Sunday, November 29, 2015

Another reality check on why there are no jobs

Another reality check on why there are no jobs


The Wall Street Journal may be under attack these days, and with editorials like this one straight out of bizarro world, that's understandable. However, the news side of the Murdoch-owned operation continues to produce moments of good journalism, like this one.

The wireless telecom industry just posted its worst employment numbers in 12 years -- so business must be totally in the toilet, right? Hardly. To the contrary, the industry is booming:

While the industry's revenue has grown 28% since 2006, when wireless employment peaked at 207,000 workers, its mostly nonunion work force has shrunk about 20%.

The disconnect between employment and industry growth reflects the broader head winds lashing the U.S. job market, as consolidation, outsourcing and productivity gains from new technology and business methods combine to undermine job growth.

At wireless carriers, leaps forward in smartphone and network technology haven't generally required increases in the call-center workers and salespeople that make up much of the wireless-telecom work force.

Those advances do show up, however, in skyrocketing productivity statistics. In 2009, the latest data available, the output per hour of wireless-carrier workers jumped 24.3%, more than in nearly any other service industry, according to a Labor Department report in May. Since 2002, output per hour in the industry has nearly tripled.

So from everything I can tell from the article, the lack of hiring has nothing to do with "uncertainty over the national debt" or "Obamacare" or all the reasons that people keep shouting at me from my AM button on my car radio. Nope, like a lot of businesses they're not hiring because they don't need to. Better technology has meant the wireless companies get fewer complaints and conduct more of their business online. If you think that's President Obama's fault, well OK then -- but I'm not seeing it.

Kind of reminds me of a story I heard somewhere about an ATM machine...

Since we may or may not be redoing some of the tax code as part of some "grand bargain" (which I'll believe when I see), it would be good to see major tax credits or tax breaks go to companies that create American jobs, even if -- or maybe especially if -- if means higher levies for firms that ship jobs overseas, etc. It would be an admission that the "invisible hand" of job creation has flown the coop.

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Will Bunch
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