Invisible Unemployment, Wisconsin Prison Changes

Air Date:
Heard On Central Time

The jobless rate is down, but wages haven’t caught up. We talk to a reporter about the rise of ‘invisible unemployment.’ We also discuss changes coming to Wisconsin prisons over disciplanary measures for inmates, including solitary confinement.

Featured in this Show

  • If Economy Continues To Add Jobs, Why Are Wages Remaining Stagnant?

    The latest jobs report shows that the nation’s unemployment rate held steady last month at 5.8 percent and employers added 321,000 jobs to payrolls — far above expectations.

    But, as the economic recovery inches ahead, the question perplexing many economists no longer is where are the jobs. Rather, they are asking where are the wages?

    The lower unemployment rate isn’t translating into higher wages. In fact, the average increase in hourly wages has remained stuck at 2 percent since 2009.

    Deerek Thompson, The Atlantic magazine’s senior editor, attributes this trend at least in part to what he calls “invisibile unemployment.”

    “It’s discouraged workers and part-timers who want more hours. The official unemployment rate doesn’t consider them unemployed. So when we talk about the official unemployment rate — now at a lowish 5.8 percent — we’re ignoring these workers. They’re statistically invisible,” wrote Thompson.

    It’s really important to pay attention to this invisible, slightly less easy to identify group of people who are at the fringes of the economy but don’t technically count as employed, said Thompson.

    After conducting a statistical analysis of the labor market, Thompson concluded that not all jobs are created equal. Wage growth and job growth are happening in different places.

    “If you look at the industries that we are doing the best in adding new jobs in — we’re adding lots of jobs in sectors with stagnant wages, lots of jobs in retail, lots of jobs in food processing and service industries — wages aren’t growing. Where wages are growing is in other industries, like say manufacturing, where we’re actually not adding that many jobs,” Thompson said.

    Thompson warns that although adding new jobs as the economy is currently doing is certainly a positive thing, but a deeper look reveals that those jobs are in industries where wages simply aren’t budging.

  • Changes Coming To Disciplinary Rules At Wisconsin's Prisons

    A recently released memo suggests changes are coming to disciplanary actions at Wisconsin prisons, including the use of solitary confinement. A reporters discusses what changes we could see, and when they’d be put in place.

  • Jobless Rate Is Down. Why Are Wages Not Up?

    Nationwide employment is steadily increasing: the unemployment rate has been below six percent since October. With employment up, why have wages not followed? A look at the rise of “invisible unemployment.”

Episode Credits

  • Veronica Rueckert Host
  • Rob Ferrett Host
  • Marika Suval Producer
  • Chris Malina Producer
  • Derek Thompson Guest
  • Bill Lueders Guest