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And what of Trump’s own preferred economic metrics? It’s certainly true that unemployment is near a 70-year low, standing at 3.5 percent in December 2019. The only other periods in modern history that saw lower unemployment rates were the late 1940s (1948), the early 1950s (1951-1953) and the late 1960s (1968-1969). But these comparisons are highly deceptive. They fail to account for the rise of contingent labor in the modern era, with the overwhelming majority of new jobs created from 2005 to 2015 – 94 percent – falling into what Harvard and Princeton economists call “alternative work” arrangements. These “alternative” jobs in the modern gig economy include contract work, freelance jobs, temp agency positions, on-call positions, and employment with contract companies. These jobs are highly unreliable, often failing to provide Americans with stable work, a living wage, or adequate benefits such as health care and a secure retirement. Trump’s America provides a plethora of jobs to choose from. Whether any of them are worth taking is another question entirely.

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