Saturday, January 26, 2013

Things Are Looking Up...For Some

Trey Smith

I have made this point before, but I'm going to make it again. The economy is showing signs of recovery for a small segment of society, but for the rest of us, we're still in the doldrums.

A recent report came out this week that shows that Pacific County (where I live) and Grays Harbor County (just to the north -- where I used to live) are still struggling mightily with unemployment. Both hover around 12 percent or 1 out of every 8.5 people is out of work.

Hey, but who cares? The stock market is booming!!

Of course, a good deal of the jobs being created these days are SERVICE jobs. You know, the sector that pays the least? The folks in the service sector, by and large, make in the vicinity of the minimum wage. It is barely enough to live on...if you can find decent housing.

As I've reported in this space before, Della and I are learning about this aspect firsthand. From what I've seen, the average price of a rental unit in the Columbia Gorge is more than $1000/month. In Washington -- we have the highest minimum wage at $9.04/hour -- a full-time worker who is paid the minimum wage earns around $1540.00 per month BEFORE taxes. Even if a family has two full-time minimum wage workers, $1000 is too much to pay simply to have a roof over your head!

That figure above doesn't include utilities, food, car expenses, health care or any of the other routine costs of living in "the greatest nation in this history of the world." By the time you add up all those other expenses, particularly if you have children, you don't have any money left. It becomes next too impossible to save for a rainy day. Heck, it is near too impossible to pay all your bills on time!

And yet, these legions of minimum wage workers are expected to show up on time with smiles on their faces to serve those of means. Miss a day because of a sick child or some other routine reason and you may find your dinky job has been given to someone else!!

Yes, things are looking up all right...just not for the hard-working majority.

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