Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Unhappy workers

A report by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development published today, examines working life in 1952 – and what it is like for workers in this country 60 years later.

Dr John Philpott, the report’s author and chief economic adviser to the institute, said: "People do not seem much happier about their working lives. Many exhibit the symptoms of work-related stress...even though work has changed in ways that could not be imagined in 1952, the UK still shows no sign of becoming the kind of leisure society predicted by the 'end of work' futurologists of yester-year....Whatever the future of work, the lesson of the past six decades is that increased productivity and prosperity isn't enough to enhance the common good in the workplace or society in general."

The report accepted that workers have become more productive over the last 60 years. Despite the same number of hours being worked the value of the goods and services produced by the economy has quadrupled.

Meanwhile in America if a worker has one piece of bad luck, one major financial blow, it means lasting trouble. 43 percent of households in America -- some 127.5 million people -- are liquid-asset poor.

Jennifer Brooks, director of state and local policy at the Corporation for Enterprise Development explained "They're living off their savings. They're at the end of their rope." and don't have enough money saved to weather a significant emergency. If one of these households experiences a sudden loss of income, caused, for example, by a layoff or a medical emergency, it will fall below the poverty line within three months. People in these households simply don't have enough cash to make it for very long in a crisis. "A family that loses its job, that was maybe solidly middle class, in a state where they have restrictive asset tests, is going to have to liquidate all their assets, all their savings for the future" in order to qualify for benefits.

"They don't necessarily realize how close people can be to one interruption to income or one interruption to health benefits," said David Rothstein, the project director for asset building at the non-profit Policy Matters Ohio. "They're one paycheck away from being in debt."

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