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All Quiet on the Jobs Front
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August 08, 2004, 05:00 AM
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US job growth practically ceased in July according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics payroll job survey released August 6. The US economy was able to eke out only 32,000 new jobs—more than 200,000 fewer jobs than expected and terrible news for June graduates and the millions of unemployed.

More bad news came from downward revisions in the two prior months` job gains.

As has been the case throughout this "recovery," job growth in July was concentrated in nontradable domestic services, with the largest components being "ambulatory health care services" and "employment services." Gains in these sectors were offset by losses in financial services, retail trade, and transportation equipment manufacture.

Since the recovery began 32 months ago in November 2001, globalism has worked to move US labor away from high value-added jobs in tradable goods and services, reallocating American workers into domestic services.

The BLS report, "Occupational Outlook Quarterly" (updated 6-29-04), forecasts a continuation of the reorientation of the US workforce toward domestic services. The list of "High-paying Occupations With Many Openings, Projected 2002-2012" (available online), names 20 "high-paying" occupations where the BLS expects the US economy to create jobs ranging in annual pay from $29,370 (general maintenance and repair workers) to $68,210 (general and operations managers).

The list consists of registered and practical nurses, school teachers, managers, sales representatives, truck drivers, executive secretaries, accountants and auditors, electricians, carpenters, mechanics, police officers, management analysts, and computer system analysts. Only the last occupation has any relation to a high-tech economy, and there is no guarantee that the computer jobs will not be outsourced or filled by foreigners working on H1-B or L-1 visas.

The BLS Career Guide to Manufacturing 2002-2012 projects a continuing wipeout of US manufacturing employment. Over the decade employment is expected to decline by 18% in aerospace manufacturing, by 12% in computer and electronic products, by 17% in chemical manufacturing, by 20% in the steel industry, by 31% in textile mills and products and by 69% in apparel manufacturing.

We continually hear that "America doesn`t graduate enough engineers." However, where is the need for increased enrollments in aerospace, computer, electrical, chemical, and textile engineering when the industries that employ engineers are shrinking rapidly?

Among America`s manufacturing industries, the BLS expects employment growth only in pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing (23% by 2012) and printing and support activities (3.3% by 2012).

The BLS employment projections for the automobile industry are poor, with employment in motor vehicle manufacturing expected to decline. Slight employment growth is projected in vehicle parts (3% over the decade).

Despite the overwhelming empirical evidence, economists and other spokespersons for global interests continue to maintain that globalism benefits the US work force. Arithmetic-challenged economists explain away vanishing manufacturing employment in terms of productivity increases that allow more output from fewer workers.

If this is true, why is America`s trade deficit in manufacturing goods rising, including advanced technology products? The US, allegedly a superpower is now dependent on advanced technology products from China, allegedly a third world country.

Those giving assurances that America is benefiting from globalism are missing the big picture. Globalism is reshaping the US labor force, giving the work force a third world profile. Thirty-two months of economic recovery has seen job growth only in domestic services, many of which are poorly paid. Overall, the economy has lost 1.8 million jobs since President Bush`s inauguration.

Economists are absurd to pretend that the absence of US job growth in tradable goods and services is unrelated to offshore production and outsourcing.

If the US economy can no longer generate jobs in tradable goods and services, we will find out whether Americans can survive by taking in one another`s laundry—and if Americans can pay for imports with domestic nontradable services.

COPYRIGHT CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC.

Paul Craig Roberts is the author with Lawrence M. Stratton of The Tyranny of Good Intentions : How Prosecutors and Bureaucrats Are Trampling the Constitution in the Name of Justice