SOCIOL 1000: Labor

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Department
Sociology
Course
SOCIOL 1000
Professor
Brueggemann
Semester
Spring

Description
Labor Labor · Economists divide our economy into 3 economic sectors: 1. Primary Sector § Consists of activities that extract raw materials directly from the natural environment ú Ex:Agriculture, fishing, forestry ,mining, etc. § 1800: ~75% of those employed were either farmers or farm laborers § Today this percentage is fewer than 3% 2. Secondary Sector (Industrial Sector) § Involves activities that transform natural resources into manufactured products ú Ex: Manufacturing and factory jobs § Textile mills became a part of United States economy in New England in the 1800s § Until the 1960s, manufacturing jobs dominated the economy; today most of these jobs are outsourced to countries with cheaper labor costs 3. Tertiary Sector § Provides services rather than goods ú Ex: Fast food, retail, customer service, etc. § Accounts for more jobs today than in the past employing about 74% of workers in the United States § Different than other sectors, the tertiary sector demands emotional labor · Labor Force – Generally thought of as those who are participating in the exchange or manufacture of goods or services in an economy · In 2009, the United States labor force included approximately 150 million people (United States Department of Labor) Unemployment · Unemployment/Joblessness – Those currently without a job · When discussing the unemployment rate, we are really discussing those who: o Do not have a job o Have actively looked in the past four weeks o Who are currently available for work · The way we currently calculate the unemployment rate leaves out a percentage of the population who are still jobless · It is also an example of what Joel Best refer to as a false negative discussed earlier in the semester · Unemployment traits also ignore those facing underemployment · Underemployment – The condition of being employed at a skill level below what would be expected of a person’s training, experience, or education, along with those working fewer hours than desired Poverty · 2 types of poverty: 1. Absolute Poverty § Absolute Poverty – The condition in which people do not have the means to secure the most basic necessities of life 2. Relative Poverty § Relative Poverty –Afluid standard of deprivation by which people compare their lifestyles to others in a society · Poverty Line – The amount of money needed to support the basic needs of a household as established by the government · Poverty Thresholds – The dollar amounts that the Census Bureau uses to determine a family’s or person’s poverty status o Developed by Mollie Orchansky in the 1960s o Using survey data administered by the USDAin 1955, Orchansky found that on average, American’s spent 1/3 of their income on food o Using data from the Department ofAgriculture, Orchansky was able to estimate that a family of four would need at least $1,033 for food, and thus the poverty line was at $3,100 o The amount of money spent on food x 3 = poverty line o Using the same method today, the official poverty line for a family of: § Four in 2004 was $18,244 § Four in 2007 was $21,203 § Five (three children) in 2009 was $25,603 Criticisms of Poverty Line · Those that see poverty as being overstated: we should include government funding such as food stamps as income (decreasing the number of those under the poverty line) · Others see it as outdated because families spend less of their income (some estimate about 1/6) on food and more on transportation, housing, utilities, and other expenses (meaning the poverty line only accounts for ½ a family’s needs) · Elements that families regard as crucial to their household budget are not included, such as childcare, commuting and travel expenses, and medical costs · Create regional poverty lines to take into account the different costs and standards of living Poverty Rate · Poverty Rate – The % of people who are below poverty (typically calculated annually) · Poverty rate by race in the United States (2009-2019): o White – 14% o Black – 3
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