It says a lot about the current state of the US labor market that Obama chose an Amazon warehouse to tout his economic policies, job creation, and support for the “middle class”. Apparently we have resigned ourselves to a labor market that, as most economic studies have shown, produces primarily low paying, insecure, and precarious forms of employment for low skilled workers. Our growth sectors are no longer goods-producing, but rather goods-moving (more politely described as “logistics”).
Two reports on working conditions in an Amazon warehouse, with the following titles, are hardly reassuring: “Inside Amazon's Warehouse: Lehigh Valley workers tell of brutal heat, dizzying pace at online retailer” and “I Was a Warehouse Wage Slave: My brief, backbreaking, rage-inducing, low-paying, dildo-packing time inside the online-shipping machine”.
Based on what I could discover from various sources, the average warehouse worker at Amazon takes home about $24,500 a year — barely above the federal poverty line for a family of four. This assumes the worker is not a temp, an increasingly common employment status in this sector.
These jobs will not contribute to an economic recovery, or a growing "middle class", but they will sustain the Third World levels of income inequality that now characterize the US economy.