Jobs: Digging for FACTS – Part 3/3

There is a connection between literacy, income and unemployment: “Literacy and Income: More than 40 percent of adults in the lowest literacy level live in poverty …  43 percent of adults at Level 1 (lowest reading level) were living in poverty, compared to 4 percent of those at Level 5 (highest reading level). … The likelihood of being on welfare goes up as literacy levels go down. Three out of four food-stamp recipients performed in the two lowest literacy levels. … Literacy and Unemployment: Seventy percent of adults with the lowest literacy skills are unemployed or work in part-time jobs.”   Source: Policy Almanac.org

No matter the reason, dropping out of high school is a decision made by the individual. No president, G. W. Bush or Obama, forces anyone to drop out of high school or to avoid college. If a child grows up and cannot read, it is not the president’s fault.

In fact, no US president is responsible for who a child’s parents are (not counting his or her children). For example, my parents raised three children: two learned to read and one didn’t.

I earned a BA, MFA and a teaching credential on the GI Bill after I was honorably discharged from the US Marines. I also had an older brother (by fourteen years) who was illiterate and his life resembled the description in this series of posts and videos of someone that cannot read.

I have never collected unemployment or applied for welfare/food stamps, but my brother and most of his seven children are illiterate as he was, have been unemployed and have collected unemployment and/or welfare such as food stamps.

When I retired from teaching (1975 – 2005) someone was hired to replace me, but the staff at the high school where I taught did not increase. The only way new jobs would be created was if there were more students coming in and new teaching positions were needed, but that wasn’t the case. Instead, the student numbers stayed about the same or dropped. In fact, a dozen veteran teachers retired the same year I did, and we were all replaced with younger teachers, but it was not reported as an increase in jobs since those jobs already existed.

In addition, starting in 2011, about 10,000 baby boomers turned age 65 every day. About 60% of them are expected to retire—about 6,000 per day (2,190,000 annually—old jobs that will need to be replaced by hiring someone else). Source: Answers.com

If the boomers that retire are replaced (I’m sure they will not all be replaced but most will), that means about 180,000 old jobs were refilled in August 2012, the same month that 96,000 new jobs were created due to job growth. If this trend continues, that equals almost four million jobs (both old and new) that will be filled by the end of 2012.

A suggestion:  When the media reports the growth of new jobs, the news should also report how many retired that month and how many people were hired to fill those old jobs in addition to the total number of people that have jobs.

We do learn one thing about the new job numbers.  We discover that private businesses are making more money and the rich are getting richer in addition to the people seeking work that fill a new/old job. Those profits paid off for the top 1% of income earners. The average annual earnings of the top 1 percent of wage earners grew 156 percent from 1979 to 2007. In contrast, earners in the 90th to 95th percentile had wage growth of 34 percent while workers in the bottom 90 percent had the weakest wage growth, at 17 percent from 1979 to 2007. Source: Economic Policy Institute

If you want to know what happens when this level of income inequality exits look no further than the American Revolution (1775 – 1783) against the British Empire; The French Revolution (1789 – 1799), the Russian Revolution (1917) and the Chinese Revolution  (1911) followed by the Chinese Civil War (1927 – 1950).

This is what happens when too many people are out of work and/or are paid too little, are hungry and have no shelter to call home.

Return to Jobs: Digging for FACTS – Part 2 or start with Part 1

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse, a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran, is the award winning author of The Concubine Saga.

His latest novel is Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to hate and kill Americans.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper left-hand column and click on “FOLLOW!”

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Jobs: Digging for FACTS – Part 2/3

The numbers I’m using to explain jobs and unemployment are there for anyone that reads and wants to use Google to find them.

What is the real reason for unemployment besides the loss of jobs in the workforce due to an inherited, damaged economy?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported unemployment by race and education (August 2012):

12% of unemployed (25 years or older) had no high school diploma (90% of welfare recipients are high-school dropouts and 60% of all prison inmates are functionally illiterate)

8.8% of high school graduates with no college were unemployed

6.6% of those with some college or an associate degree

4.1% of those that had earned a BA degree or higher

5.9% of Asian/Pacific Islander were unemployed (in 2009, the high-school dropout rate was 2.1%, and 35% were tested as functionally illiterate)

7.2% of Whites were unemployed (in 2009, the high-school dropout rate was 5.2%, and 15% were tested as functionally illiterate)

10.2% of Hispanic or Latino ethnicity were unemployed (In 2009, the high-school dropout rate was 17.6%, and 54% were tested as functionally illiterate)

14.1% of Black or African Americans were unemployed (in 2009, the high-school dropout rate was 9.6%, and 40.5% were tested as functionally illiterate)

Note: Source of literacy facts: National Center for Education Statistics

“A little known cause of illiteracy is cultural influences, children learn a lot from their environment at a young age and are known to mimic the behavior of the people around them (in fact, 90% of a child’s habits, personality/character will be formed before he or she reaches the age of six). This is why parents are encouraged to read to their children, it sets an example, showing reading as a form of enjoyment. … Parents with little desire to read or those that lack appropriate reading/learning skills themselves are more likely to subconsciously pass this trait onto their children.” Source: blurt it.com

Continued on September 9, 2012 in Jobs: Digging for FACTS – Part 3 or return to Part 1

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse, a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran, is the award winning author of The Concubine Saga.

His latest novel is Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to hate and kill Americans.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper left-hand column and click on “FOLLOW!”

The NEED to Edit – Part 4/6

The ideal audience for all authors is made up mostly of avid readers.

The National Assessment of Adult Literacy in the US (1992 – 2003) says 13% or 28 million adult Americans are proficient (can perform complex and challenging literacy activities) at the quantitative literacy level while 95 million are intermediate (can perform moderately challenging literacy activates), 63 million basic (can perform simple and everyday literacy activates) and 30 million are below basic (no more than the most simple and concrete literacy skills).

My literacy level is proficient but not perfect when it comes to editing. In other words, I am not an ARG.

Of the 123 million adult Americans that read at basic or above, few are experts at editing but many read books. A high literacy level does not equal a high editing level. It just means you have a higher vocabulary and understand what you are reading at a higher level.

In fact, my experience as an English teacher taught me that of the 29 million adult Americans that are proficient, only 2.8 million belong to the top echelon of editing literacy—the rare anal-retentive grammarian (ARG) with a photographic memory and instant recall that has memorized all 532 pages in the fourth course of Warriner’s English Grammar and Composition textbook.

Therefore, to be criticized viciously by one of the few ARGs (less than one percent of the adult population) is meaningless. What an indie, self-published author must strive for is to write at an editing literacy level that is adequate for the other 121 million readers that will not recognize many of the mistakes that an ARG will criticize.

In fact, here is a profile of the reading audience authors should cultivate. Sixty-two million Americans are considered “avid” readers who are “disproportionately buying books.” Source: Bookweb.org

Therefore, among avid readers, ARGs may make up at most only 4.5% of that segment of the population. Of course, it is up to the author which audience he or she wants to impress:

A. sixty-two million (39 million are female) avid readers (subtract for ARGs)

B. the 2.8 million ARGs (being an ARG does not mean one is also an avid reader)

C. adult Americans that read below basic literacy level

For an example of one ARG, in 2008, after my work earned Editor’s and Publisher’s Choice with iUniverse, was reviewed by the Midwest Book Review and earned a 5 out of 5 for grammar from a Writer’s Digest judge, I submitted my novel to a UK review Blog that counted mistakes as part of the review. The reviewer would stop reading once she found about a dozen mistakes (of any kind) and then write a scathing review.

I mistakenly believed I had a chance to earn a positive review from this Blogger, so I submitted my work but she failed it. After my work failed, I discovered that every book, except one, reviewed on this site had failed and the one that had less than a dozen mistakes was criticized for its plot, characterization and theme.

Not one self-published indie author reviewed by this one UK Blogger received a glowing review. The ARG bias was obvious.

Since the publication of my first novel in December 2007, I have given this topic a lot of thought, and I have concluded that an author does not have to satisfy the ARGs.

What an author must do is meet the traditional industry standards for editing as it is obvious that my work did.

This means that there cannot be so many mistakes that it distracts the average “avid” reader.

It is obvious that an ARG has a much higher standard than the traditional publishing industry (newspapers, magazines and publishers) does. A biased ARG may scream bloody murder for editing perfection in his or her one-star reviews on Amazon or Goodreads, but he or she is not going to find that perfection easily even among traditionally published books.

However, every indie self-published author, no matter what his or her editing skill level, may find editing tools to improve the work before it appears in the market place—even without hiring a skilled freelance editor.

To not take advantage of those tools and avoid editing is a serious mistake.

Continued August 10, 2012 in The NEED to Edit – Part 5 or return to Part 3

View this Six-Part Series as a Single Page

Note: My Blog posts do not go through the exhaustive editing process my novels do.

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse, a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran, is the award winning author of The Concubine Saga.

His latest novel is Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to hate and kill Americans.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper left-hand column and click on “FOLLOW!”