If you have wondered what the consequences might be of the large numbers of closed businesses and vacant lots throughout Spokane and around the United States, increasing unemployment is an obvious, clear, and direct result.
In the month of June 2011, according to the US Department of Labor, the US economy created 18,000 jobs. This follows the month of May 2011 in which 54,000 jobs were created nationally. While these numbers represent an average of 1080 new jobs/state and 27 new jobs/county in Washington state in May, they represent a third of that — 360 jobs/state and 9 jobs/county in Washington — in June.
I addressed this in a previous post here, mentioning that high schools in Spokane county graduated approximately 4500 students in June 2011. If we take the state’s population of 6,724,540 and divide it by the 39 Washington counties, the average county population in Washington state is 172,424. Spokane county, with a population of 471,221 according to the 2010 census, is 2.74 times larger than the average Washington county. So rather than 27 jobs in May and 9 jobs in June, the extrapolated numbers would be roughly 75 jobs in May and 25 jobs in June.
These 100 total jobs in Spokane county in May and June clearly indicate a severely failing economy. With unemployment at 9.2%, representing 21,300 unemployed people out of the county’s 236,900 member workforce, these 100 new jobs provide employment to just under half a percent of those unemployed persons, even as thousands of new graduates enter the workforce, not to mention in-migration from other parts of the state and country, as well as political refugees being resettled here by the US government.
This is a vicious cycle. Major corporations are making record profits. Our main thoroughfares are full of the McDonald’s restaurants, the Starbucks cafes, the Home Depots, Walmarts, Payless, Safeways, Walgreens and many others. Yet more than 20 thousand workers are unemployed, underemployed and desperate. And, of course, the real numbers are even worse.
These corporations — many of them transnational corporations worth billions — do provide employment, though the profits leave our communities. How can we do a better job of keeping these funds in Spokane?
What if conscientious people became more concerned about the quality of economic justice than in the quality and convenience of their fast food? What if progressive people became connoisseurs of a fairer distribution of their dollars through the local economy rather than than connoisseurs of the taste of their corporate latte?
Our main streets have already been devastated by big box stores. Are we really making the best choice in the spending of the few dollars we spend? Are we trying to keep them in our community?
With the economy unable to provide employment to increasing numbers of people, isn’t this the time for innovation?
We just need to get our hands some of those trillions of dollars that we the taxpaying people of this country gave (or rather had given by our dear federal legislators) to rescue the criminal US banking syndicates in 2008.
Is it time for a revolution or what?
Talkin’ about a revolution