Rich vs. Poor: New data shows the poor are getting poorer
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TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) -- The rich are getting richer and the poor are staying poor - here in Arizona and across the country. That's what the latest data from the US government is showing. The data shows income inequality is rising and experts in Southern Arizona say it's not likely to change anytime soon.
Christy Melvert is a single mother of 3. She's been out of work for a year and looking for any type of job. Her prospects? "It's not good. I'm applying and no one is calling," she said.
Russell Antone, a father of 6, has been filling out employment forms at Pima County One-Stop for a few weeks. "Just trying to look for anything. Anything I can do right now preferably in the construction field. It's tough."
And they're not alone -- by any means. The latest numbers show the unemployment rate for the lowest income families topped 21 percent -- nearly matching the rate during the 1930's Great Depression. The rich are doing well -- at an unemployment rate of 3.1%
"It offends me. It makes me crazy. But it doesn't surprise me. I've been working in this a long time," said Dr. Alan Storm, who runs JTED, the Joint Technological Education District, which tracks workforce trends.
He said economists had predicted this when the market took a big hit in 2006. 'They said then we are deeper than anyone thought we could go. And we are not going to be back to where we were at the beginning of 2006 -- until probably 2017."
Jim Mize said even though more companies are hiring -- the pay isn't increasing. "Today employers don't have to pay because there are a lot of people who are unemployed so they're back down to the 9 to 10 dollar an hour scale."
So where are the jobs?
Mize said One-Stop lists 300 job openings a week, but there are still a lot of low paying jobs. "That goes without saying. We got a lot of social services industry. Retail services. A lot of construction jobs today don't pay nearly what they did prior to the recession."
In part -- because unemployed middle income workers pushed into lower wage jobs. "Today employers don't have to pay it because there are a lot of people who are unemployed," he said.
And vying for those same low-skilled, low wage jobs. The next hiring wave will be seasonal. "Shopping centers are going to be hiring for seasonal help."
Groundskeeping, housekeeping, and food services are on the list, accordning to Jobing.com.
Mize said manufacturing is hiring again. "I think industry is going to improve. There will be additional hiring in manufacturing and you can get a sense that we're starting slowly to get out to pick up."
The medical field is hiring, but competition is fierce in the various specialized fields.
RN and JTED Instructor Johanna Rentschler said, "It is every competitive right now because it's a high demand field and more and more people are trying to get into it."
But workers will need training to land those jobs.