In our national desperation to create jobs, we’ve forgotten that quantity doesn’t necessarily mean quality. For instance, Rick Perry boasts of creating jobs in Texas, but Texas is tied with Mississippi for the highest percentage of minimum wage jobs in the nation. According to the latest jobs numbers, the United States gained 58,000 jobs in September, with an additional 45,000 communication workers returning to work after a strike. But as any busboy cleaning up after a Wall Street banker can tell you, not all jobs are created equal.
Of course, the 9.1% of unemployed Americans in our country would gladly take even the worst of jobs to put food on their tables. But as recent Census data reveals, 46.2 million Americans lived in poverty in 2010 — many of whom have jobs, just not jobs that are good enough. In fact, for all American workers, the Census Bureau found that media household incomes (adjusted for inflation) declined by 2.3% in 2010 over the previous year — even as worker productivity and corporate profits rose.
America needs an economic recovery not just on paper but on principle — where the quality of life for workers rises as the quantity of jobs and our overall economy grows. Which is why it’s deeply troubling that so many in our government are trying to undermine the quality of current jobs, let alone create more and better jobs for the future.