THE REALITY OF JOB LOSS AND THE PERSEPTIONS OF THE COMMON WORKER By: Francisco J. Milan As was the thinking many years ago, if a proverbial horse was too get sick, the farmer would simply get a new horse. Every American worker lives with the fear of being that horse. The fear that they can be easily replaced by another worker, or nowadays, replaced with what is referred to as capitol. As times change and technology progresses, the horse is no longer the only one fearing job loss. In fact, the farmer himself is beginning to have his doubts. The fact of the matter is, that workers have less to fear than they are willing to admit. A person has to remember that if one worker is fired, then a new worker must take his place. This is called turnover, and tends to be fairly costly. A new worker has to be trained in the new atmosphere, about a new product, to work with a new clientele, to use a new computer system, and simply to learn to work with new individuals in a group, and the group has to learn to work with the new employee. The decline in job security has been about 10 to 20 percent for men since 1983. For women it seems that statistically their job security has almost gone up. This is not to say that women never get fired, but they seem to show more stability on an overall level. As far a firing are concerned there has been slow steady increase, while at the same time layoffs are multiplying. Although they are not as high as they have been in the past. This is not to say that the larger numbers of workers losing their jobs is a sign of a dip in job security. One must realize that these losses affect only a small number of the 125-million workers out there. And then about 75 percent of those fired workers end up getting new jobs. At this point the fear is that a fired worker is no longer capable of entering a job as good as the one he left. This is of coarse this is going to be true. Whenever a job is left, the worker looses the seniority and experience specific to his job environment when he moves to a completely new environment and new people. The next question then deals with the issue of pay. It is very unlikely to find a replacement job that pays the same as the job left behind. The fact is that most workers experience an average of an eight percent pay cut. The number being as high as 15 percent for workers above the age of 45, and lower for younger workers. While companies are firing people, the economy still generates a constant stream of new jobs. When recessions hit, the unemployment rate goes up not due to an increase in firings and layoffs, but to due to the decrease in new hiring. The general idea is that the only good jobs are those that are life long, and if not then all workers could be classified as temporary. ?An economy that?s flexible- that produces higher efficiencies, new technologies and rising living standards- can?t provide absolute security. It never has and, quite probably, never will?(Samuelson). In my opinion I tend to agree with the previously mentioned statement of Mr. Samuelson. Job security is never a guarantee. As the economy progresses tasks will always need to be performed, and men are always needed to perform them. Some argue that machines will take over many jobs that now held by men. The basic truth however, is that machines are not a guarantee either. They will break down and need to be fixed or rebuilt, creating a demand for workers. And a demand for workers creates a demand for managers. As jobs are lost there are always new jobs that need to be filled. As for firings, not everyone can be denied a second chance and if one workers is let go, then another worker is need to fill his place.