Page 12

12 | EXPRESS | 08.14.2019 | WEDNESDAY

nation+world

‘It’s not as easy as it was’ Many U.S. employees feel devalued even in a booming job market

STEVEN SENNE (AP)

ECONOMY For more than two decades, Ken White worked at a credit card processor. It was a good job, but it fell victim to the Great Recession. Today, at 56, White does similar work managing technology projects for a regional bank. And yet everything feels different. He is a contractor for a technology services firm that assigns him to the bank. He is paid less, and the bonuses and stock awards he once earned as a full-fledged employee are long gone. For all the U.S. economy’s robust job growth, White and many people like him don’t feel much like beneficiaries of what is now the longest expansion on record. The kinds of jobs they once enjoyed — permanent positions, with stability, bonuses, pensions, benefits and opportunities to move up — are now rarer. “It’s not as easy as it was,” White says. White’s evolution from employee to contractor is emblematic of a trend in the American workplace a full decade after the recession ended: The economy keeps growing. Unemployment is at a half-century low. Yet many people feel their jobs have been devalued by employers that increasingly assign a higher priority to shareholders and customers. Economic research, governEc ment data and interviews in with

Ken White’s transition from employee to contractor reflects recent changes in the U.S. workplace.

workers sketch a picture of lagging wages, eroding benefits and demands for employees to do more without more pay. The loyalty and security that many say they once felt from their employers have diminished, and with it some measure of their satisfaction. Experts point to a sea change in the American job experience that began decades ago but has grown more visible across a wider spectrum of jobs. They see a confluence of forces squeezing

Growing dissatisfaction An analysis of the 2018 General Social Survey found a rise in people saying their workplace has grown more demanding. Around one in three workers said they now face too much work to do everything well. About one in five said they held a job other than their main one. About threequarters said they had to work extra hours beyond their usual schedule at least one day a month. All those numbers are up from 2006. (AP)

workers — from globalization and workplace automation to a decline of labor unions, fiercer price competition and a growing use of outside firms and contractors. At the same time, the gulf between CEO pay and median worker pay has widened. Publicly traded companies are increasingly plowing cash into stock buybacks and shareholder dividends. Many measures of inequality still have not returned to where they were before the recession: The wealthiest Americans now hold a greater share of the nation’s wealth. Middle-income households have less home equity. Median household income, adjusted for inflation, has barely budged in two decades. And an analysis by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis found that corporate profits have far outpaced employee compensation since the early 2000s. The median pay of CEOs of companies in the S&P 500 index who have been in their job for at least two years jumped from $9.6 million in 2011 to $12 million last year. To earn as much as the CEO does in one year, a typical employee at most big companies in 2018 would have to work 158 years. “We’ve made decisions and baked into the structure this extreme inequality at this point,” said Barbara Dyer of the Good Companies, Good Jobs Initiative at MIT’s Sloan School of Management. “It’s a function of a lot of choices that we may not have even been conscious of.” MICHELLE R. SMITH (AP)

verbatim

“Give me y your tired and your poor who can stand on their own two feet and who will not become a public charge.” KEN CUCCINE CUCCINELLI, acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, saying Tuesday that the poem

etched on the Statue of Liberty welcoming immigrants to America should include a few new qualifiers

CIT Group set to buy Mutual of Omaha Bank for $1 billion

Three dogs die after swimming in toxic algae WILMINGTON, N.C. It took 15 minutes for the playdate to turn deadly. Melissa Martin and Denise Mintz’s three dogs — Abby, Izzy and Harpo — had spent Thursday evening romping in the mud and chasing their ball at a pond in Wilmington. The evening getaway was a welcome reprieve from the late-summer heat. But unbeknownst to the dogs and their owners, the relentless August sun had also made the pond a bathtub of toxins. A poisonous microscopic bacteria called blue-green algae had grown in the water, a threat Martin and Mintz did not know about until it was too late. On their way home, Abby, a white West Highland terrier, fell first and began to seize, Martin told CNN. They rushed to a veterinary hospital, where Izzy, also a Westie, began seizing as well. Then 6-year-old Harpo, a doodle mix that worked as a therapy dog for hospital patients, fell ill, too. By midnight, Martin told CNN, all three dogs were dead. Martin told the network she now hopes to help prevent more dog deaths by educating pet owners about the deadly algae blooms and advocating for warning signs near ponds, lakes and canals where the toxins have taken over. “I will not stop until I make positive change,” she told CNN. “I will not lose my dogs for nothing.” KATIE METTLER (THE WASHINGTON POST)

United Nations urges reluctant EU nations to assist over 500 migrants stranded on rescue ships in Mediterranean Sea

Profile for Express

Express 08142019  

Express 08142019