Middle class

Now synonymous with anxiety:

Mid-wage occupations such as office managers and truck drivers accounted for 60% of the job losses during the recession, but only 22% of the gains during the recovery, according to a National Employment Law Project analysis of Labor Department data. Low-wagepositions, on the other hand, soared 58%.

Uncertainty and insecurity are weighing down the middle class, even those who haven’t had a break in employment. More than 40% of those surveyed in a recent Rutgers University study said they were “very concerned” about job security.

They’re also not very optimistic about the near future. Fewer than one-third believe that economic conditions will improve next year, and an equal number think they will get worse, according to the Rutgers survey, conducted by the university’s Heldrich Center for Workforce Development. Only 19% believe that job, career and employment opportunities will be better for the next generation.

The survey’s title sums it up: “Diminished Lives and Futures: A Portrait of America in the Great-Recession Era.”

Dan Heiden of Eagan, Minn., embodies that life. Before 2007, the union supermarket worker owned an apartment and socked away funds in the bank and in a retirement account.

Then the store cut his hours.

“The economy tanked,” said Heiden, who now works no more than 30 hours a week. “They aren’t hiring full-time any more because they can pay less.”

Jobs, jobs, jobs

That sucking sound you hear….

A shock for people working at IBM’s sprawling campus in northwest Rochester Tuesday, as IBM executives shared a decision with workers that hundreds of manufacturing jobs are moving to Guadalajara, Mexico.

IBM is a global computer giant with twelve research laboratories around the world and manufacturing and support plants and offices in dozens of countries. In recent years, there have been other such “resource actions” with the company shifting jobs to China, India or other parts of its “smarter planet.”

Scott Cook, an IBM spokesman based in Chicago, confirmed the Rochester cuts to KTTC NewsCenter and says the decisions announced Tuesday are simply about creating the “best possible infrastructure” for the company.

Breaking us in two

I met Joe Jackson more than 20 years ago, when he was performing at Pulsations, a dreadful nightclub in Philly’s far suburbs. One of the tallest people I’ve ever met who wasn’t a pro basketball player:

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