Job losses are coming, and we’re in deeper trouble than it seems.
Did you hear the one about the truckers? About how 3,000 truckers lost their jobs right before the holidays?
Three thousand jobs, lost.
Imagine all the coffee shops throughout Seattle — that’s a lot, right? Put all the indie and chain coffee shops together. Now imagine three times that amount —three times the combined number of all the independent and chain coffee shops in Seattle.
That’s how many truckers just lost their jobs.
Trucking companies are like coffee shops because they, too, employ a whole bunch of people. Those people are employed, albeit indirectly, throughout our economic ecosystem.
As they navigate across the country, doing their jobs, truck drivers have to stop for fuel, food and rest — each trucker carries not only their job, but all of the workers they interact with. There are many people in the chain.
The jobs are linked: Without customers, diners close. Without truckers, rest stops fold. Without access to income streams, communities wither.
How were these jobs lost? Was it due to automation? The impending threat of artificial intelligence? No.
The company, Celedon, despite bringing in more than $1 billion of revenue recently, had a massive accounting scandal — news that has been underreported. So, it was good old greed that left 3,000 truckers without work just before the holidays.
Since Celedon has gone bankrupt, their credit is ruined. And since Celedon’s credit is ruined, Truckstops of America has refused to give their remaining drivers repairs or roadside maintenance. So now mechanics and service technicians are suffering, too, with less work because of corporate malfeasance.
More is lost than just the initial number of jobs. There are widespread and lasting ripple effects.
Every trucker driving around the country needs food and sanitation access. Their vehicles need repair. Systems arose to meet these needs, coming into existence because of them.
When you take truckers off the road, there are job losses throughout the systems trucking jobs connect with. And the bad-faith actions of a trucking company, namely, Celedon, also adversely affect the system.
When you think of a number three times the number of coffee shops in Seattle, that’s a big number, but what’s bigger is the number of employees in each coffee shop. When a line of truckers lose their jobs, it’s like the closing of any shop: All the people who contribute to that place have less or no work.
When someone in a city loses a job, it can be devastating. But when someone in a rural area loses a job, it can destroy the town. Rural areas are already more isolated and underemployed than their urban counterparts, and these trucker jobs directly affect rural America; not just the mechanics and roadside conveniences, but all the people those people spend their money on.
When you take away rural jobs, you starve strapped communities of commerce, trade and life.
These details are often unacknowledged when talking about job loss. It’s not just 3,000 truckers who are suffering; it’s all the communities linked together that suffer, to unknown extents.
Yet, as 3,000 truckers just lost their jobs, the U.S. is facing a shortage of delivery drivers. The American Trucking Associations estimates more than 50,000 truckers are needed (citing the shipping wars heating up between big business entities like Amazon and Walmart). Many of those truckers might find work with other companies, but that is a short-term fix.
Corporate greed caused not only 3,000 truckers to lose their jobs; Celedon also negatively affected everyone in their ecosystem this winter.
Corruption must be extracted in every way, and carefully so, because more job losses are coming, from automation and an increasing but monolithic world market. If we don’t root out corruption and corporate greed now, the ripple effects will reach many more of us.
Read the full Jan. 8-14 issue.
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