in Economics

U.S. jobs aren’t shorter, but they are riskier

James Surowiecki’s Lifers reviews some statistics and concludes that — contrary to popular belief — long-term employment in the U.S. hasn’t disappeared at all. But what has changed is the amount of risk employees are expected to shoulder in terms of…

  1. Benefits: Health benefits and pensions have decreased
  2. Stratification:Companies now tie compensation more closely to performance, so that people at the top take home much more, relative to their colleagues, than did the high-fliers of thirty-five years ago.
  3. Unemployment:People who are unemployed stay unemployed, on average, about fifty per cent longer now than they did in the seventies, and only about half as many receive unemployment insurance as did so in 1947.

Yale political scientist Jacob Hacker has called this “the great risk shift.

  1. I have been thinking about risk shifting lately. The health care spending account idea is another example

  2. Health care spending accounts are a sensitive issue with me, ever since I participated in one years ago, didn’t spend all my funds, and lost the balance at the end of the year. Why? No one could really explain it (other than “employers have been swindled by investment firms.”).

    The new HSAs allow you to rollover money, but as this meager ‘benefit’ goes to the employee, companies will lower their taxable assets in return for (still) making the investment firms richer.

    What we need is health plans not tied to companies, that acknowledge how knowledge workers often work as free agents.

    And/or non-profit cooperatively operated banks/investment vehicles as an alternative to financial services firms.

  3. I can’t resist appreciating the owners of this blog. Good information. Well Done.

    Charles Mercer

Comments are closed.