The Middle Class In Canada Is Now Doing Better Than The Middle Class In America

trends continue, a whole bunch of other countries are going to start passing us too.  The era of the “great U.S. middle class” is rapidly coming to a bitter end.

In recent years, I have been up to Canada frequently, and I am always amazed at how much nicer things are up there.  The stores and streets are cleaner, the people are more polite and it seems like almost everyone that wants to work has a job.

But despite knowing all this, I was still surprised when the New York Times reported this week that middle class incomes in Canada have now surpassed middle class incomes in the United States…

After-tax middle-class incomes in Canada — substantially behind in 2000 — now appear to be higher than in the United States. The poor in much of Europe earn more than poor Americans.

And things are particularly dire for those in the U.S. on the low end of the scale…

The struggles of the poor in the United States are even starker than those of the middle class. A family at the 20th percentile of the income distribution in this country makes significantly less money than a similar family in Canada, Sweden, Norway, Finland or the Netherlands. Thirty-five years ago, the reverse was true.

Even while our politicians and the media continue to proclaim that everything is “just fine”, the U.S. middle class continues to slide toward oblivion.

The biggest reason for this is the lack of middle class jobs.  Millions of good jobs have been shipped overseas, and millions of other good jobs have been replaced by technology.

The value of our labor is declining with each passing day, and this has forced millions upon millions of very qualified Americans to take whatever they can get.  As NBC News recently noted, this is a big reason why the temp industry has been booming…

For Americans who can’t find jobs, the booming demand for temp workers has been a path out of unemployment, but now many fear it’s a dead-end route.

With full-time work hard to find, these workers have built temping into a de facto career, minus vacation, sick days or insurance. The assignments might be temporary — a few months here, a year there — but labor economists warn that companies’ growing hunger for a workforce they can switch on and off could do permanent damage to these workers’ career trajectories and retirement plans.

“It seems to be the new norm in the working world,” said Kelly Sibla, 54. The computer systems engineer has been looking for a full-time job for four years now, but the Amherst, Ohio, resident said she has to take whatever she can find.

It has been estimated that one out of every ten jobs is now filled by a temp agency.  I have worked for temp agencies myself in the past.  Big companies like the idea of having “disposable workers”, and this is a trend that is likely to only grow in the years ahead.

But temp jobs and part-time jobs don’t pay as well as normal jobs.  And those kinds of jobs generally cannot support middle class families.

At this point, nine out of the top ten occupations in the United States pay an average wage of less than $35,000 a year.

That is absolutely stunning.

These days most families are barely scraping by, and they don’t have much extra money to go shopping with.

This is a big reason for the “retail apocalypse” that we are now witnessing.  This week we learned that retail stores in the United States are closing at the fastest pace that we have seen since the collapse of Lehman Brothers.  But you won’t hear much about that on the mainstream news.

You can find lots of “space available” signs and empty buildings in formerly middle class neighborhoods all over the country.  For example, one of my readers recently shot the following YouTube video in Scottsdale, Arizona.  As you can see, empty commercial buildings are all over the place…

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As the middle class shrinks, more families are being forced to take in family members that can’t find decent work.  I have written previously about the huge rise in the number of young adults that are moving back in with their parents.  But this is not just happening to young people.  As the Los Angeles Times recently detailed, the number of Americans 50 and older that are moving in with their parents has absolutely soared in recent years…

For seven years through 2012, the number of Californians aged 50 to 64 who live in their parents’ homes swelled 67.6% to about 194,000, according to the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research and the Insight Center for Community Economic Development.

The jump is almost exclusively the result of financial hardship caused by the recession rather than for other reasons, such as the need to care for aging parents, said Steven P. Wallace, a UCLA professor of public health who crunched the data.

“The numbers are pretty amazing,” Wallace said. “It’s an age group that you normally think of as pretty financially stable. They’re mid-career. They may be thinking ahead toward retirement. They’ve got a nest egg going. And then all of a sudden you see this huge push back into their parents’ homes.”

The U.S. economy is slowly but steadily falling apart, and more people fall out of the middle class every single day.

A recent Gallup survey found that 14 percent of all Americans would experience “significant financial hardship” within one week of a job loss.

An additional 29 percent of all Americans would experience “significant financial hardship” within one month of a job loss.

That means that 43 percent of the entire country is living right on the edge.

It is no wonder why only about 30 percent of all Americans believe that we are moving in the right direction as a nation.

Most people know deep down that something is seriously wrong.  But most people can’t explain exactly what that is or how to fix it.

Meanwhile, the politicians and the media keep telling us that if we just keep doing the same old things that everything will work out okay somehow.  The blind are leading the blind, and we are rapidly marching toward disaster.

Michael Snyder is the Editor of The Economic Collapse Blog.

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12 Responses to The Middle Class In Canada Is Now Doing Better Than The Middle Class In America

  1. Monellead says:

    just before I saw the bank draft that said $8428 , I didnt believe …that…my father in law woz like they say actually receiving money in there spare time at their laptop. . there brothers friend has done this 4 only about 22 months and by now paid the mortgage on there house and bought a great audi . hop over to here……………WWW.JOBSBAT­­­­­.C­O­M

  2. 5WarVeteran says:

    The Elite only want two classes. Elite and the poor. Which one will you be?
    Their intent is to make all of us poor and they are doing this through taxation schemes like Obama Care. They speak of wealth redistribution. How much of my wealth that I labored for and earned needs to go to the many who have not labored at all?

    Why do I have to pay for abortion insurance when I have already paid for a vasectomy and a hysterectomy? Why do I have to pay for contraception when neither me not my wife can get pregnant? Why do I have to pay for cures for sexually transmitted diseases when we do not have sex with other people? (hell we barely have sex at all)

    Why do I have to pay for the perpetually unemployed? The Illegal Aliens?

  3. Mac in AZ says:

    The Marxist agenda mandates the destruction of any middle class.

    After the midterms – o’dickhead is going to make jaws hit the floor with his last two years of utter totalitarian bullshit… Dodd-Frank – which has the potential for becoming even more insipid than O’crapcare by being able to steal private property with no judicial review allowed will be unleashed … Richard Cordray, who was illegally placed by o’cocksucker, will become more INFAMOUS than that clueless bitch Sebilius….

    …but what do I know….

    Oh… hope everyone will enjoy Obama’s parting shot with energy costs going through the roof….

    My sincerest hope is that most of the assholes who voted for him freeze their balls off in the winter… and die of exposure in the summer….

  4. BrianJ says:

    Could it be that Americans who are so motivated will leave the US for better opportunities in the countries where the jobs moved to? It’s one of the reasons so many immigrated to the US to start with. Those still coming either are still believing the US is a land of opportunity or come from those places where it is still worse.

    But I’ve noticed a difference in the four years since I moved from the US to Canada. There was no housing bubble here because of sound fiscal policy. No Fannie Mae, no Freddie Mac, stricter credit and mortgage requirements that kept growth cooler but also prevented a collapse. If not for the US’ troubles, things in Canada would be even better, but the article is right that the economy here provides jobs and opportunities that aren’t found for all economic classes, and property has retained its value if not improved.

    As many Canadians do, I’ve been to the US to shop but the towns on the other side of the border are hurting, and we’re finding less deals and less reasons to buy in the US as prices are not as low and inventory is poor. Canadians are better off not paying the currency exchange and the 13% duty but buying more locally and saving on gas and time. It wasn’t always that way.

  5. I find this utterly embarrassing.

    There is nothing wrong with Canada, and I mean zero offense by saying that, but there is no excuse for American wealth eroding like this. The simple fact that the dollar is the world’s reserve currency brings substantial wealth to this country (even now). When countries have needed more oil in the past, they had to use “petrodollars” and in order to get petrodollars they had to exchange something of value that ended up benefiting America either directly or indirectly.

    We rode on the backs of others for a long time and a lot of people don’t realize that. But after amassing all of that wealth, whether fairly or unfairly, it is obvious that there is a deliberate effort to cripple America now.

    You can think I am a conspiracy theorist if you want but for anyone who actually researches these things it becomes very obvious.

    If you haven’t looked into it, trying googling the “Cloward Piven” method. If you understand that method and don’t see the correlation, then you are definitely an Obama worshipper. I don’t worship any man. I seek the truth.

  6. rbodell says:

    You could find work if you turned off the computer and walked down the street.

    • Finding work doesn’t make you “middle class.” If quality jobs aren’t there then it makes you simply another example of “working poor.” You might want to re-read the article.

      • rbodell says:

        either time to get a better education, trade school or reduce your spending. It used to be you could do fine with a 6th grade education. Now you need college just to work on the garbage truck dumping garbage.

        Who ever guaranteed you that you would be rich. Maybe you should contact them and collect on that guarantee.

        When a company is having to pay 10 bucks and hour while they teach them how to mop a floor, they are fussy about who they hire.

        • I agree with your assessment in general. There is no guarantee of wealth in this country. My problem is that I see policies that I think are destroying the chances of most people achieving it. I see the government, democrats and republicans alike, working collectively against its own people. That is my perception.

          I think that if the opportunity is there and people don’t seize it, then they get what they deserve. But when the opportunity starts to disappear, which you seem to agree with, I see a major problem.

          • rbodell says:

            Exactly. Sitting around doing nothing accomplishes the same thing, nothing.

            They quit writing things in stone with the pyramids. Times change. We have to adapt or get left behind

    • Marilyn Z says:

      People have a life style. They have a house, drive a couple of cars, might have recently installed a swimming pool and suddenly they are faced with a $10 an hour job. I do not live like that, but I watch it happening around me. Sure they can go out and get a job and probably not one they studied for years to be able to do. Then they have to sell everything and downsize.

      Chances are they will take that $10 an hour job just to keep some food on the table, but they will be slipping out of their middle class status when they do.

      I heard that even the middle class in Mexico is thriving compared to ours. They sent all their poor and criminal element here for us to support and deal with. I am surprised that Canada is just now surpassing us, actually.

      • rbodell says:

        Remember a few years back when gas prices dropped to a dollar a gallon for a while? This guy I know ought a big SUV. I asked him if he actually thought the gas was going to stay at a dollar a gallon? He said yes. A few months later he had to sell it at a big loss because when the gas went back up he couldn’t afford to feed it.

        People with hundred thousand dollar a year jobs go out and buy million dollar homes on credit instead of a 50k home they can pay cash for. In the end the million dollar home would have cost him two million because of compound interest by the time it was paid off. But because his job came to an end he ended up loosing his home and still owing the bank because they couldn’t auction it off for enough to settle the debt.

        Just because you have a good job now, doesn’t mean you will have that job forever. The day may come when you have to go to work flipping hamburgers and you won’t be able to make those 5k a month payments.

        It’s easy to go charge a new wide screen TV to the card instead of a small tv and putting the rest in the bank for hard times. If you don’t plan for the hard times and the long term, you end up loosing everything.

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