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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Whether You Have A Job Or Not, These Structural Changes In The U.S. Economy Are Important To You!!

The Current Issue of the McKinsey Quarterly has these observations about "The Changing Shape of U. S. Recessions".  It goes like this:  From the end of World War II until the collapse of the Soviet Union, US recessions and recoveries followed a predictable pattern:  when demand recovered and GDP growth resumed, employers hired again.  But for the past two decades, recessions have become periods of accelerated structural change--longer "jobless recoveries" that result in years, not months, of unemployment.  At the rate of net job creation, it will take more than 60 months (five years) to replace the jobs lost in the 2008-09 recession.

The impact on employment is getting deeper.  In the 2008 recession, employment declined by 6.34%--twice as much in all previous postwar recessions--with 8.4 million jobs lost from peak to trough.

These developments are symptoms of deeper changes.  In earlier recessions, companies kept more workers on the payroll than they needed, trading some productivity for the ability to meet demand quickly when it bounced back.  Recent downturns, on the other hand, have been a time for tough decisions about which activities are essential and which are not and about the footprint a company needs to be globally competitive.  More layoffs than in the past have been permanent; firms are relying more on temporary, contract workers; and technology is changing the nature of work by helping to disaggregate jobs into smaller tasks that can be performed by combinations of people and increasingly intelligent machines, sometimes in far-flung locations.  The evolution of these forces will shape the future of US job creation.

Months elapsed between return of real GDP to prerecession peak and return of employment to prerecession peak.

1948      6
1953      7
1957      6
1960      6
1973      3
1981     6

1990      15
2001      39
2008      60+

The Great Recession Conspiracy contains a survey of jobs that will  face increasing demand in the immediate, and longer, future.  They all require more education and/or training.  If you are out of work now, or really worried about the safety of your current job, stop reading here and go to work on a plan for your new career.  Your old job ain't comin' back!!!

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