Monday, July 15, 2013

Where Are the Jobs

"We may never -- or at least not anytime soon -- regain 'full employment,' meaning an unemployment rate between, say, 4 percent and 5.5 percent. It is now four years from the recovery's start, and the number of jobs is still 2.2 million below the pre-recession peak."

Robert J. Samuelson, "High tech and the long road to 'full employment," The Washington Post, July 15, 2013.

One reason he cites is technology, which is taking away jobs while not yet creating sufficient new demand. When one factors in population growth and discouraged and part-time workers who want full-time jobs, the jobs needed in the U.S is far larger than 2.2 million.What we see, not surprisingly, is the slow erosion of labor force participation.

In an op-ed several months ago, Ross Douthat, in "A World Without Work," speculated that:

"It's a kind of post employment, in which people drop out of the work force and find ways to live, more or less permanently, without a steady job."

That's been a reality for many at the bottom for some time who piece together a living from various income and resource streams.

He concludes with a paradox for the new America, "A nonworking working class may not be immiserated; neither will its members ever find a way to rise above their station."

We need some new ideas.

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