Even Americans who are lucky enough to have work in this economy are becoming more unhappy with their jobs, according to a new survey that found only 45 percent of Americans are satisfied with their work.
That was the lowest level ever recorded by the Conference Board research group in more than 22 years of studying the issue. In 2008, 49 percent of those surveyed reported satisfaction with their jobs.
Certainly a large part of this has to do with the fact that people feel stuck in their jobs. The normal process of moving up or moving on has been dramatically affected by the deep recession and skyrocketing unemployment.
That isn't the whole picture. This study finds that employee unhappiness has been increasing for the last 20 years.
Workers have grown steadily more unhappy for a variety of reasons:
-- Fewer workers consider their jobs to be interesting.
-- Incomes have not kept up with inflation.
-- The soaring cost of health insurance has eaten into workers' take-home pay.
If the job satisfaction trend is not reversed, economists say, it could stifle innovation and hurt America's competitiveness and productivity. And it could make unhappy older workers less inclined to take the time to share their knowledge and skills with younger workers.
In other depressing employment news there were zero net jobs created in the last decade.
There has been zero net job creation since December 1999. No previous decade going back to the 1940s had job growth of less than 20 percent. Economic output rose at its slowest rate of any decade since the 1930s as well.
Middle-income households made less in 2008, when adjusted for inflation, than they did in 1999 -- and the number is sure to have declined further during a difficult 2009. The Aughts were the first decade of falling median incomes since figures were first compiled in the 1960s.
In other words, the US created more jobs during the Great Depression than we have in the last decade. This is grim news, especially when the economists are focused more on Wall St. than Main St. Without working Americans, our economy will continue to founder.
cross posted at workingamerica.org/blog