Those Jobs Numbers: More Bad News For College Graduates
Deceit about jobs is taking over
from deceit about the
Iraq war. Lost in the hoopla about 248,000 jobs
created in May is the discouraging pattern of job
Why didn`t the pundits touting the
“good news on the jobs front” tell us that
176,000 of the jobs—or 71%—are concentrated in
low-paying domestic services that cannot be outsourced?
Here is where the May jobs are:
restaurants and bars 33,000;
health care and social assistance 36,000; temporary
help 31,000; retail trade 19,000;
transportation and warehousing 15,000; financial
activities 15,000; real estate 9,000; services to
buildings and dwellings 8,000;
This repeats the pattern of last
month and, indeed, of every month in the new millennium.
Our economy is not creating jobs that are part of the
high tech global economy or that require
university education. The jobs that made America a
land of opportunity where people could rise are missing.
If we add the 37,000
construction jobs created in May, then 213,000—or
86%—of May`s jobs are in sectors that do not face import
competition and cannot be outsourced. Neither do they
produce exports to close the massive trade deficit.
The US economy might be part of the
global economy, but jobs are not being created for the
US work force in that part of the economy.
Despite the obvious facts, pundits
continue to mislead the public that all is well on the
jobs front. Writing in the Washington Times (Offshoring
Which Jobs?, June 6), Alan Reynolds touts the
Bureau of Labor Statistics projection that one million
new jobs will be created for computer specialists during
the ten year period from 2002 -2012.
What Mr. Reynolds doesn`t tell you
is that the
BLS does not say that these jobs with American firms
will be filled by Americans. Neither does Mr. Reynolds
tell you that of the 10 occupations predicted to provide
the most jobs, seven require no college education.
US firms might create 1 million
computer specialists, be they
Indian, Chinese, East European or
American, by 2012, but so far the economy is still
losing computer jobs. There are 8,000 fewer than a year
ago and 223,000 fewer than in January 2001.
For the last 40 months the only
sectors of the US economy that have experienced net job
growth are: construction, financial activities,
education and health services, restaurants and bars,
membership associations & organizations, and government.
Together these sectors created 3.35
million jobs of which health care, government, and
restaurants and bars account for 73%.
During the same 40 months the US
economy lost 4.35 million jobs in manufacturing,
wholesale trade, retail, transportation & warehousing,
utilities, information, and professional & business
Sarbanes-Oxley, legislation that greatly increased
the accounting burden on US firms, Americans lost 64,000
accounting jobs, many of which were outsourced to the
Despite the loss of 1 million jobs,
the US economy
found the need for 67,000 more jobs in legal
With fewer architectural,
engineering, computer, information, and manufacturing
jobs than four years ago, what becomes of university
graduates trained for nonexistent jobs in the high tech
economy? They have to retrain to
wait tables and serve drinks when they graduate.
When the vast majority of new jobs are in domestic
services that only require short term on the job
training, what sense does a university education make?
Pundits are fond of citing
“studies” paid for by Indian offshore jobs platforms
that “only” 3.3 million US jobs will be
outsourced in the next ten years. For an economy that
has lost 1 million jobs since January 2001, this is a
For an economy that has only 1.1
million jobs in “computer systems design and related”
and only 1.26 million jobs in “architectural and
engineering services,” 3.3 million more jobs to be
outsourced is a devastating blow to students who pursue
difficult curriculums in college in hopes of a career.
Jobs deceit reached new heights
with a New York Times columnist`s report from a
visit to India. True, he said, Indians now have many of
our computer jobs. However, he effused, Americans were
getting rich as a result. The proof: Indians were
working on American brand computers, cooled by American
brand AC, drinking American brand soft drinks.
The columnist was impervious to the
fact that none of the American brands he named were made
in America by Americans![The
silver lining of outsourcing overseas, by Thomas
L. Friedman, NYT February 27, 2004,]
Americans are being taken for a
ride on jobs, just as they were on Iraqi “weapons of
mass destruction” and terrorist links to al Qaeda.
The jobs mess will be just as big
and just as costly as the Iraq mess.
Americans are being manipulated
beyond their means.
[Sources for the jobs data are the
Bureau of Labor Statistics and
Charles McMillion at MBG Information Services in
Craig Roberts was Associate Editor of the WSJ editorial
page, 1978-80, and columnist for “Political Economy.”
During 1981-82 he was Assistant Secretary of the
Treasury for Economic Policy. He is the author of
Supply-Side Revolution: An Insider`s Account of
Policymaking in Washington.