Paychecks Clobbered, Workers Seeking Change

In two economic reports released to coincide with the celebration of Labor Day in the United States, worker pay is an issue.

In its annual Labor Day report, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) says its report is good news for manufacturers, but soaring energy costs are hurting manufacturing workers at the pump and in their paychecks. According to NAM's President and Chief Executive Officer John Engler, "It illustrates the need for energy reform to become a national policy."

Manufacturing production increased at its fastest pace in six years and jobs on the factory floor have posted their strongest gains since 1998. "Healthy productivity growth, combined with a tightening labor market, has continued to boost workers' real, inflation adjusted wages," said David Huether, the NAM's chief economist.

"But while workers' total compensation has continued to outpace inflation, wages have not," Huether said.  "Surging energy prices have propelled inflation at a faster pace than workers' take-home pay, and have resulted in declines in real wages for working Americans."

"Over the past year, energy prices have risen 23 percent due to increased global demand, limited domestic supplies, natural disasters and global instability," Engler said. "As a result, real wages have fallen by 0.5 percent over the past year when they should have gone up by 1.2 percent."

Looking for a job?

Labor Day is coming and so are the surveys about the status of the labor force. The Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) conducted a survey of information technology (IT) workers and found that 60 percent are looking for new jobs. Just 7 percent of those surveyed work in manufacturing though.

The survey of nearly 1,000 IT workers found 58 percent are looking for new jobs and 80 percent of those say the search is somewhat or very active. Why are they looking? Higher pay tops the list cited by 73 percent of those seeking new positions. But 66 percent cited no opportunity for advancement where they are now, with 58 percent noting they are looking for a new challenge.

CompTIA represents the business interests of the IT industry.

Computing Technology Industry Association

National Association of Manufacturers


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