What the numbers show

(The Workers' Advocate, January 1, 1990, p. 5)


. Between 1979 and 1988, the capitalists eliminated 1.6 million jobs in manufacturing and another 237,000 jobs in mining. Even though there was a "recovery" and a growth in jobs in other sectors of the economy, there were 564,000 more unemployed workers in '88 than in '79 (by minimized government figures). And another three million workers were added to the list of those the government considers to not be in the labor force (due to giving up the search for work, problems getting child care, trouble finding transportation, illness, injuries, and so forth).

. The job growth that did take place during the decade was in lower-paying jobs. As many as half of the jobs created between 1980 and 1987 were contingent jobs. These were mostly part-time jobs where workers average only 56-60% of the pay of full-time workers, and in which less than a third get some kind of medical insurance and less than a fifth get pensions from the employers. The capitalists also increasingly employed lower-paid workers such as women, immigrants, and children. As a result of this and the wage cutting at the work places, hourly wages (adjusted for inflation) plummeted some 7% between 1979 and 1987. Even for workers still employed in higher-paying manufacturing jobs, real wages and benefits taken together fell 0.2% between 1985 and 1988.

. The job elimination, pay cuts, slashing of social benefit programs and so forth spread poverty like a plague. By minimized government figuring, some 31.9 million people lived in poverty in 1988, including nearly 32% of all black people and nearly 27% of all Latinos. A study for 1987 showed that the working poor made up one-third of all the poor aged 16 or over. As many as three million people, many of them workers, have been driven into homelessness.

. Meanwhile, in the work places, the capitalists combined jobs and pushed the workers at a faster and faster pace. As a result, crippling job injuries, harassment and firings made the work places into hellholes. <>

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