Thursday, May 22, 2014

Nothing But Hard Times Ahead?

The latest nationwide jobs and housing statistics released this week suggest that America is no longer a country where—for most people—the future is going to be better than the past.
The percentage of people in most age and education levels in jobs compared to 2008 is down. The number of people holding multiple jobs is up. Average hourly wages have barely grown, compared to 2008. The number of people who are willing to leave their job for a new one is down. All of those trends are in the latest report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)—and there are even more depressing economic signs.
More than one-third of Americans who bought homes are trapped by that debt, according to the real estate data website Some 9.7 million homes, which is 18.8 percent of U.S. homeowners, owe more than their homes are worth. In another 10 million homes, the buyer’s equity is below 20 percent, which means they can’t sell and buy another home unless they find another way to cover all the transaction costs.
Taken together, the BLS report on the working class and the Zillow report on the middle class suggest that the country, despite virtually every politican’s assertion to the contrary, does not have its best days ahead. It may be that America’s best days—when the promise of hard work and playing by the rules led to economic security—is a thing of the past.

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