Sunday, January 5, 2014

The "Recovery"

The following chart shows goods-producing employment divided by service-providing employment.

Click to enlarge.


Let's look at the bigger picture and see where we are.

Click to enlarge.

If transitioning from a goods-producing economy to a service-providing economy is such a good thing, then why does the bulk of the transitioning happen during recessions?

Source Data:
St. Louis Fed: Custom Chart #1
St. Louis Fed: Custom Chart #2


Mr Slippery said...

Maybe you just need to invert the charts to see that recessions just speed up the booming service economy. Everybody wins, future is so bright, etc.

On a more serious note, is there some creative destruction going on here, as manufacturing gets more efficient? That eliminates jobs and those people have to find another profession.

Troy said...

This is just a losing battle defending the postwar US wage level from globalization.

Germany and Japan got their nose in the tent early, then the asian tigers, and now China after Deng's policy change, along with Mexico with NAFTA.

Why mfg when you can import!

Apple is trying to assemble the Mac Pro in the US, their order backlog went to February instantly.

6M jobs gone since 1990, a 1/3 decimation. Man.

Troy said...

found a house for you on reddit!

Stagflationary Mark said...

Mr Slippery,

Maybe you just need to invert the charts to see that recessions just speed up the booming service economy.

Genius! Meteor-ology for the win! The more we crater, the brighter it gets!

Stagflationary Mark said...


This is just a losing battle defending the postwar US wage level from globalization.

No joke. Our machinists up here in the Seattle area miraculously opted to finally approve the latest Boeing contract.

France is certainly fighting that war with intent to win. They are not known for their brilliant defenses though.

Maginot Line

The success of static, defensive combat in World War I was a key influence on French thinking. Military experts extolled the Maginot Line as a work of genius, believing it would prevent any further invasions from the east.


Stagflationary Mark said...


found a house for you

I'll need a helipad and a place to anchor my yacht. If I'm going to dream, no point going halfway, lol.

In all seriousness, the odds of my nest egg growing from here in real inflation adjusted terms is from slim to none (and slim left town, lol).

Fortunately, the lifestyle of the rich and famous has never really appealed to me. Free time is more than adequate. My biggest personal expense in 2013 by a wide margin was liver surgery for my dog. Not exactly glamorous!

Troy said...

When Japan was the world's export powerhouse (1960s and 70s) their yen was 4X undervalued to where it ended up earlier this decade.

This was the secret of their success, two factory workers making the same local rate would get $2.50 in Tokyo vs. $10 in Detroit (or Everett).

Thing is, they even haven't been the "big printers" . . .

blue is US M2
red is Japan's, with a fixed FX at 220, a reasonable 'happy medium' in the 1973-1985 floating regime.

is the yen converted to dollars at current FX, showing how the see-saw FX monkeys with Japan's M2 in dollar terms.

Most useful is just taking 1980 = 100 for both:

Bennie, you've been a very naughty boy!

Stagflationary Mark said...


On a per capita basis, the money printing might be closer to a dead heat.

Population: Japan / USA

Troy said...

That is an interesting question . . . what's going to happen to all the yen when there's only half the Japanese around to spend it . . .

Thinking about Japan makes my head hurt. They busted their asses 1950-1980 inventing and mfg the 20th century, and since 1980 used their stronger currency to assemble trillions of positive NIIP to live off of.

Yet, like us, they have to double taxes to return to a sustainable fiscal picture.

Norway is similarly successful but they too have been killed by a housing bubble.

Sustainable Gains (aka Wisdom Seeker) said...

1960s: "One word: Plastics" (_The Graduate_)

1970s: "One word: Semiconductors"

1980s: "One word: Computers"

1990s: "One word: Internet"

2000s: "One word: Robotics"

Rob Dawg said...

2010s: "One word: Leverage."

Sustainable Gains (aka Wisdom Seeker) said...

Actually, I'm surprised Mark hasn't plotted the 70-year trend yet and extrapolated out to where we'll hit "zero" goods-producing jobs. I can see robots doing more and more of the production, but not all, and it seems that global outsourcing has largely run its course. So there has to be a trend failure at some point. It looks like the curve starts bending up in the 1990s, actually, and I suppose the trough could already be here? On the other hand, if the number of goods-producing jobs merely increases slower than the rate of service-jobs growth, the curve could trend down forever!

P.S. Rob, I agree with many of your sentiments regarding CalculatedRisk and Hoocoodanode. On HCN I see too much criticism and not enough critical thinking (of the more open-minded sort). On CR I see too much cheerleading and not enough critical inquiry. IMHO it will be very interesting to see who (other than those already bearish) pivots at the right time and gets credit for calling the next major market/economic top.

Stagflationary Mark said...

Sustainable Gains,

I see an exponential decay trend when looking at the data. That would mean it never reaches zero. That would also be consistent with your belief that robots won't replace all production jobs.

I have to believe that there will always be at least one person who continues to make handcrafted furniture. That said, one person can't exactly boost nonfarm payrolls. One is a fairly small number in the grand scheme of things. Sigh.

Stagflationary Mark said...

2020s: "One Word: @#$%"

Just a prediction, lol. Sigh.

Stagflationary Mark said...


Thinking about Japan makes my head hurt.

Sometimes I sits and thinks, and sometimes I just sits.

I heard that many, many years ago. Works great for me. I need to do it more often, lol. Seriously. Insomnia is a curse. Sometimes I just can't stop thinking.