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In 1977 the American government added to the Federal Reserve the goal of creating "maximum employment." More important is creating what might be considered the "optimum" rate of employment. Most governments set themselves or their central banks a guideline of full or maximum employment but what exactly counts as full employment is up for debate. Central bankers continue to seek the "sweet spot" but in our fast-changing economy that remains a challenge. It must be noted the boundary between long-term structural unemployment and the temporary, cyclical kind is not clear-cut.
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Make no mistake, the brunt of the damage being done as a result of this low unemployment era is falling directly upon the shoulders of small business and retailers. Not only are desperate employers having to pay more for less, at times they cannot even fill job slots. this often means at times they are being forced to cut hours. While it is generally the marginal hours where the fewest customers visit it still has a long-term effect because when customers find a store closed they often break their buying habits and seek out other alternatives. Another factor hacking away at the bottom line of employers is that as soon as they have spent money training a new employee that person is pouched by a bigger company offering better pay and benefits. This adds to the "turnover factor." When jobs are plentiful employees are quicker to explore other job options and turnover becomes a costly problem.
In the middle of 2017. President Trump attacked Amazon saying, the e-commerce giant is "doing great damage to tax-paying retailers" but has failed to follow through with any move to level the playing field. Ironically this was and remains at a time when Amazon with the aid of government is eating the lunch of brick and mortar stores. Still, Washington takes no action to recognize that e-commerce is a different kind of animal and that it has the potential to harm the economy. Understanding the value of brick and mortar stores to local communities India has placed several restrictions on E-retailers in order to level the playing field and make things fair.
Recently Amazon has been under a great deal of criticism for low pay and the harsh treatment of its workers so it should not come as a surprise that Bezos a proven master of hype and re-framing issues has announced his company will be increasing wages. Amazon said it will start lobbying for an increase in the federal minimum wage, currently at $7.25 an hour. The fact is most employees already are paid far more than this. Do not be fooled, this is just another ploy as Bezos pursues his goal to eliminate competition all over America. By raising the cost for smaller competitors he will put them out of business." It is little wonder he is now endorsing this as he eliminates workers and moves towards automation and utilizing more robots.
By far the worst abuser of the current e-commerce system here in America is Amazon which has developed strong ties with the government. Adding to the pain is the fact the United States Postal Service has decided to shower Amazon with special benefits. Not only do they give the company special rates but also have gone to delivering Amazon packages on Sunday. To make matters worse state and local governments have put special packages together with incentives and tax breaks aimed at luring Amazon to build in their areas oblivious to the damage it will cause in coming years. How can other retailers compete with that!
The truth is those small business owners often tied to brick and mortar are forced to wear many hats and their workers are often required to perform several different and distinct tasks. This often means large companies are better candidates for utilizing robots and automation as a way to reduce labor cost. This means a company such as Amazon gains a huge advantage over small and local businesses as wages rise during low unemployment. This helps explain why its CEO Jeff Bezos recently endorsed the idea of a higher minimum wage. For Bezos, this is a bonus in that it will help eliminate competition all across America as he doubles down on adding more robots to his workforce.