Let’s talk about poverty in America today. In his 2014 State of the Union address President Obama stated the unemployment rate was the lowest in over five years. He stated the manufacturing sector is adding jobs for the first time since the 1990’s. He stated we have a rebounding housing market.
“The lowest unemployment rate in over five years. A rebounding housing market. A manufacturing sector that’s adding jobs for the first time since the 1990s. More oil produced at home than we buy from the rest of the world – the first time that’s happened in nearly twenty years.”
Today a blog post in the Huffington Post by Paula Bray tells a different story. “Mr. President, This Is My America: Life in an RV Park with a Master’s Degree”
Today Radio Shack announced it is laying off 500 employees. JC Penney’s has closed 33 stores and laid off 2000 workers. Time has announced 500 layoffs today. KEE Action Sports has closed its Clearwater, Florida manufacturing facility and is shipping most of its jobs to Asia where it is cheaper. KEE is the largest manufacturer of paint balls worldwide. Yankee One Dollar Stores is closing all 25 of its stores putting about 150 people out of work. They say it’s because of the Affordable Care Act and New York State’s increased minimum wage (to $8.00 hourly). In Shiloh, Ohio Voisard Manufacturing has closed leaving more than 100 employees without jobs. The 85 year old company builds metal parts used in the construction, environmental, transportation, material handling, electrical and special equipment industries. I could go on but look for yourself.
In Knoxville, Tennessee a Simon Mall, Knoxville Center, has many empty storefronts. Once a lively mall with stores and kiosks it struggles even during the not so brisk holiday season. I know. I used to work there. I have watched it deteriorate. I have watched businesses leave. I haven’t seen many new ones come in and those that do rarely last.
How about healthcare? Everyone knows healthcare is always thriving. Hospitals, clinics, medical practices all do well no matter what the economy looks like. Kindred Hospital in Easton Pennsylvania notified the state they are closing. It isn’t a large facility. It’s a long term acute facility. Perhaps the 105 employees who will be jobless don’t register on President Obama’s radar. They register on the radar of the families of the employees and the residents of the facility.
If things are better who exactly are they better for? Who is benefitting from these newly created jobs and what companies are adding jobs? I’m sure those who are currently seeking employment would like to know.