April 29, 2014

NYT Runs Lefty Group’s Evidence of ‘Fast-Food Recovery’ in Wages on Page B4; AP Ignores

The National Employment Law Project claims that it is dedicated to “working to restore the promise of economic opportunity in the 21st century economy.” That sounds promising, but then look at NELP’s directors and the supposed “solutions” the group and its friends advocate — e.g., higher minimum wage, “uphold the freedom to join a union.” etc. It’s clear that NELP is just another lefty advocacy group pushing the kinds of policies which have led to six years of economic weakness.

That said, NELP recently released research showing that jobs gained since the recession ended have skewed far more heavily towards low-wage industries than the jobs which were lost during the recession. Press coverage has been skimpy. The one major writeup at the New York Times on Sunday for Monday’s print edition appeared on Page B4. The nature of Annie Lowrey’s coverage at the Times led Fox News to accurately tease it as a story about the “Fast-Food Recovery.” Excerpts from the Times story follow the jump (bolds are mine):

Recovery Has Created Far More Low-Wage Jobs Than Better-Paid Ones

The deep recession wiped out primarily high-wage and middle-wage jobs. Yet the strongest employment growth during the sluggish recovery has been in low-wage work, at places like strip malls and fast-food restaurants.

In essence, the poor economy has replaced good jobs with bad ones. That is the conclusion of a new report from the National Employment Law Project, a research and advocacy group, analyzing employment trends four years into the recovery.

“Fast food is driving the bulk of the job growth at the low end — the job gains there are absolutely phenomenal,” said Michael Evangelist, the report’s author. “If this is the reality — if these jobs are here to stay and are going to be making up a considerable part of the economy — the question is, how do we make them better?”

The report shows that total employment has finally surpassed its pre-recession level. “The good news is we’re back to zero,” Mr. Evangelist said.

But job losses and gains have been skewed. Higher-wage industries — like accounting and legal work — shed 3.6 million positions during the recession and have added only 2.6 million positions during the recovery. But lower-wage industries lost two million jobs, then added 3.8 million.

6.7 percent — employers feel no pressure to raise wages for those who are working. As a result, the average household’s take-home pay has declined through the recession and the recovery to $51,017 in 2012 from $55,627 in 2007, after adjusting for inflation.

With joblessness high and job gains concentrated in low-wage industries, hundreds of thousands of Americans have accepted positions that pay less than they used to make, in some cases, sliding out of the middle class and into the ranks of the working poor.

Lowrey mentions President Obama’s name twice — both in connection with his advocacy of a higher minimum wage.

Lowrey also has nothing to say about the Keynesian policies which have only lengthened the economy’s malaise. She is apparently completely uninterested in why this alleged recovery is the worst since World War II, and apparently can’t be bothered to compare the current situation to the vastly superior economic performance seen during the supply-side-driven 1980s recovery and subsequent economic boom.

As far as I can tell, the Associated Press has run no story on NELP’s findings.

A search on NELP’s full name at Google News (in quotes; sorted by date) at 12:45 p.m. ET returned 40 results relating to its recent research. To the extent that there is establishment press coverage, it’s largely limited to blogs and business outlets, i.e., the news isn’t getting to many places where a relatively passive news consumer might see or hear it.

That stands in stark contrast to a 1987 Associated Press report during the aforementioned prosperity, which ran with predictions (hopes?) from multiple labor and other “experts” that lean times were on the horizon. Part of it is below:


As I noted back in 2011 when I first uncovered this AP gem from the archives, “Showing how downbeat press reports during Republican or conservative administrations are so often so very wrong, the economy during 1988 added 3.24 million seasonally adjusted jobs, up from 3.15 million in 1987.” And unlike now, the distribution of those jobs ended up not being skewed towards “hamburger flippers.”

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.


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