Thursday, May 26, 2011

Peak Employment?



This chart shows the natural log of civilian employment. Constant exponential growth rates therefore show up as a straight line. The trend line in red is not a straight line though. I'm using a 3rd order polynomial as an attempt to fit it.

In previous posts I showed that the long-term exponential trend has died and there's no going back to it. It is not mathematically possible.

I did not offer a new trend to replace it though. I'm not a big fan of using polynomials to predict the future, but they do offer a pretty good glimpse of where we currently are. As seen in the chart, that glimpse is mighty ugly.

Anyone who thinks that we can continue to automate and outsource jobs away because it hasn't hurt us in the past might want to stare at this long-term chart for a while. We've been losing job creation momentum for decades. It is not an unexpected new problem that has suddenly appeared.

As a side note, the 3rd order polynomial was chosen because it allows both the increasing growth due to women entering the workforce (as seen in the left half of the chart) and the decreasing growth due to automation and outsourcing (as seen in the right half of the chart). The former is done. Women now make up about 50% of the workforce. The latter continues on though.

I am not attempting to make predictions about the future here. I'm simply pointing out that there is a risk that we have seen peak employment. We are 6.9 million jobs below the peak set in November 2007. That was 3 1/2 years and trillions of borrowed dollars ago.

Update:




See Also:
Trend Line Disclaimer

Source Data:
St. Louis Fed: Civilian Employment
St. Louis Fed: Employment in Japan

4 comments:

getyourselfconnected said...

Well I have seen the future and it has a crap load of robots in it.

Stagflationary Mark said...

GYSC,

The Onion: Thousands of Unemployed Manufacturing Robots Join Military

getyourselfconnected said...

That is NOT funny!

Stagflationary Mark said...

GYSC,

June 9, 1999
The Onion: I Believe The Robots Are Our Future

It is only through our guidance with a firm yet gentle hand that they will achieve full sentience and eventually adapt for themselves the capacity for autonomous self-replication. Only then, nurtured by our love and caring, will they be prepared for the inevitable day that they must leave the nest of human supervision and servitude and begin independently mass-manufacturing themselves by the hundreds of thousands.

Funnier?