The beginning of the end for America’s middle class began during the late 1990’s and is now on life support following eight years of Barack Obama as head of the country. And in that time the one nation who has benefited the most from NAFTA and GATT is the one with the largest rising middle class in the world.
Yet coupled with this decline in high paying jobs because of corporations offshoring labor, another demographic has piled on to these devastated former industrial and manufacturing workers as the layoffs that took place following the 2008 financial crisis have allowed women in the U.S. to surpass men in being employed as of 2009.
With the recession on the brink of becoming the longest in the postwar era, a milestone may be at hand: Women are poised to surpass men on the nation’s payrolls, taking the majority for the first time in American history.
The reason has less to do with gender equality than with where the ax is falling.
The proportion of women who are working has changed very little since the recession started. But a full 82 percent of the job losses have befallen men, who are heavily represented in distressed industries like manufacturing and construction. Women tend to be employed in areas like education and health care, which are less sensitive to economic ups and downs, and in jobs that allow more time for child care and other domestic work. – NY Times
So the question to ask then is what are the ramifications of these trend shifts to heads of households who by nature are driven to be the breadwinners for their families and communities?
The answer lies in a new study published by Federal Reserve economist Justin Pierce and Peter Schott of Yale University where the decline in decent paying jobs in several industries because of offshoring has proven to be hazardous to the mental and physical well being of male workers in America.
New research has found a connection between rising mortality among middle-aged white American men and increased trade with China.
According to Federal Reserve economist Justin Pierce and Peter Schott of Yale University, a significant shift in the structure of the US economy may have become fatal for many workers in the country.
The study shows a “statistically significant relative increase in suicide and poisoning …concentrated among white males” from 2000 when President Clinton and Republican lawmakers allowed a major increase in imports from China.
Statistics showed that since then Chinese imports to the US have surged around five-fold to $483 billion last year.
The government’s change in policy led to competition with Chinese manufacturing which forced US factories to close. Many of those who had been laid off fell into depression or addiction.
“I’m in favor of free trade, but I’m also someone who believes that we should be honest about the consequences,” Schott said. “It doesn’t benefit everyone equally.”
Pierce and Schott examined records of deaths compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They found that even the areas with average levels of trade competition with China saw suicide increases of 3.5 percent and a 24 percent growth in the numbers of overdoses. – Russia Today
This type of phenomenon is actually not new to America, and occurred en masse just 80 years ago where over one million men who were laid off from their jobs during the Great Depression simply walked away from the families and became homeless vagabonds without any hope or inspiration to overcome their circumstances.
The Great Depression changed the family in several ways. Many couples delayed marriage, and divorce rates and birth rates dropped. Some men also abandoned their families; a 1940 poll revealed that 1.5 million married women were abandoned by their husbands. – Feinstein, Stephen. 2006. The 1930s: From the Great Depression to the Wizard of Oz. Revised Ed. Berkeley Heights, NJ: Enslow Publishers, Inc.
As we enter into a period of untenable debt, trade deficits close to $700 billion per year, and over 80% of all new jobs created since 2008 being either part-time, or low wage, it should come as no surprise that workers who have spent nearly a decade falling behind in building any type of future would see their lives cut short from stress or addiction, and it makes the President-Elect’s promise to rework our current trade deals no longer a luxury for Algonquin Round Tables, but a necessity to save a generation of workers who are quickly giving up on the rest of their lives.
Kenneth Schortgen Jr is a writer for The Daily Economist, Secretsofthefed.com, Roguemoney.net, and Viral Liberty, and hosts the popular youtube podcast on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Ken can also be heard Wednesday afternoons giving an weekly economic report on the Angel Clark radio show.