Fallout: The Financial Crisis

The state of the American worker

Nancy Marshall-Genzer Sep 1, 2008
HTML EMBED:
COPY
Fallout: The Financial Crisis

The state of the American worker

Nancy Marshall-Genzer Sep 1, 2008
HTML EMBED:
COPY

TEXT OF STORY

Scott Jagow: This being Labor Day, we decided to take a look at the state of the American worker. What’s happening with wages, insurance and buying power? Marketplace’s Nancy Marshall Genzer has more.


Nancy Marshall Genzer: Workers’ wages are a mixed bag. Cornell labor relations professor Harry Katz says, skilled workers are making good money.

Harry Katz: Workers who know how to make us of computers or help build those Boeing planes that are selling so well.

But low-skilled workers are finding their hours cut. Rising gas and food prices further erode their salaries. Economist Heidi Shierholz at the Economic Policy Institute, says these workers are spending less. Retailers then have to tighten their belts.

Heidi Shierholz: They’ll hire fewer workers, who’ll then become people who are spending a lot less, and you start to see this downward spiral.

As for insurance, the Census Bureau is reporting that the number of uninsured Americans actually fell last year, although that was only because more were insured through government programs. The Economic Policy Institute says the share of Americans with insurance coverage through an employer fell in 2007, for the seventh straight year.

In Washington, I’m Nancy Marshall Genzer for Marketplace.

We’re here to help you navigate this changed world and economy.

Our mission at Marketplace is to raise the economic intelligence of the country. It’s a tough task, but it’s never been more important.

In the past year, we’ve seen record unemployment, stimulus bills, and reddit users influencing the stock market. Marketplace helps you understand it all, will fact-based, approachable, and unbiased reporting.

Generous support from listeners and readers is what powers our nonprofit news—and your donation today will help provide this essential service. For just $5/month, you can sustain independent journalism that keeps you and thousands of others informed.