Louis Uchitelle has a strong and heart-breaking story about the choices auto workers are having to make as tens of thousands of them leave the industry--the largest exodus of workers from one American industry in decades, according to the story.
What caught my eye, within the wrenching stories, was this paragraph:
Across America, more than 30 million people have been forced out of jobs since the early 1980s, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports, and regaining lost incomes has not been easy. Nearly 50 million new jobs have been created over that same period, according to the bureau, so there are always new opportunities but more often than not at lower pay. Among those who have lost work, only a third held new jobs two years later that paid as well as those that were lost, according to the bureau’s surveys of displaced workers. Another third of those displaced were in jobs that paid, on average, 15 to 20 percent less than their previous employment — while the final third had dropped out of the labor force entirely.
If you wonder why the savings rate is so low--actually, negative--and why personal debt is at record highs, there you have it--if only a third of the people out of 30 million people who have been forced from their jobs since the 1980s can find work that pays as well as the jobs they left, it is no wonder that people are struggling under a mountain of debt. This is not some trend that requires "personal responsibility"--the debt comes from a dramatic shift in the world we live in.