August 25, 2012

The Evolving Employment Picture

Here is some reading from John Mauldin sure to cause you to go "hmmm..." then wonder how this story turns out. Extracts from the four main topics of his latest newsletter, Boomers Are Breaking the Deal:
- "[We] may be going through a technological shift in employment not unlike that in the Industrial Revolution." Mauldin means more than just the rise of the internet and the proliferation of handheld computing devices. He refers to the dramatic shift in employment patterns akin to the transition from farm-to-domestic worker that occurred with industrialization. 

- "[Between] 2007 and 2011, 98.3 percent of the job gains in that combined group [those with college degrees] went to the advanced degree holders. These days, it seems we're really in a grad school economy...only three of the 30 occupations with the largest projected number of job openings by 2020 will require a bachelor’s degree or higher to fill the position — teachers, college professors and accountants. Most job openings are in professions such as retail sales, fast food and truck driving, jobs which aren’t easily replaced by computers."

- "Since the end of the recession, the number of jobs has grown by less than 3 million, all of which have been gained by those in the 55 year and older category! And then some: Boomers have taken “market share” from those who are younger."

- "There are now half as many people getting some kind of Social Security benefit as there are workers in private employment paying into Social Security. And the trend is clearly advancing. This cannot be sustained...[One] in eight families is now getting food stamps... over 50% of US families get some form of government check each month, while the percentage of workers in the private workforce is shrinking."

Of course we should add to this the worrisome and destructive trend in national debt accumulation and our inability (or unwillingness) to develop and implement the systemic corrections necessary to correct our situation. Massively increasing debt levels, ever more people dependent on government largess (extracted from productive capital), fewer (good) job opportunities for an increasing number of younger folks, and a changing employment marketplace that we just don't understand.

Hmmm...I wonder how this story turns out...

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