Helping Everyone Join America’s Jobs Revolution

Comments Off on Helping Everyone Join America’s Jobs Revolution
Helping Everyone Join America’s Jobs Revolution

As documented in prior Trends issues, the research is unambiguous: a regular job does a lot more for individuals and society than enable a useful economic transaction.  It gives the worker something “worthwhile” to do on a regular basis.  In the process, it minimizes the time available for engaging in crime and addictions.  In American culture, “who you are is determined what you do”; whether you’re a carpenter, plumber, technician, manager or attorney; that’s why having a job gives you a sense of belonging and identity.  It also builds skills, confidence, and social bonds.  Beyond that, it provides the worker the “sense of pride” that comes from economic self-sufficiency and the knowledge that he or she is earning something, rather than being given things.  Furthermore, in the case of younger males, it dramatically increases their ability to have a successful marriage and be part of a traditional nuclear family.  In short, a case can be made that a “fully employed” populous is an indispensable factor contributing to Gross National Happiness and social stability, as well as to economic growth.

Therefore, “full employment” has been an American national priority for at least the past one hundred years.  And, every presidential campaign inevitably promises to deliver more and better “jobs.”

However, except for the World War II years, the United States has had a de facto labor surplus since at least the early 20th century.  So, the demographic trends and government policies discussed in January 2020 Trends issue, which are bringing this surplus to an end, are shocking unprepared employers, workers, and government agencies.  And, for the first time in at least 75 years, we’re concerned about mobilizing and developing all our idle talent, rather than warehousing the surplus.

Three interdependent factors, combined with the natural pattern of birth, death, and economic growth to balance labor market supply and demand:

  • Immigration, which increases the supply of labor beyond natural population growth;
  • Off-shoring and imports enabled by globalization, which lowers the demand for U.S. labor; and
  • Automation, which lowers the demand for workers, all other things being equal.

Each of these major factors, and several lesser ones, can be considered a curse or a blessing depending on how it’s managed, the timeframes considered and the intrusion of nonmarket factors.

However, over the past 120 years, the bottom-line result was that a significant share of the American people was not able to have productive jobs in our economy...

To continue reading, become a paid subscriber for full access.
Already a Trends Magazine subscriber? Login for full access now.

Subscribe for as low as $195/year

  • Get 12 months of Trends that will impact your business and your life
  • Gain access to the entire Trends Research Library
  • Optional Trends monthly CDs in addition to your On-Line access
  • Receive our exclusive "Trends Investor Forecast 2015" as a free online gift
  • If you do not like what you see, you can cancel anytime and receive a 100% full refund