It’s Definitive: We’ve Reached Peak Jobs

Tue, Oct 8, 2013 - 10:11am

The U.S. has reached Peak Jobs--at least the sort that can support a household.

There has long been a quasi-magical belief in the U.S. that capitalism's intrinsic dynamic of creative destruction will always create more jobs than it destroys. The evidence is compelling that this belief is no longer reality-based.

Please examine these charts of employment, keeping in mind that only full-time jobs can support households and pay sufficient taxes to fund entitlements paid by payroll taxes (Social Security and Medicare) and pay enough income taxes to support the rest of government.

Full-time jobs: the number of full-time jobs is essentially unchanged from 1999 while the U.S. population has increased 28%.

Full-time employment as a percentage of the U.S. population:

Full-time employment per capita: i.e. employment adjusted for population growth.

Full-time employment and Social Security beneficiaries: the ratio of full-time workers to Social Security beneficiaries has already fallen to 2-to-1, and the bulk of the Baby Boom has yet to reach retirement age.

Part-time employment: many of the jobs added over the past four years are part-time jobs that do not generate enough income to support a household or the government. Including these alongside full-time jobs is thus deceptive: 1 in 5 jobs is part-time.

Self-employment: drifting down to new lows as a percentage of non-farm employment.

The topping pattern in full-time jobs is obvious, as is the rise of part-time work and the slow decline of self-employment as a meaningful contributor to employment.Any one of these trends could be disputed, but together they make a definitive case that the U.S. has reached Peak Jobs--at least the sort that can support a household.

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csmith [at] oftwominds [dot] com ()