Obama ‘recovery’ good for waiters, bartenders

By Jerome R. Corsi

bartender
NEW YORK – Buried within the jobs report Friday that showed the official unemployment number has risen again to 5 percent was the discouraging news that while waiters and bartenders have risen to record numbers, the drop in higher-paying manufacturing jobs was the worst since 2009.

As noted by the widely read economic blog ZeroHedge.com, not all was lost by the increase in unemployment in March.

As has been the case for virtually every month in the much-hyped Obama “economic recovery,” just about every worker laid off in manufacturing could find a job as a waiter or bartender.

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The “food services and drinking places” category – waiters, bartenders and minimum-wage line cooks – rose again to a new record high of 11,307,000 workers, an increase of 25,000 in the month, offsetting virtually all lost manufacturing jobs, ZeroHedge.com pointed out.

Enough to lose sleep over

The payroll increase of 215,000 jobs in March appeared largely a result in a surge of what the Department of Labor’s household survey calls “involuntary part-time workers” – people who prefer to work full-time but can only find part-time work – a number that bounced up to 6.1 million after hitting a post-recession low of 5.8 million in October, as noted by Market Watch.

On Friday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics also reported the number of foreign-born people employed in the United States hit a record high in March, registering a total of 25,741,000, an increase of 246,000 over the previous high recorded in November.

Perhaps the employment numbers explain why a Harris Poll conducted in March showed fully 44 percent of American workers say they have lost sleep because they are worried about work, with approximately one in four saying they lose sleep over job worries at least one night each week.

“Numerous studies show that job stress is far and away the major source of stress for American adults and that it has escalated progressively over the past few decades,” according an American Institute of Stress study, as also noted by Market Watch.

The rise of robots

As if this gloomy job news were not enough to deepen Middle America angst over the overseas outsourcing of jobs, now comes news of a rise in robots capable of replacing human beings in many different job categories.

With 93.5 million Americans reported out of the labor force in March, the fight to hold on to the diminishing number of full-time, high-paying jobs is certain to be intensified as technological developments produce future generations of work-ready robots that, unlike their human counterparts, don’t make demands for minimum wages, increased vacation time or health care benefits.

A 2013 study conducted by researchers at Oxford University speculated that as many as 47 percent of all jobs in the United States are at risk of “computerization.”

A Pew Research Center study reported in March showed that two-thirds of Americans agreed that within 50 years, robots and computers will do much of the work currently done by humans. But perhaps predictably, few workers expect their own jobs or professions to be substantially impacted.

A report to the 2016 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, “The Future of Jobs,” estimated that 5 million jobs will be lost to automation by 2020. The number will keep growing, with even jobs once considered safe, such as office work, administrative jobs and even jobs in the profession of law being among the hardest hit.

The Davos report predicted that among the growth areas are business and financial operations, management, computer and mathematical, architecture and engineering, sales-related retail, as well as jobs in education and training.

The study concluded that by 2020, to be successfully employed, technical skills will need to be supplemented by strong social and collaborative skill, with abilities developed in persuasion, emotional intelligence and teaching acumen.

Yet the question remains: What will happen when future generations of robots are programmed to look increasingly human and become capable of expressing a full range of emotions and exercising maturity of judgment, perhaps even more appropriately than is common for many human workers today?

Will we then begin to see even robot teachers, doctors, and maybe even journalists capable of researching, reporting, writing and editing news stories?

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