn't have done that. No, no, no, no, it's your fault. We now have runaway inflation because you jaw popped. Or you went to your employer and asked for a pay bump in the middle of all of this insane inflation. Right. But somehow you cause the inflation that you were trying to get more money to deal with. In turn, a lesser known data point has drawn outsized attention, the share of the adult population not working or actively looking for work. If workers are in ample supply, it gives the labor market some slack and limits wage growth. Yeah. Do you think that that's not a reason why they want to do this? However, workforce participation came in at 62.1% last month, markedly lower than the pre pandemic level of 63.4%. Okay, so we're really only talking about, like, less than one and a half percent. But yet somehow this one and a half percent is causing the economy to crash. It makes no sense. If you try to look at it critically, it makes no sense. And then meanwhile, beneath this kind of scathing paragraph about the lesser known data point of these, you know, slackers that just won't go get a damn job get a haircut and get a real job the people that won't go do that they have this man who's got like a baby in a in a carrier type thing. And then a toddler and they're playing on the floor and it's like so is this supposed to imply that stay at home dads are crashing the economy. They're getting really hard on the menfolk. You know the menfolk got demonized here recently and Dave Ramsey was screaming all about a mommy's coddling them boys and it's just like it the dude is taking care of his kids. Hmm. Um, you know, I may have a heart attack because I'm reading this article. I need to Calm down, y'all. Okay. The scant supply of workers keeps the labor market taut and helps fuel rising wages, which risk exacerbating inflation and pushing the economy into a recession. Economists told ABC News. Americans should be worried about it. Stephanie Roth, a senior market economist at JP Morgan private bank, told ABC News, the firm predicts a recession as the most likely outcome for the economy. She said adding that continued tight labor market and high wage inflation would be a key reason. Oh, I'm sure Stephanie, I'm sure I'm sure. Oh, a recession is the most likely outcome, as though we're not in a flipping recession right now. And somehow, the labor market people not wanting to take the service sector jobs and leisure and hospitality and asking for higher wages. That's a key reason. And the alarm raises a key question at the heart of the economy. How can millions of missing workers stay on the sidelines while affording to pay their bills? Here's how unemployed people have kept up their lives and why it matters. So one bullet point is retirement rates increased. The top explanation for why so many people straight out of the workforce centers on people who retired during the pandemic economist set. Over the past three months, there were 3.6 million more Americans who had left the labor force and said they didn't want a job compared with the same period in 2019. Aaron Sojourner, an economist at the Upjohn Institute told ABC News among those 3.6 million people, individuals aged 55 and up made up about 90% he added. Okay, so in fairness to the argument 90% of these people who left were 55 and old. A stock market tear during the pandemic ballooned the assets of some older Americans, allowing them to subsist without income. Meanwhile, the heightened risk of severe illness faced by older Americans amid the COVID outbreak left them fearful of exposure at the workplace. Sojourner said they had their finances in a position that enabled them to make the choice to stay out. He said, a stock market downturn this year has buffeted that financial stronghold for retirees. However, Sid Roth of JP Morgan, still the reluctance of many older Americans to re enter the workforce owes to the endurance of their pandemic era savings and the difficulty in reverting back to a bygone lifestyle. Now they've settled into their lives and retirement and they're less inclined to come back into the labor force Roth said, in some cases, that's true in some it's not. I personally Okay, so I'm not talking about just anecdotally, whatever in terms of people that I know, personally, I know more people right now who have retired and then gone back into the workforce and unretired than I know people who have retired and stayed retired. I'm just saying. Another bullet point is savings strengthened. Oh, God, this again, here we go. Another financial lifeline for unemployed Americans is the stockpile of savings that many built during the pandemic economist said the COVID era strengthened household savings as government stimulus and high flying asset prices. Combined with a locked down lifestyle that did away with expenses like traveling and eating out. US households amassed about $2.3 trillion in savings in 2020 and 2021. A federal reserve study a federal reserve study showed last month Moreover, households in the lower half of income distribution were still holding a combined $350 billion in excess savings as of the middle of this year. The study found those savings afforded workers the flexibility to make major changes like quitting their jobs, and cutting expenses to afford the lost income. Jessie Wheeler and an economic analyst with the research firm morning console told ABC News, the lifestyle choices that people made during the pandemic to move to a different place, work a little less and enjoy time with family. Those sorts of choices are sticky. Wheeler said recently, however, savings for many have dwindled. Wheeler said last month, the personal savings rate fell to 2.3%. The lowest rate in nearly two decades, according to data from the Commerce Department. With persistent inflation, hovering near a 40 year high shoppers have drawn on savings to preserve a steady level of consumption while weathering elevated prices. He said clearly it's not going to be sustainable over the long term. People eventually need to pull back on spending or re enter the labor force to increase their earnings. I totally feel like Seinfeld, who are these burble? Who are these people? Who are these people that had just masses and masses and masses of money in savings? Who will are they? Aside from the fat cats and The High Rollers I want to know who in the hill supposedly these middle class and lower income Americans are that are flush with cash. They're doing great. They have all this money in savings. They were able to just treat the lockdown like it was a vacation or excuse me a staycation. I'm just gonna hang out here to house we're gonna have us a ball. We're gonna have us a good old time with all this money that we put back in savings and our STEMI checks. Who are they? I don't know these people. To me. This seems like a lot of hot air. And then in the middle of this there's a picture of a we are hiring sign position available kitchen serve or dishwasher walk in interviews at our office. It's such an so address. I did a little research on that photograph. Apparently it was taken in August of this year. And it's also worth noting it's for restaurant positions. Okay. Leisure, hospitality, fast food. Are those places still hiring? Yes. Could they still be having great resignation situations? Yes. White Collar knowledge work? No, no, no, no. I'm on the front lines in that arena every day. And I'm telling you that the great resignation for white collar knowledge work. It's not only over with now it has been over with for quite some time. People are way more gun shy about changing a job right now. It's like the housing market in the same way that people are like now, even if interest rates go down, let's just kind of hang back and stay on the sidelines. People are doing the same thing by and large. With the job market right now. Are there still people willing to make a change? Are there still people that maybe they're in an insecure situation right now and they want to get out of there and they can get on more solid footing? Yeah, of course. That's not uncommon. Okay. There's gonna always be those people, but masses of people willing to get on the phone and talk to a recruiter right now. No, no, no, no, it is a hard knock life and recruiting right now I'm telling you. So who are these people flushed with cash? Who are they that just had all of this money in savings? I don't know. I surely don't know. Another bullet point we find is informal work and self employment. Data Reporting a shrunken workforce likely overlooked some Americans who have continued to work especially at self run businesses or informal jobs economists set during the pandemic new business applications soared and they have remained above pre pandemic levels. Since this bureau data showed the Bureau reported nearly 433,000 new business applications in October, a marked increase from 313,000 and December of 2019. And July 2020, new business applications reached as high as 552,000. The government survey that calculates us hiring may leave out some self employed people set her off but we let's not talk about that. Let's just kind of shoo shoo that under the rug a little bit. People that are gainfully employed because they're working for themselves, we're just going to kind of ignore them. We're just going to kind of lump them in with people who left the workforce and never came back. Even though they're drawing a paycheck from their own business or from their own freelancing efforts. We've got to have manipulated data dammit. Some people working gig jobs describe themselves as employed while others don't said Wheeler of morning console. Typically, people who work formal gig jobs and delivery or ride hailing service describe themselves as employed in response to queries. However, people who rely on jobs like babysitting house sitting or dog walking often do not call themselves employed. The increase in gig work across the economy likely accounts for some of those missing from the workforce. Sojourner said, there are slightly more people who see informal work as an option for how to sell some of their time and skills. He said. Another bullet point we get is relying on a spouse or other family for support. So again, here we go. People who are laying on the girlfriend's couch, they're in mom's basement or in grandma's basement. The savings boom and rise of remote work during the pandemic led some married households to drop from two incomes to one and push some workers to move in with family members, allowing previously employed people to subsist on support from loved ones economist said. While this shift likely accounts for a small portion of those outside the labor force and data remains limited. The phenomenon highlights a lifestyle change enjoyed by some who have prioritized childcare or other activities above work. People have changed up their lifestyles, maybe move to the suburbs, or consolidated household, maybe switched from one income to two. Wheeler said they've realized that they liked the lifestyle better and don't want to go back. For instance, the workforce participation rate for women aged 25 to 34 fell nearly five percentage points after the outset of the pandemic. According to the data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. While employment in that group has rebounded, it remains below pre pandemic levels. The choice to give up work for childcare made up a key obstacle for women during the pandemic. While the problem remains it has largely eased Rob said, I wouldn't say it's the most important driver of wage inflation today, but it's an important piece of the puzzle Roth said in quote, on some places, there are now complete childcare deserts, there is no choice, there is no option. Someone will have to be able to work from home or have some type of flexibility in their scheduling in order to be available for the children. Meanwhile, over on fortune.com we find robots are coming and it doesn't look pretty for workers get ready for long hours, less pay and fewer jobs. All right, sort of feels like no matter what this narrative is going to eventually funnel everybody in into the same place. I'm thinking of that cartoon where there's two different options, but both lead the cow to the slaughterhouse. That's how it feels. Regardless of what stories and tall tales and hot air and nonsense we get told. I feel like it's all kind of leading everybody down the same funnel, go back to work, get your butt back in the cube or get your butt back in that office, sit down, shut up and do what you're told, dammit. Because if you don't, robots are going to take your job. Because if you don't run away inflation, because if you don't recession, because if you don't look at how many people are going to be unemployed, and it's going to be all your fault. That is so stupid. I mean, do you really think that somebody's going in and asking their boss for a raise in order to try to cope with inflation? Or maybe they want a merit based increase? Maybe they've taken on a lot of work, and they want to be compensated fairly for it? Do you really think that that is why we have inflation? I mean, seriously, to use the phrase does your Come on, man? Really? Do you really think that this huge slice of men who are young to middle aged are all living in grandma's basement? Do you really think that they're all living on their girlfriend's couch, and they're smoking dope and playing video games all day long, they never leave the house. They never do anything. They just smoke dope and play video games 24 hours a day. And that is causing runaway inflation and a recession. I mean, it's so preposterous, but yet these fat cats, the power brokers, and in my opinion, corporate controlled media and these corporate sponsored articles, they aren't going to blame anyone else other than themselves. And I personally find it disgusting, that they want to point the finger of blame at the average working class citizen. Shame on them. 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