Machines aren’t used because they perform some tasks that much better than humans, but because, in many cases, they do a “good enough” job while also being cheaper, more predictable and easier to control than quirky, pesky humans. Technology in the workplace is as much about power and control as it is about productivity and efficiency.
If we look at employment prior to the Great Recession compared to now there is a difference of 11.3 million jobs (from Bookings institute). Now how long is it going to take to return to that level? If you take the best job growth of the 2000’s it’ll be 157 months or 11years. That’s not until 2021!
If you take the best rate from the 1990’s it’s down to about 8 years! Here’s the chart with how many months it’ll take based on the rate with a couple note worthy rates highlighted.
Here’s is Calculated Risk’s version of the scariest chart. It shows the change in employment as a percent since the peak employment near the beginning of the recession; for this recession, that’s Dec 2007. Don’t forget that the years up to 2007 weren’t particularly good as there was no net gain of jobs in spite of increasing population.
Inflation is at 2.2% which is lower then usual.
The dotted line is employment with the census workers taken out.
Pick your favorite, worst recession and compare with how we are doing now. There are even predictions that unemployment may reach 12%.
Unemployment is always a relative thing but this chart looks at employment as a percentage of the total work force. From Brad DeLong:
This graph has been making the rounds (I got it from Barry Ritholtz’s). It shows the percentage change in unemployment (Y-axis) and the months since the official start of the recession.
What’s particularly dramatic about this is employment continues to worsen and over a much longer period of time than past recessions. E.g. this recession is going to be deeper and longer than past ones.
What I don’t like about this chart is that it is the percentage change in a rate. For example, the unemployment in 1960 was ~6%. A 50% increase brings it up to 9%. In 2007, unemployment was 4.5%. A 100% increase brings it up to 9%, too.