Friday, January 24, 2014

Signs the Economy is Bad, January 24, 2014 edition

Welcome to another edition of "Signs the Economy is Bad" here at The Itinerant Librarian. This is the semi-regular (as in when I have time and/or feel like doing it) feature where I scour the Internet in search of the oh so subtle hints that the economy is bad. Sure, pundits may say things are getting better, but what do they know? And to show not all is bad, once in a while we look at how good the uber rich have it.  

Let's take a look at what we got this week:

  • Things are so bad people no longer move in order to get a higher wage or better working conditions. They just move to be able to get a job...any job. According to Timothy Noah, "When [Americans] do migrate it is typically no longer from places with low wages to places with higher wages. Rather, it’s the reverse. That helps explain why, since the 1970s, income inequality has gone up and upward mobility has (depending on who you ask) either stagnated or gone down." Get the details of the story via
  • Things are bad for recent college graduates. It is not the first time we have mentioned this on the blog. This week we have a study that asks "Are Recent College Graduates Finding Good Jobs?" From the abstract, "Still, the percentage who are unemployed or 'underemployed'—working in a job that typically does not require a bachelor’s degree—has risen, particularly since the 2001 recession. Moreover, the quality of the jobs held by the underemployed has declined, with today’s recent graduates increasingly accepting low-wage jobs or working part-time." Story via Full Text Reports, which has a link to the study from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Now don't get me wrong. I think if you are suited for it, you should be able to get a good college education, but I am not one of those who says everyone automatically has to go. Having said that, studies like this do give ammunition to those who question the value of a higher education degree at all. 
  • And speaking of college students, how bad is their student debt you might ask. Here is a pretty scary chart to put it all in perspective. Via I Love Charts.
Now, the pickings this week were a little lean in terms of signs the economy is bad. However, we do have some items about how good the uber rich have it. Oh yea, from first world problems to how to spend your millions, we got something for those folks this week:

  • Want to look cool and smoke like your grandpa? You think those guys on Mad Men sucking on cancer sticks look hip? Well, Lucky Strikes is their brand, and it seems that thanks to the AMC show, the sales of Lucky Strikes are actually going up. At least one industry is doing well in the bad economy.  By the way, other brands have also gotten a boost from the show. Find out who else got a boost. Via Ivey Business Review
  • Got millions to burn, and you just don't know what else to spend them on? Here are "9 of the Most Pointlessly Expensive Items You Can Buy." You won't see me buying any of these, but I am sure some folks out there are proud to plunk down a hundred dollars or so on a plain white t-shirt. Via Mental Floss blog.
  • Finally for this week, as we all know, the rich only accept the very best. The best caviar. The best wine. The best food. So, naturally, they also demand the best toilet paper for their delicate tushes. The students at TCU (Texas Christian University) are a step below rising up in arms to demand the college provide them with better quality toilet paper. Because for these kids of privilege, one-ply toilet paper is just not good enough. To hear the students tell about it, being forced to use one-ply toilet paper is a horror and a hardship. “'I know a lot of people have gone out of their way to go to the store to get two ply,' said TCU student Tora Coursey." They may have to go to a local Walmart or convenience store. The humanity! Story via CBS News out of Fort Worth, Texas. 

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