- Last week the Bureau of Labor Statistics
re-benchmarked the payroll jobs data back to 2000. Thanks to Charles McMillion
of MBG Information Services, I have the adjusted data from January 2001
through January 2006. If you are worried about terrorists, you don't know
what worry is.
- Job growth over the last five years is
the weakest on record. The US economy came up more than 7 million jobs
short of keeping up with population growth. That's one good reason for
controlling immigration. An economy that cannot keep up with population
growth should not be boosting population with heavy rates of legal and
- Over the past five years the US economy
experienced a net job loss in goods producing activities. The entire job
growth was in service-providing activities--primarily credit intermediation,
health care and social assistance, waiters, waitresses and bartenders,
and state and local government.
- US manufacturing lost 2.9 million jobs,
almost 17% of the manufacturing work force. The wipeout is across the board.
Not a single manufacturing payroll classification created a single new
- The declines in some manufacturing sectors
have more in common with a country undergoing saturation bombing during
war than with a super-economy that is "the envy of the world."
Communications equipment lost 43% of its workforce. Semiconductors and
electronic components lost 37% of its workforce. The workforce in computers
and electronic products declined 30%. Electrical equipment and appliances
lost 25% of its employees. The workforce in motor vehicles and parts declined
12%. Furniture and related products lost 17% of its jobs. Apparel manufacturers
lost almost half of the work force. Employment in textile mills declined
43%. Paper and paper products lost one-fifth of its jobs. The work force
in plastics and rubber products declined by 15%. Even manufacturers of
beverages and tobacco products experienced a 7% shrinkage in jobs.
- The knowledge jobs that were supposed
to take the place of lost manufacturing jobs in the globalized "new
economy" never appeared. The information sector lost 17% of its jobs,
with the telecommunications work force declining by 25%. Even wholesale
and retail trade lost jobs. Despite massive new accounting burdens imposed
by Sarbanes-Oxley, accounting and bookkeeping employment shrank by 4%.
Computer systems design and related lost 9% of its jobs. Today there are
209,000 fewer managerial and supervisory jobs than 5 years ago.
- In five years the US economy only created
70,000 jobs in architecture and engineering, many of which are clerical.
Little wonder engineering enrollments are shrinking. There are no jobs
for graduates. The talk about engineering shortages is absolute ignorance.
There are several hundred thousand American engineers who are unemployed
and have been for years. No student wants a degree that is nothing but
a ticket to a soup line. Many engineers have written to me that they cannot
even get Wal-Mart jobs because their education makes them over-qualified.
- Offshore outsourcing and offshore production
have left the US awash with unemployment among the highly educated. The
low measured rate of unemployment does not include discouraged workers.
Labor arbitrage has made the unemployment rate less and less a meaningful
indicator. In the past unemployment resulted mainly from turnover in the
labor force and recession. Recoveries pulled people back into jobs.
- Unemployment benefits were intended to
help people over the down time in the cycle when workers were laid off.
Today the unemployment is permanent as entire occupations and industries
are wiped out by labor arbitrage as corporations replace their American
employees with foreign ones.
- Economists who look beyond political
press releases estimate the US unemployment rate to be between 7% and 8.5%.
There are now hundreds of thousands of Americans who will never recover
their investment in their university education.
- Unless the BLS is falsifying the data
or businesses are reporting the opposite of the facts, the US is experiencing
a job depression. Most economists refuse to acknowledge the facts, because
they endorsed globalization. It was a win-win situation, they said.
- They were wrong.
- At a time when America desperately needs
the voices of educated people as a counterweight to the disinformation
that emanates from the Bush administration and its supporters, economists
have discredited themselves. This is especially true for "free market
economists" who foolishly assumed that international labor arbitrage
was an example of free trade that was benefitting Americans. Where is the
benefit when employment in US export industries and import-competitive
industries is shrinking? After decades of struggle to regain credibility,
free market economics is on the verge of another wipeout.
- No sane economist can possibly maintain
that a deplorable record of merely 1,054,000 net new private sector jobs
over five years is an indication of a healthy economy. The total number
of private sector jobs created over the five year period is 500,000 jobs
less than one year's legal and illegal immigration! (In a December 2005
Center for Immigration Studies report based on the Census Bureau's March
2005 Current Population Survey, Steven Camarota writes that there were
7,9 million new immigrants between January 2000 and March 2005.)
- The economics profession has failed America.
It touts a meaningless number while joblessness soars. Lazy journalists
at the New York Times simply rewrite the Bush administration's press releases.
- On February 10 the Commerce Department
released a record US trade deficit in goods and services for 2005--$726
billion. The US deficit in Advanced Technology Products reached a new high.
Offshore production for home markets and jobs outsourcing has made the
US highly dependent on foreign provided goods and services, while simultaneously
reducing the export capability of the US economy. It is possible that there
might be no exchange rate at which the US can balance its trade.
- Polls indicate that the Bush administration
is succeeding in whipping up fear and hysteria about Iran. The secretary
of defense is promising Americans decades-long war. Is death in battle
Bush's solution to the job depression? Will Asians finance a decades-long
war for a bankrupt country?
- Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary
of the Treasury in the Reagan administration. He was Associate Editor of
the Wall Street Journal editorial page and Contributing Editor of National
Review. He is coauthor of The Tyranny of Good Intentions.He can be reached