COMMENTARY | According to CNN, the private sector is joining the public sector in accounting for a weak economic recovery. While the public sector has recently been criticized for laying off workers, it appears the private sector is doing less than previously predicted to pick up any of the slack, with far fewer workers hired in April than anticipated. The weak recovery is beginning to suggest a scary future of permanently high unemployment and the possible expansion of a permanent "underclass" of unemployed and underemployed citizens.
Perhaps businesses and organizations learned how to produce as much as they needed with fewer workers during the Great Recession, meaning there is little incentive to increase payroll now. Workers worried about layoffs worked harder, making supervisors realize they could get more work out of them. Once that precedent had been established, what incentive did employers have to scale back on their demands? If most employers refuse to increase payroll workers will come to know that their Recession-era performance demands are now standard fare, removing their incentive to quit their jobs and seek greener pastures with other companies.
Basically, if things are still bad for workers today, there's not much chance they will get better. Employers know they can survive with fewer employees. Why go back to the old days of profit-draining payrolls?
Recession-forced boosts in individual worker performance has combined with modern technology to reveal that many workers are now extraneous. We don't need as many workers as we have people who need work. And, given the state of the weak economic recovery as well as the continuing pace of technological advances, it is likely that future generations will need ever lower percentages of people to work. As millions of young Americans graduate from college, how many are not needed because our work-til-you-drop, i-everything economy can make do with the workers it already has?
Something should be done, but it up to the politicians to figure out what that is and how to go about it.