It’s not a fantastic time to be a job hunter in America. The US economic “recovery” officially stalled in Q1 no matter what Steve Liesman, The San Francisco Fed, and/or the BEA say after double-adjusting the numbers, and as we’ve shown, those who are highly skilled at delivering beer and wings to restaurant patrons are far better off than highly skilled factory workers or, indeed, than those with freshly-minted master’s degrees in today’s marketplace.
Of course, even for those who are lucky enough to find work, the picture isn’t pretty, as wage growth for the 80% of laborers classified by the BLS as “non-supervisors” remains largely absent, while for those unfortunate enough to be stuck in minimum wage positions, affording even a one bedroom apartment is now officially out of the question in every state.
Given this rather depressing backdrop, it’s little wonder that workers are inclined to “alter their mood” a bit before punching the clock. Indeed, over the past 24 months, a decades-old trend towards falling workplace drug usage has reversed itself, with 4% of workers now testing positive for either legal or illegal drug use:
More, via WSJ:
Traces of drugs—from marijuana to methamphetamine to prescription opiates—were found in 3.9% of the 9.1 million urine tests conducted for employers by Quest Diagnostics Inc. in 2014, up from 3.7% in 2013.
While the numbers might seem small, they reflect the reversal of a longtime trend of declining drug use among workers. Before 2013, positives had dropped nearly every year for 24 years, from 13.6% in 1988 to a low of 3.5% in 2012. Some of the positive results are later discarded if a worker produces a doctor’s prescription for a legal drug, but the majority reflect illicit use, driven by increases in marijuana, cocaine and methamphetamine positives, said Dr. Barry Sample, director of science and technology for Quest’s diagnostics employer solutions business.Experts are unsure why drug usage is rising. Researchers haven’t been able to conclusively link drug consumption to economic cycles. A 2013 paper from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, for example, concluded that “the Great Recession did not generate a clear temporary or permanent pattern in rates of substance abuse.”