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Taysir Aljumah

Tamera Davis
Composition II
2 October 2015
Job Insecurity and Poverty
Rising job insecurity and the associated economic insecurity and poverty in the United
States are the result of changes due to the move away from an industrial, manufacturing
economy to a knowledge-based services economy. This has meant that decent, manufacturing
jobs previously available to high school graduates in factories around the country have
increasingly disappeared. In their place, the economy has become more and more two-tiered with
service jobs such as those in supermarkets and fast food restaurants for those without postsecondary education, and more specialized, knowledge-based jobs for those with college and
graduate degrees. As a result, almost four-fifths of adults in the U.S. experience economic
insecurity at some point in their lives. The best way to improve job security and economic
security in the U.S. is for high school graduates to make sure that they get associates or
bachelors degrees, and the federal, state, and local governments should help make it financially
possible for people from disadvantaged economic backgrounds to be able to attend and graduate
from college (History).
After World War II, the United States was economically pre-eminent, with other countries
either destroyed by the war or yet to start developing economically. America at this moment,
said the former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill in 1945, stands at the summit of the
world (1950S). During the 1950s, it was easy to see what Churchill meant. The United
States was the worlds strongest military power. Its economy was booming, and the fruits of this

prosperitynew cars, suburban houses and other consumer goodswere available to more people
than ever before. The 1950s were booming times for the US economy with high domestic
demand driving increasing production. GIs returning from the war went to college with
government assistance, and they moved into homes that they purchased with government
assistance, and started families. All this drove up demand in the US, and this was good for the
economy and for the employment situation in the US. This was because the increased demand
for goods and services had to be met with increased production, which in turn had to be met by
hiring more workers. Many of these jobs were manufacturing jobs in factories which had been
turned from factories producing armaments for the war to factories producing consumer goods
for the growing middle class. Many of these jobs also only required that new hires be high school
graduates, and paid enough for workers to be part of the growing middle class. Thus, workers,
with the decent wages they were paid, were able to purchase many of the items they helped
make, from clothes to cars.
With the economic development of other countries in Europe, Asia, Africa, and Latin
America, there was more competition in economic terms for the US. This meant that goods could
be made by workers in those countries working for wages much lower than those paid in the US.
As a result, many manufacturing-related jobs in the US moved to Mexico and other countries in
Asia such as China and Vietnam. Part of this has been driven by the North American Free Trade
Agreement (NAFTA) and the globalization of the world economy, which by bringing about
economies more open to international trade, has made it possible for multinational corporations
to move their manufacturing operations to the most cost-effective location in the world. As
globalization transforms the world economy, in fact, many U.S.-based companies are shifting the
balance of their workforces overseas. Ford, for example, reported in 1992 that 53 percent of its

employees worked in the U.S. and Canada. By 2009, its North American workforce (by then
Ford had expanded to Mexico) made up only 37 percent of total payroll (Job). This trade has
been beneficial to US consumers in the form of lower prices for a wider variety of goods and
items.
At the same time, US workers have been hurt by the loss of manufacturing jobs overseas.
Trade both creates and destroys jobs. Increases in U.S. exports tend to create jobs in this
country, but increases in imports tend to reduce jobs because the imports displace goods that
otherwise would have been made in the United States by domestic workers (4 in 5). The only
jobs available to people without a college education are service jobs in supermarkets and fastfood restaurants. With union organizing efforts crippled by a regulatory structure that has not
kept up with changing corporate practices and the increasing popularity of so-called right-towork laws, the cards are stacked against workers these days in terms of labor law, says Gerald
J. Beyer, an associate professor of Christian social ethics at Saint Josephs University in
Philadelphia. So, it is not surprising that service jobs do not pay well enough for people to be
able to provide for families. Many of them also do not have associated benefits such as health
benefits. While racial and ethnic minorities are more likely to live in poverty, race disparities in
the poverty rate have narrowed substantially since the 1970s, census data show. Economic
insecurity among whites also is more pervasive than is shown in the government's poverty data,
engulfing more than 76% of white adults by the time they turn 60 (4 in 5). Due to the recent
recession, many people even count themselves lucky if they get these service jobs. But, they are
still not able to take adequate care of their children due to the low pay. More children in the
United States were living in financially strapped households in 2012 than in 2005 before the
economic downturn, according to an annual report on child well-being from the Annie E. Casey

Foundation. Due to the growth in such service jobs in supermarkets and fast-food restaurants,
there has also been a growth in job insecurity for people can easily be laid off or fired from such
jobs, and a growth in economic insecurity because people do not make enough or get decent
benefits even when they have these jobs.
Therefore it is not surprising that almost four-fifths of adults in the United States face
economic insecurity. Four out of 5 U.S. adults struggle with joblessness, near-poverty or
reliance on welfare for at least parts of their lives, a sign of deteriorating economic security and
an elusive American dream (4 in 5). The best way for these adults to improve their economic
security is by getting better jobs. In order to get better jobs, they need to have the skills necessary
to get those jobs. Today, the US economy is increasingly two-tiered with low-paying service jobs
and well-paying knowledge-based jobs. In order to get the well-paying knowledge-based jobs in
such areas as engineering, technology, architecture, and design, people need to have college
degrees in those areas. Many people from economically disadvantaged backgrounds find it hard
to attend college for financial reasons. The federal, state, and local governments should provide
financial assistance to these people to make it possible for them to attend college and get college
degrees so that they are better equipped to take part in the knowledge-based economy. Adults
worried about taking on big student loans can find at least a little relief in the new income-based
repayment option that will cap their monthly payments on their federal loans below 15 percent of
their income. Those who work in public service and make 10 years of payments could get
anything that's left of their federal loans forgiven.

Work Cited
Clarke, Kevin. "Job Insecurity." America: The Catholic Review. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Sept. 2015.
<http://americamagazine.org/issue/article/job-insecurity>.

The 1950S. History. 2015. www.history.com 27 September 2015

Yen, Hope. "4 in 5 in USA Face Near-poverty, No Work." USA Today. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Sept.
2015. <http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2013/07/28/americans-povertyno work/2594203/>.
Annotated Bib
This essay is about Job Insecurity and Poverty. I wrote this essay October 02, 2015. I
wrote this essay about poverty in the United States. I explain what poverty is. This
essay is written by Taysir Aljumah