It is common knowledge that the employment situation is at one of the worst states ever for the US (illustration below shows the last 5 years). But it has now reached an apex. Private sector job creation for the last decade is at a virtual 0%. This makes me think three things.
- The first is that the world is flat and anything that can either be automated/made routine will be.
- The second thought is there hasn’t been any employment game changers since the internet. For instance, in the early part of the decade the automobile changed the US. Then science took over with nuclear energy and bombs. Then computers. Health care and energy each have the potential, but they are so political that organic ideas get choked off.
- And finally, the third is that leadership is no longer bold. Many leaders simply protect what they have, they play it safe. JFK wanted a man on the moon before the 1960s ended. And it happened. Ask yourself when the last time you were inspired?
Check these job charts out (courtesy of the NY Times):
2 responses to “Ten Years and Basically No Private Sector Job Creation”
It should have been obvious to those promoting world trade (“globalization” that there would be consequences from our having to compete with people who earn 50 cents an hour when we pay $50 an hour (rough total cost including all fringes at GM) for jobs that can be learned in an hour or two (no previous education required). It’s not that I’m against globalization; it’s just that we didn’t prepare for it. So it’s not surprising that we’re not creating new jobs. Worse, almost all the jobs we are creating don’t result in exports to pay for our imports. They merely satisfy domestic consumption one way or another-whether short-term like legal to settle disputes or better medical care or long-term like better housing. The result is ever-increasing debt owed to foreigners. This is not sustainable. Eventually our currency must deteriorate and the whole arrangement halt. It is not obvious where we have an advantage in exports except in food. Or maybe high-technology (except that the dissemination of information is also part of globalization so others have become as good at hi-tech as we). However, if we can’t increase exports, we can reduce imports. The most obvious candidate is fossil fuel. Depending on the likely price of oil, imports can cost us anywhere from several hundred billion to a trillion dollars yearly. And, to get back to employment, perhaps millions of jobs were we generate this energy domestically from solar sources. Already, because of progressive California laws, their utilities have signed contracts for several gigawatts of electric power–an enormous amount (the largest generating stations of any type are no more than about one gigawatt each). These are called tower-solar-thermal and involve thousands of mirrors aimed at a water boiler atop a tower that raises high-pressure, high-temperature steam to spin a turbine. The job-creation will be magnified by the need for reinforcement of the electricity transmission network and eventual replacement of the current car fleet with plug-in electric cars like the forthcoming GM-Volt. Additional benefits will be pollution reduction and mitigation of global-warming. Also an end to dependence on unreliable, even hostile, foreign sources of oil. Oil which is an increasingly scarce, increasingly expensive commodity. So an electric economy offers many advantages besides the primary goal of job creation.
Ben, interesting post that raises some interesting questions. I enjoyed in particular your reference to Pres. Kennedy pledging to put a man on the moon. On February 8, 2009, I sent Pres. Obama this message:”Please, Mr. President, be bold. Forty eight years ago President Kennedy made a bold challenge to the nation to put a man on the moon within 10 years. President Kennedy did not know how or whether it could be done, but he galvanized the attention of America. Today’s crisis demands nothing less! You made us believe “Yes, we can”. ‘Saving or creating’ 3 million jobs is not bold enough. Challenge the CEA, Congress and us to find a way to create 6 million new jobs. Respectfully, Robert Eastman I think we will regret for awhile that we are not committing ourselves to creating jobs. President Obama referred several months ago to creating ‘not just any jobs, but jobs that America needs’. If I am not mistaken, I think I heard President Obama say the other day that we will not consider the recession until the job losses level off… This tells me that President Obama is not so much concerned with creating new jobs as he is with creating a new capitalism. Only time will tell.