Right away the article points out that unemployment in America is at 4.7%, down from the 10% we had during the worst of our still-ongoing depression.
Oh, did you want me to call it a recession, perhaps the Great Recession?
Why make the bankers feel good about the fucking they gave us by calling it that?
I won’t call it that.
A recession is two quarters of shoddy economic activity and trade. A depression is simply a prolonged recession.
Yeah, isn’t that nice – no set time frame. That’s good for the bankers.
But back to the article.
My goodness…can you believe they say only 2 million people have been out of work for six months or more?
I can’t believe that.
Maybe it’s because we looked at the dismal employment rates for men in rural Montana counties way back in December 2014.
At that point it was the New York Times doing a story on employment, and in Montana it didn’t look good.
Back then we figured that around 11% of working-age men in Lewis and Clark County weren’t working, 18% in Missoula County, and a whopping 49% in Powell County.
I’m going with the low-end of the spectrum on those numbers as well, as you’ll see if you visit that report.
Today we’re told that 37.4% of Americans aren’t working and aren’t looking for work.
Yes, the labor force participation rate is just 62.6%.
Is that good? Well, maybe if you’re still living in the 1970s it is, for that was the last time it’s been so dismal.
We’re told that just 88% of working age men – those between 25 and 54 in age – are working. In 1954 we had 98% of working age American men working.
One explanation that the article gives is that “the problem is one of education and the erosion of demand for low-skilled workers.” We’re told that more than 90% “of college-educated men are in the workforce” compared with the 83% of high school-educated men.
The article is pretty short, coming in at around 900 words.
We’re told how things are, but we’re not given many ideas on how to fix it.
So how can we fix it?
Many up in the Flathead think wages are an issue. Despite the 900 open positions up there, they can’t find enough workers to fill ‘em.
“The openings span a wide range of industries,” we’re told,” from construction to manufacturing and professional services. But the most pressing needs involved tourism-related businesses in the service industry.”
That’s why one restaurant is paying $13 for workers. Another decided to close at 7 PM instead of pay people more.
Well, that’s what I’m assuming – maybe the place closed because it couldn’t find anyone either.
I know this problem is not just in the Flathead. When I was in Helena a couple months ago McDonald’s was running a TV ad telling people they’d pay $12 an hour for workers.
Wow, $12 an hour at McDonalds!
So clearly, some service industry employers will pay top-dollar for workers…because they know if they don’t they’ll struggle.
Let’s face it, when you’re in business and you struggle you know that profits will fall, costs will likely go up. And let’s not get into the disappearing free time and sanity of our managers!
We’re told that up in the Flathead the unemployment rate is 5.6%, “among the highest in the state.” That means 2,500 people don’t have jobs.
Wages are again pointed to for a reason, as the average for all Montana occupations is $18.79 an hour, meaning you earn $39,000 a year.
In the Flathead the average is $17.79 an hour, or $37,000 a year.
That yearly rate is bullshit, as we know most aren’t working 40 hours and they have forced time off, for holidays.
Yeah, those of us not in the cushy and benefits-giving government jobs don’t get paid holidays.
Most of the time our place of business is closed and we have less on that paycheck, deal with it the best you can.
Still, even in the Flathead employers pinch pennies and don’t pay workers…why?
So they can have a bigger house, more money for that summer vacation, a boat in the fucking driveway?
I feel no pity towards these Flathead employers, none at all.
Nor do I hold pity for the workers. Swallow your fucking pride and go get that restaurant job for $13 an hour!
But for a man that’s been working on the production line for years, the idea of working the line in the kitchen isn’t appealing.
So they stay home, perhaps make a bit on the side, under the table, or rely on the wife or family.
Maybe they can get early Social Security and just rough it out. But my God, that pride will never be threatened by getting a menial service-industry job.
I started working in 1996 at Baskin Robbins in Helena and made $5.15 an hour.
I think I got paid $6 when I worked for the School District for a time and then I got the huge rate of $8.26 an hour for the two years I did with the Feds.
That was only 20 hours a week, however. When I moved to Missoula in 2001 I made $6 an hour or so working in restaurants, lots of restaurants.
So I know what that menial pay is like for that menial work. I also understand why so many of us are fat – we don’t give a shit about paying for quality food, we sure as shit don’t care about paying the people who make it.
You’d think our food supply and the preparation of it would be worth something, that we’d pay to ensure what we put into our bodies is good.
Instead we seek out the cheapest and unhealthiest things we can find and ensure the people making them are living in poverty, chained to food stamps, and have no hope of advancement.
Did I need to point out again how broken our society is?
Anyways, in that Flathead Beacon article I suggested we unionize our service industry workers.
As usual, this idea will go nowhere. Despite the Montana AFL-CIO having their big convention on Friday and Saturday, this will not be discussed.
We just don’t care about workers anymore in this country, we just don’t.
We don’t pay them anything and tons aren’t even working anymore.
Then we get all pissed off when it’s clear the non-working white men of this country will vote for Trump in droves.
No shit, Sherlock – he’s telling us what we want to hear!
There are no jobs (remember, the 900 in the Flathead don’t count for men with pride) and the pay for them would be shit anyways.
Fucking $39,000 a year?
Wow, thanks – I’ll move a couple hundred miles out of state and double that, thank you very much, asshole.
And that, my friend, is the idea.
Take that asshole's way of thinking.
Go, just go.
We don’t need you here. Montana is a place to rip things out of the ground for the rich back East, always has been.
Lately it’s become a retirement mecca for celebrities and old folks. Hey, it ain’t year-round like Florida but we have Arizona for that, maybe California.
Course, Boze-Angelas is just as good, and if you can get over to Livingston or the Paradise Valley, all the better.
No, we don’t worry about blue color union workers in those places anymore – the railroad changing hands 30 years ago did away with that riff-raff.
It’s trendy boutiques now, a bit of hi-tech industry, and as many latte shops as you can handle.
If you’d like to serve the elite that flock here, why not check out some of outlying areas on the edge of town, or better yet, well past it.
- Places like Darby and Frenchtown, Florence and Clinton if you're here in Missoula.
- If you’re up in the Flathead maybe it’ll be Evergreen or Somers or Creston.
- Over in Bozeman you can live in Belgrade, maybe Manhattan.
Certainly don’t live near where you work, for we don’t want you and we’ve driven up prices to make that clear.
Town is for rich people, those that you serve and that pay your wages.
If you don’t like it, leave. Montana doesn’t need young people, it certainly doesn’t need out of work men.
Or were we getting a different message in the ‘Treasure’ State?