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Unskilled labor in America - Research Paper Example

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Unskilled workers who were mostly employed in industries such as steel mill and other manifesting firms formed strong labor unions and had a lot of influence.In recent times, the significance of the manufacturing industry is reducing due to cheap imports and foreign-based firms…
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Unskilled labor in America
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The position and role of unskilled labor in America have undergone many changes over the years owing to a myriad factors ranging from social, political, economic, demographic and others. They have being faced by a plethora of problems and have almost unanimously seemed to hold the lowest positions in the American labor market being subject to the lowest pay and often having to work in risky conditions, as well as unsecure terms of employment. Admittedly, the conditions for unskilled workers have improved greatly, and they are better protected by the constitution than they were in retrospect. However, it is notable that the composition of unskilled labor today is still mostly that of high school dropouts, and immigrants both legal and illegal with a disproportionally high representation from minority ethnic groups such as blacks and Hispanics compared to the fraction of the population they hold in the states. The condition unskilled lab pour in America will be explored with attention paid to the main challenges and issues them face and how these have influenced them over the years and how they might influence the future. The position of unskilled workers has always rendered them venerable to recession and similar economic problems. For instance, in 1982 they plummeted way below the skilled workers and were largely unable to compensate in the boom that characterized the later eighties (Wieck 316). In the recent financial crisis that coincided with president Obama’s election, the issue of joblessness was prominent especially among the unskilled labors. This is because most firms will deal with financial Crisis by cutting down on wages and job the unskilled labor is often seen as the most dispensable hence will likely be laid off (Cho and Newhouse 6). The low wages of the unskilled workers also affect negatively on their ability to purchase health insurance with many of them not being insured. This will present a problem come 2014 with the enactment of the health care law since many employers may not be able to hire them since they will be required to provide them insurance, which most do not at present (Furchgott-Roth). American trade policies also typically set up the unskilled laborers for unemployment; this is evidenced in the importation of foreign goods that are locally produced via labor-intensive techniques at prices lower than the local production cost (Pryor). These way local firms are forced to shut down or outsource to other countries like china and India. However, the government has tried to ensure the workers are not exploited by establishing The FLSA establishes minimum wage, which stipulates the minimum pay is not less 7.5$ an hour, with overtime pay at a rate not less than one and one-half times the regular rate of pay is required after 40 hours of work in a workweek. (United States Department of Labor n.d.) Nonetheless, the population of unskilled labor has dropped considerably in recent years since more people finish school and attain some form of professional skill leading to an increase in the number of white-collar workers and reducing the blue-collar ones. In the past 25 years, educational attainment has increased with the percentage of those who graduated from college in different ethnic groups going up exponentially with 90% white 85% black and 63% Hispanic graduating in 1995, a colossal improvement from 65,52, and 50 percent respectively having graduated in the 1970s. Another issue concerning unskilled workers in America has been immigrant labor; American, non-skilled workers, are often high school dropouts without a college education or full high school education. However, with the trends in globalization, the entrance of immigrant workers is hurting their access to jobs. For instance, a good number of Chinese immigrants come to America with some level of tertiary education, when they enter the job market for unskilled labor; they easily outmatch the Americans further escalating the unemployment crisis. Besides, it is noteworthy that America has welcomed close to 30 million workers from outside the country as well as over 15 million illegal ones who have been smuggled in. While they have supplied the much needed labor, according to some, they have also crowded hospital emergency rooms, escalated the cost of health insurance and taken over jobs from locals hence are more trouble than they are worth. In the past, unskilled workers who were mostly employed in industries such as steel mill and other manifesting firms formed strong labor unions and had a lot of influence. However, in recent times, the significance of the manufacturing industry is reducing due to cheap imports and foreign-based firms; Greater emphasis is being placed on the service industry, which requires blue-collar staff. Unskilled workers have been on the large incapable of catching up with this trend from obvious reasons; furthermore, political support, which was often given to the unions, has reduced with politicians passing legislation that reduces the power of the unions (“American Labor History”). Ultimately, unskilled labor while decreasing in supply due to market factors such as inflation and recession is also being cut down by the fact that more people are finishing school. While the future might not have a white-collar economy, it is likely that a majority of the population in America will be trained for white-collar jobs. However, this does not mean that the economy wills not need the services of unskilled workers. Educated workers who have been unable to secure employment in what will have become a critically competitive environment will probably carry out these services. It is hence important that the unskilled workers be given more consideration by the government and corporates because their services will always be required, and the fact that many people are willing to do these kinds of jobs does not make fair the fact that they are often treated as dispensable. Take for instance, the aforementioned situation where they stand to lose jobs in 2014 due to health insurance legislation means that the law leaves an option for, companies to terminate unskilled labor to avoid fines for not insuring them, at the end of the day the workers may be left without a means of earning a living. Works Cited Pryor, Frederic L. "The Impact of Foreign Trade on the Employment of Unskilled U.S. Workers: Some New Evidence." Southern Economic Journal 65.3 (1999): 472-92. U.S. Department of Labor. Wage and Hour Division (WHD) Compliance Assistance - Wages and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). n.d. Web. 24 September 2012. “American Labor History”. about.com. n.d. Web. 24 September 2012. Yoonyoung, Cho and David, Newhouse. How Did the Great Recession Affect Different Types of Workers? 2011. Web. 24 September 2012. Furchtgott-Roth, Diana. Healthcare's Impact On the Low-Skilled Worker. RealClearMarkets. May 6, 2010. Web. 24 September 2012. Wieck, Paul R. The Problems Still Faced, by Unskilled Workers. 1992. Web. 24 September 2012. Read More
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