Skip to comments.Where Have All the Jobs Gone?
Posted on 11/03/2012 6:12:41 AM PDT by Kaslin
Another jobs report came out yesterday and, like so many others before it, the news was disappointing. Our economy is actually growing more slowly this year than it grew last year — somewhere in the 2% range. Normally after a steep decline, the economy would be roaring back at a 5% to 6% clip.
The official unemployment rate is 7.9%, one-tenth of a point higher than last month's number. But the true rate is almost twice that level. Many people who want a full-time job are working part-time instead. And much of the modest increase in economic activity is the result of people who have jobs working more hours rather than new workers being hired.
All told, we are experiencing the slowest recovery since the Great Depression.
So what's wrong?
Public policy is wrong. Especially new policies that have been enacted during the Obama administration. These policies have the effect of discouraging people from accepting work and discouraging employers from offering it.
A new book by University of Chicago economist Casey Mulligan explains what has been happening on the supply side. In a nutshell, we are paying people not to work:
[I]n the matter of a few quarters of 2008 and 2009, new federal and state laws greatly enhanced the help given to the poor and unemployed — from expansion of food-stamp eligibility to enlargement of food-stamp benefits to payment of unemployment bonuses — sharply eroding (and, in some cases, fully eliminating) the incentives for workers to seek and retain jobs, and for employers to create jobs or avoid layoffs.
Mulligan gives the example of a two earner couple — each earning $600 a week. After the wife gets laid off she obtains a new job offer, paying $500 a week. But after deducting taxes and work related expenses her take home pay would be $257. Since untaxed unemployment benefits total $289, clearly she is better off not working.
Mulligan notes that it was the collapse of the housing market that set off the financial crisis that led to the Great Recession. But our problems are not confined to housing. They are system wide. For every one job lost in construction, five others were lost is other sectors. One thing that affects all sectors, however, is overly generous incentives not to work.
On the demand side, the elephant in the room is the Affordable Care Ac, what some call ObamaCare. Required family coverage under the act is expected to average more than $15,000 a year. For $15 an hour employees, that sum equals more than half their annual wage. Employers of low-skilled workers therefore are about to get hit with mandated benefit that will increase their labor costs by 50% or more.
To make matters worse, employers don't really know what insurance they will have to provide or what it will cost. The $15,000 number I refer to is an estimate by the Congressional Budget Office. Presumably, employers will have the option of paying a fine equal to $2,000 per worker if they don't provide the insurance. But does anybody think the fine is likely to stay that low? A lot of employers don't. The uncertainty created by all this is possibly worse than the actual monetary burden.
Add to all of this a Dodd-Frank banking bill that is encouraging bankers not to lend and you have a formula for perpetual stagnation — which is pretty much where we are.
This is exactly the case in my industry. My company's revenues are up and our overhead is down because we're getting more work done with fewer people. I attribute it almost entirely to the overhead expenses associated with employees that have no relation to their productivity. Two employees who each have a $15,000 family medical plan, for example, bring an additional $30,000 in overhead costs to the bottom line in addition to the other expenses such as payroll taxes, unemployment insurance, etc.
If you have a labor budget of $400,000 in your business, the best business model is one that includes having 3 people do the work of 4 -- and paying them each $133,000 instead of paying 4 people $100,000 apiece. That way you save $15,000 in medical insurance costs for the fourth employee, plus the remaining three earn $30,000+ that is above the Social Security cap and therefore not subject to FICA withholding for the employee or the employer.
It sounds like the Obama administration really should have gotten a lesson in fixed costs vs. variable costs before they began running this economy into the ground.
Very telling in many ways.
You cannot teach the ignorant to use common sense
All I heard on the evening news last night was what good news this is and how our dear leader’s policies are starting to work. I just rolled my eyes....so predictable.
You can’t teach them to be good workers, either. That’s why they’re the first ones to get cut loose when things get tight.
The 0bama media believes this
ATM’s took all the jobs, remember?
Sure it's true. Here is how he ‘creates’ them.
Look at all the green jobs he ‘created’ as an example.
In obama world a green job is any job that might use less energy than some other things might use.
One bus would use less fuel than 50 cars would.
So pretending the bus is full, and all the riders would otherwise be driving separate cars, the bus driver is now a green job.
Lets say there are 100,000 bus drivers, by naming them ‘green jobs’ obama ‘created’ 100K green jobs.
It works the same way with obama’s 5 million ‘created’ jobs.
You just redefine what a ‘job’ is, presto, jobs are ‘created’.
Not only are jobs ‘created’, they are ‘new’ jobs, because they were never before classified as a job.
Mowing your own lawn can save you money, so the homeowner gained income by doing so. Presto, mowing your lawn is a new job ‘created’.
Where have jobs gone?
Check the labels on what you buy for the answer, stupid.
Perhaps Mr. Obama’s five-million count includes temporary jobs such as the Census crew and nonce jobs like at Solyndra.
Obama can always parse out his statements. “Hey, I said I created five million jobs, I didn’t say those folks still have their jobs.”