Saturday, January 12, 2019

57 Million Americans Are Worse Off Than Furloughed Feds

Unemployed men in 1931 dressed better than almost anyone does today 

As direct-hire employees of the U.S. federal government, you and I have a rare good deal. Don't doubt it. Many of my fellow feds have never experienced the private sector, but over in the world of 'at will' employment there is no job security at all, and paychecks do not always arrive on time when liquidity crises occur. Almost no one in the private sector has defined benefits plans anymore, and pensions went away along with the industrial economy. The economic uncertainty some feds are now experiencing is the norm for quite a few of our fellow citizens.

I get it that people have sad tales to tell, but the plight of some federally-employed people simply does not have the political utility some think it has. Americans who live in the gig economy all the time are not likely to be moved.

Today 36 percent of all workers in the U.S. are in the gig economy, where there is no expectation of the kind of pay and benefits that federal employees can take for granted. And we can take it for granted, even if it is temporarily delayed.
"Gallup estimates that 29% of all workers in the U.S. have an alternative work arrangement as their primary job. This includes a quarter of all full-time workers (24%) and half of all part-time workers (49%). Including multiple job holders, 36% have a gig work arrangement in some capacity."

This works out to about 57 million Americans.

Gallup has a broad definition of gig work. Again from their report:

...the gig economy includes multiple types of alternative work arrangements such as independent contractors, online platform workers, contract firm workers, on-call workers and temporary workers.

About those defined benefit plans, they are very scare Outside the Beltway:
The percentage of workers in the private sector whose only retirement account is a defined benefit pension plan is now 4%, down from 60% in the early 1980s. About 14% of companies offer a combination of both types.

Meanwhile, the few employers that still offer traditional pensions - typically industries with a strong union presence, such as the airline and auto sectors – have been working overtime to cut deals to either reduce or eliminate their plans.

If you work for the government?

That's a different story. Traditional pensions are still offered by about 84% of state and local governments.

So count your blessings, and get a second job, just like so many others have to do all the time. Hey, they always need substitute teachers:
Fairfax County Public Schools has added a second hiring event for furloughed federal employees interested in substitute teaching positions. The event is scheduled for Tuesday, January 15, from 2 to 4:30 p.m. at the FCPS Administration Center, 8115 Gatehouse Road, Falls Church, VA 22042. The initial event, scheduled for Friday, January 11, is at capacity.

Don't turn up your nose at sub jobs. They're scheduled day-by-day, so are good for people who may be called back to work at any time, and any type of second job beats applying for unemployment insurance. The money you make is yours, whereas that unemployment benefit will have to be paid back after the shutdown is over, and to qualify for it in the first place you have to be seeking a new job – usually proven by going on three job interviews a week – whereas you furloughed feds aren’t, really, seeking another job.

And don't forget, there are three federal government paydays in January, so everyone had already gotten one check before the lapse in appropriations hit for some yesterday. That will help.

No one can tell how much longer the shutdown will last. Since Trump is passing on the Davos conference this year, that might suggest he expects it to go on past the conference dates of January 22-25. The State of the Union address is scheduled for January 29, and that seems like it would be a good time to wrap things up. Who knows? But I would not expect it to end before the SOTU.


Anonymous said...

Good post TSB. I was listening to the head of the government contractors association this morning on C-Span. They have a lot of low wage workers that don't get paid at all for any work they miss but the contractors themselves often have to pay double to work on federal facilities what they pay for private, plumbing, electrical etc so they are really yacking about lost revenue. Even my gig job has gotten easier because people are desperate to get money to help pay medicine and housing expenses, get car repairs etc. gwb

Anonymous said...

TSB: Joe Lieberman tweeted: AOC is NOT the future of the Democratic Party!
AOC tweeted back: Who this?? gwb

Anonymous said...

TSB: Just saw this on front page of the Atlanta Journal Constitution: US Postal Jobs

Starting Salary is $51,000 a Year. No
Experience Necessary. Start Now! Great job for TSA Screamers! Of course, I think you have to be able to read, write and maybe even drive like a Brit? gwb

Anonymous said...

TSB: I have looked into this and found that it's caused by not eating enough hot dogs and not taking the afternoon off enough. gwb

Anonymous said...

TSB: Guess who just set the record for the most watched speech in C-Span History?? AOC’s First Speech Breaks CSPAN Record For Views and Tweets! OCA-2024!

Anonymous said...

TSB: Ooopsi! Did I forget the link??

Anonymous said...

TSB: Poor President Macron wants to meet with local officials and give a speech. Unfortunately, he can't seem to find a small enough town to lock down and avoid the local's calls for his resignation. Looks like another long weekend for him and the gendarmies. gwb