The Power of Fred

Posted: Dec 06, 2014 12:01 AM
The Power of Fred

Fred is 71 years old and keeps coming back like a bad penny. The fact is, however, that retailers who hire Fred year after year from Thanksgiving to Christmas love him.

We just learned that the United States added 321,000 jobs in November. The most since 2012 if you believe the BLS’ Establishment Survey. Not so sunny if you believe the Household Survey which showed only a 4,000 job increase to 147,287. But let’s go with the BLS’ numbers and get back to Fred.

The retailers know Fred will show up for work on time. He will give an honest day’s effort without spending much of his time texting. They also know that he was born in the good old US of A and has no problem with immigration papers. Finally, Fred knows that his job is only part-time and he will be let go after the Holidays upon collecting his minimum wage and no benefits. The perfect part-time employee.

All of this, Fred and others included, was reported in the latest jobs report.

The 16-24 year olds, college graduates included, lost 169,000 jobs last month while those over 55, and this includes our Fred, saw their number of jobs rise to an all time high of 32.8 million. Undocumenteds weren’t discussed.

Fred’s days are numbered. His blue collar career is over, no college degree and his savings are depleted due to a zero interest rate policy by the Federal Reserve. But Fred knows that his willingness to take less of a wage and his old-time work ethic will always make him employable as a part-time counter clerk, a part-time coffee server, a part-time teacher’s assistant, a part-time waiter, a part-time night guard, or even, obviously, a part-time Santa Claus.

Below the headlines of 321,000 new jobs is the continued reality that full-time jobs were down (150,000) and part-time jobs were up. In addition the participation rate remains at a 35 year low.

Obama promised when he took office that things would change. The college students after hearing that promise believed that a college education and degree would be the pathway to a better tomorrow. Promise broken. Now the President, by giving amnesty to almost 5 million Undocumenteds made the same promise. Come out of the shadows he said and the job market will offer you a pathway to a better tomorrow. (Sound familiar graduates?)

What the President didn’t count on was: