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There Is No Hope for Young People Outside the New Paradigm

Feb. 10, 2017 (EIRNS)—Confronting the emergence of true long-term economic, scientific and productivity growth among the cooperating Eurasian nations, the trans-Atlantic nations’ workforces, particularly their younger cohorts, are being brutalized. New reports show that both in Europe and the United States, younger entrants to the workforce—in addition to double-digit unemployment rates—cannot find steady work even after years of trying.

One treatment, "Europe’s Treadmill of Part-Time Employment" published in the New York Times on Feb. 8, dealt with Europe. There, more than half of all new jobs created since 2010 have been temporary contracts, and the process was underway well before 2010, in the "globalization era."

In Spain, for example, 18 million temporary jobs were contracted in 2016, against just 1.7 million long-term openings. In France more than 80% of new hires are in temporary employment. In Italy, most public and private hospital employees at all levels are temps. Thirty scientists working on nanotechnology for a German company in Spain discovered that they were the fourth "one-year" group of such scientists at the company in as many years.

The trend, reports the Times, is continuing to accelerate while the EU is supposed to be in some vaguely hoped "recovery." Since 2012, only 20% of temps have made it to steady work. In Europe as a whole, such contract employment averages 20% lower pay than steady employment, and nearly always lacks any benefits.

The Times chronicled the struggles of 10 young people with advanced degrees who have tried unsuccessfully for years, or even for more than a decade, to get a steady job. Going from gig to gig they do not qualify for mortgages, credit cards, even have difficulty obtaining cell-phone service contracts. They are among the better educated and skilled, and their problem is that of the majority of their entire generation now between 25 and 40.

In Barack Obama’s U.S. "recovery," a research paper published in January by Harvard and Princeton economists Alan Krueger and Lawrence Katz found the same situation. This is remarkable because Krueger was head of Obama’s Council of Economic Advisors. He is quoted: "We find that 94% of net job growth in the past decade was in the alternative work category. And over 60% was due to the [the rise] of independent contractors, freelancers and contract company workers.... Workers seeking full-time, steady work have lost."

They are talking about the categories of independent contractors, workers provided by contract firms, on-call workers, and temporary help agency workers. Combined, this grew as a share of the entire workforce from 10.7% in 2005 to 15.8% in 2015. The first two categories grew the most, and employees between 16-35 were the most affected by the shift. Some sectors such as entertainment, university education, computer technology have developed the preference for "permalance" workers, who work for years as contractors or even temp workers.