Employment statistics are a tricky subject, and human population growth has without a doubt added to the complexity of the issue. An increase in numbers changes the labor supply, the demand for jobs, and the need for workers. And as can likely be expected, excess humans on this planet ultimately does more harm for the world of labor than it does good.
As a young country, America wanted to quickly build its population in order to have more hands to work. More working hands meant more power and an increase in national revenue. However, as is visible today, an overpopulated country also causes excess manpower when it comes to labor. While there used to be more of a need for labor than available workers, the times have changed. Today, unemployment has become a major national problem, as there are far too many people to possibly give everyone a job who needs one.
There does exist somewhat of a contradiction to the previous statement. According to CNN, America’s unemployment rate has fallen below 5% for the first time since America suffered from the economic crash of 2008. Many Americans view this as a great victory, and it is indeed an improvement from before; however, that is not all there is to the story. As of January 2016, the amount of working adults has actually seen a pattern of decrease and now sits at 62.7%. In fact, the truth is that annual wage growth is only 2.5%. According to Sharon Stark of D.A. Davidson, normally when unemployment is as low as it is in today’s world, wage growth should be somewhere around 4% per year. Thus, the answer to the question of who exactly is lowering America’s unemployment rate as well as who is filling many of these jobs previously held by working adults is actually America’s youth – a trend mostly unique to this new age. In recent years, the amount of teenagers seeking work in order to support themselves or their families has risen dramatically. With an increase in average family size, more needs to be done in order to support that family, which is where this sudden change in working trend comes from.
So, the reason for the country’s sour mood? Statistics aren’t showing what’s behind the scenes. Because of these new trends in labor, adults are holding more part time jobs when they really need full time jobs. In today’s day and age, Americans go to extreme lengths to pursue the best degrees, the best internships and the highest level of experience possible in order to score a job in today’s tricky market. Even just 10-20 years ago, we didn’t have to nearly to those lengths to pick up a decent career. However, the fact that a college degree from a prestigious school and one’s fair share of prior work-related experience can still leave a person with nothing is often very discouraging to Americans. Money inflation can be seen as related to this issue in the sense that while a college degree used to be a rarity, today, that alone will likely not land you the job you need. The value of obtaining a degree has gone down, which is an extremely difficult truth to face for this paying thousands of dollars a year for schooling. For this reason, some adults have given up looking for jobs completely.
However, there are actions that can be taken.
For example, improving the methods of America’s education system will allow educators to implement a shift in thinking for Americans at a young age. Encouraging open conversation and debate on topics such as the implications of abortion, voluntary sterilization, and the pros and cons of being a part of the “large American family” takes away from this country’s previous notion that there is only one way to exercise values in America. Implementing open and more discussion-based learning will be a crucial step in breaking down old standards that are not useful anymore. The idea of education also extends to the adult members of the population. In their lifetime, humans are often unable to directly see the way in which their actions (and such actions can, in fact, include choosing to have a larger family) affect the world around them. It is for this reason that encouraging people to change can often be quite difficult, as people seek visible results. Thus, it is crucial for major companies and groups in the media to take the time to inform adults about topics such as family planning, the drastic effects of overpopulation, and the various forms of safe sex and contraceptives that are available to the public in today’s world.lv For example, the state of Washington has been acknowledged in today’s media as one of the most successful states in terms of family planning and its effectiveness, primarily through programs such as USAID. The spotlight can be extremely powerful, especially with the relevance of social media in today’s world – the problem of overpopulation needs to be put under it. Furthermore, there are steps that can be taken when it comes to the American economy. Traditionally, economic incentives have been put in place in order to encourage families to contribute to society by having children. However, the direction of these rewards need to change. If incentives such as tax benefits were to be given to those who chose to keep families small, this would be a powerful start to making a change. There has already been some progress with this; in today’s world, programs such as Social Security and Medicare actually reduce the fertility rate by about 0.5 children per woman. This is a start, but there needs to be more of this happening on a national basis.