Tuesday, January 6, 2015

The Incredible Disappearing Job: A five-point plan for creating jobs

As most people know or at least intuit that the low unemployment rate masks the real job situation for many millions of Americans. 

My Time.com essay today, The Incredible Disappearing Job, offers a five-point plan for addressing the problem.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Although it's not always necessary, it's helpful to include a link to the article in question...

Marty Nemko said...

Done. Thanks. An oversight.

Anonymous said...

When I was in high school, all students had to take and pass one year of vocational education classes. The college-bound usually took typing as freshmen or sophomores. Awareness of this doesn't exactly inspire confidence in this idea.

I took typing, electronics, and journalism along with the pre-college curriculum. I also worked summers. In college I had several jobs, and taught for a year. None of this helped me land a job afterwards.

Anonymous said...

I think your article is on target. The one thing you didn't address is raising the minimum wage to at least 10-12 an hour. If Starbucks can do it and provide health care to its employees as well as some access to education, pony up Walmart.

Marty Nemko said...

I have mixed feelings about raising the minimum wage.

Most caring people feel that minimum wage workers, for example, those who work in fast-food restaurants, deserve a raise to what’s called a living wage, roughly $15 an hour plus the above-listed benefits in major cities. It seems unconscionable to pay anyone less.

The problem is that too many employees add value that’s less than $15 an hour—unreliabilty, slow learning, high employee theft, above-average rate of personal problems-- plus the great deal more to pay for the above-listed benefits and other costs. I fear that raising the minimum wage will, in the short run, be a boon to minimum wage workers, but soon not. Employers will, more quickly than ever, replace low-wage workers with automated solutions like the ones described above. More employers will reduce the need for workers by keeping their business open only during busy hours. Employers would raise prices to pay for the increases, which, ironically, disproportionately hurts low-income people—for example, fast-food restaurants are disproportionately patronized by the poor. That would lower sales, and in turn, require layoffs.

Anonymous said...

I understand what you are saying but as it is employers are cutting hours back at most businesses because employers don't want to pay for health insurance. I just don't see things getting better until we have a significant increase in the minimum wage. I don't mean .75 cents an hour either. I knew I would live with less than my parents but not this little. Like your article says, we have advanced degrees and we're taking wages lower than when we started school.I already live with less, but this is too much.

Anonymous said...

Great article, Marty. You provide validation to the many people who enjoy having mosaic careers.

I believe that the jobs that you said will disappear will be replaced with different jobs. I'm sure the fracking industry will grow exponentially in this country, and so will all manner of healthcare jobs. Hopefully, Tesla will spur a whole new industry of American-made, energy-efficient cars. There will be jobs creating energy-efficient technologies. There will be zillions of jobs creating new types of automation. What this means is that people will have to learn how to do very technical jobs, and that is a challenge for many people.

Anonymous said...

"Four-hundred and fifty people showed up, mostly people with hard-science PhDs." I believe many of these people could land a job in Lincoln, Omaha, Oklahoma City, etc. In other words, they would have to leave the Bay area.

Marty Nemko said...

It was a national conference held in D.C.

Anonymous said...

I live in the DC area. I wish I had known you were going to be here. Missed opportunity.

Marty Nemko said...

Thank you. My articles should give you plenty of Marty Nemko--much is linked-to from this blog. There's more on my site and there's my Twitter feed and, oh, my seven books.

Andrew_M_Garland said...

Economist Robert Murphy below discusses minimum wages in detail. It is worth a careful read.

I note that the people employed at the old and new minimum wage mostly will not be the same people. If an employer must hire at a minimum of $10.10/hr, he will hire more productive people. A later review may show that "the number of jobs at the minimum wage" has changed little, but the prior people are now unemployed, forgotten, and economically injured.

http://www.econlib.org/library/Columns/y2014/Murphyminimumwage.html
=== ===
[edited] There is a second, and independent, problem: Raising the minimum wage might represent a drastic harm to the most vulnerable and desperate workers if the specific employees who would be working for $10.10 an hour are different from those who would be working for $7.25 an hour.

What could happen is that the higher wage would attract new workers into the labor pool, allowing firms to become pickier and, thus, to overlook the least-productive workers, who would remain unemployed or lose their jobs to more highly skilled workers.
=== ===

The increase from $7.25 to $10.10 per hour is 39%. An employer would need 39% more productivity overall to make the choice of a more expensive worker as profitable. But, say the employer can only get 25% more productivity at that higher wage. The employer will immediately fire the low-wage worker and hire the high-wage worker. The employer suffers 39% higher wages at only 25% higher productivity, but it is the best he can do. If the market will not tolerate the higher prices associated with the unavoidable lower productivity, then the employer will not hire anyone and may forgo some or all business.

Substituting robots may not be an option. Still, the low wage workers will be fired.

Here is a way for anyone to thiink about the minimum wage. Say the government decided that your profession is underpaid. A new law requires that you receive 30% more in pay from your current employer or any other employer who hires you within your area of expertise.

Would you be happy with this help? People around you would congratulate you about your good luck. Actually, you would be rationally worried about being fired and not hired again in your profession. Employers would work hard to replace your skills with a combination of other jobs, and there would be immediate competition from people with more experience or higher degrees.

That is effectively what a low-wage worker would face. Ironically, they only think about what they would make if their wage went up in their current job. They don't think about being replaced.

Anonymous said...

A "mosaic career" may sound good in theory, but in practice you'd be undone by conflicting demands from multiple employers/clients. What happens when your two biggest clients have rush jobs that are due tomorrow, and you barely have time to do one?

Anonymous said...

Not to mention that the companies schedule you so that you have to rearrange your schedule around them. If you don't close, you could loose your job. Some companies don't give your schedule until two days ahead. If you are lucky, you may have at least one boss that cares about you as a person. $7.90 an hour isn't enough to live on even if you are a mosaic worker. Our county hasn't have a minimum wage raise in 20 years? If the minimum wage was raised to $10 an hour, the cost of most things will go up. However, think of the positives. People won't need to go food banks, maybe even buy a better car, get off food stamps. Those are the true costs of the current minimum wage, but it's the elephant in the middle of the living room