portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article reposts oregon & cascadia

economic justice | labor | social services

Oregon's lower-paying jobs affect hunger rate

Since the 1970s, Oregon has been shifting away from higher-paying manufacturing jobs toward lower-pay retail and service jobs, said Brian Rooney, a labor economist with the state Employment Department.
November 16, 2003
 http://www.registerguard.com/news/2003/11/16/a13.hungerside.1116.html


It's hard to make ends meet and support a family when you earn just $8.50 or $9 an hour.

But jobs paying much more are hard to find in Lane County, particularly for people with minimal education or training.

The days when high school graduates could head to the forests or mills and make a living wage are long gone. Now, schooling and skills are key.

"Things have really switched around," said Bill Conerly, a Portland economist. "Now it's a tough job market for the low-skilled."

Since the 1970s, Oregon has been shifting away from higher-paying manufacturing jobs toward lower-pay retail and service jobs, said Brian Rooney, a labor economist with the state Employment Department.

The move is part of a nationwide trend away from production, as manufacturers head overseas to take advantage of lower labor costs and lax environmental laws. Technology also has played a big role, helping U.S. factories produce more with less labor.

The growth in lower-wage jobs - taking place as housing and other costs have soared - is partly to blame for the state's high hunger rating, experts say.

In Lane County, the decline of the wood products industry accounts for much of the slide in better-paying low-skill jobs. Job growth in high-tech and recreational vehicle manufacturing have helped offset those losses, but at lower wages.

"High-tech production jobs here in Lane County don't pay as well as the lumber and wood products jobs we had back in the '80s," Rooney said.

Between 1991 and 2002, employment in the low-paying service sector grew almost 50 percent in Lane County, according to Employment Department figures. Retail jobs grew 20 percent in the same period. Manufacturing grew by only 10.6 percent. The shift has caused pay to be eroded by inflation.

Lane County's average annual wage in 2002 was $29,427. The 1976 average wage was $10,400. Adjust the 1976 wage for inflation, and it equals $32,882 in 2002 dollars, according to the Employment Department. So real average wages have actually declined by $3,455, or 10.5 percent, since 1976.

Bringing higher-wage jobs to Oregon is the best way to reduce poverty and hunger, experts agree.

But Oregon's job market seems headed in the opposite direction, with much of the new job creation in the next decade expected to occur in lower-paying service fields.

The Employment Department projects that one in five job openings from 2002 to 2012 will be in service jobs, such as restaurant or janitorial work.

Occupations with the most total job openings forecast for 2002-2012 include retail sales with 27,944 openings; cashiers at 21,405; food preparation workers at 18,529; and waiters and waitresses at 17,804.

homepage: homepage: http://www.registerguard.com

hmm 17.Nov.2003 01:54

boonplod

working (in a conventional job) is pointless, if you dont make something essential to human life, or something that can be traded for something essential (food. clothing, shelter, art), then you dont really deserve to live... the human race is vastly over populous... so ensure you place in tommorow by startinig a farm today.

if that sounds harsh, then maybe you should take a little look see at nature..

... 17.Nov.2003 09:59

this thing here

>Since the 1970s, Oregon has been shifting away from higher-paying manufacturing jobs toward lower-pay retail and service jobs, said Brian Rooney, a labor economist with the state Employment Department.

The move is part of a nationwide trend away from production, as manufacturers head overseas to take advantage of lower labor costs and lax environmental laws.<

hey kids! why are you even going to college? don't you know that professional and manufacturing jobs are being outsourced or completely eliminated here in america? so in an estimated 10 years, your degree in mechanical/chemical/architectural/electrical/software engineering is will be essentially useless in the job market? that's right, useless! all of those jobs will be gone, gone, gone.

so come on down to your local job fair today and learn about the great careers in the service, retail, and unskilled labor industry. because around 2010, 99% of the jobs in america will be in the service and retail industry, with the remaining 1% in the elite management field. and that 1% will be covered by cronyism and nepotism, so your degree and your passion and your aspirations won't mean shit, but your name will mean everything. that's right, you gotta be born into it.

america is changing. you better change with it, or live underneath bridges!

why do we have to work for them to get our share? 17.Nov.2003 13:23

mamansita

the problem here- it seems clear to me- is not a lack of jobs to make $ but actually the necessity to make $ at all in order to meet basic human needs.
why do we have to work for people who abuse us and useus, then throw us away when we are no longer profitable, why do we have to rely on parasites to have a warm home and good food? what right do other people have to own another family's home at all.?

we have to learn essential skills to provide for ourselves rather than rely on bloodsuckers to take care of us. build your own home. plant a garden in the yard. better yet build your own home underground plant a garden on the rrof. we can learn these things. it is hard work but i swear it is easier and more meaningful, and less self-defeating and self-demeaning than just going out and getting a "real" job.

quit making money. start making a home, dinner, and more like-minded kinder friends. much love to the aunties and uncles and especially all the little cousins. soon it will be there turn

The Four Dumbest Things You Can Do in This Decade 18.Nov.2003 11:05

open mind

"america is changing. you better change with it, or live underneath bridges!"

How true. We are looking more and more like Latin America each day. When German companies start setting up factories in North Carolina to cut down on labor costs and because workers have no rights there (except the right not to belong to a union) it's a tell-tale sign that we're mimicking our poorer neighbors to the south.

In my opinion, the 4 dumbest things a person can do right now is:

1. Start a family (i.e. start having kids)

2. Take out a loan of any kind for any reason

3. Make major purchases or spend money on anything other than the basic necessitites

4. Live an unhealthy lifestyle (unnatural foods, smoking, booze, drugs, etc).


These things will ensure one's economic enslavement for the rest of one's life.