I just saw a program on robots. The most telling statement made was that any increase in manufacturing in the USA will come by way of automation, meaning more robots. I also recently saw numbers that show that the percentage of the work force engaged in making durable goods, i.e. manufacturing, is less than 3 percent.
Still more chilling for employment I read an article that showed that the large companies that have performed best since the “Great Recession” are those who have sharply trimmed their work forces. The lesson for big business is that profits lie in reducing costs, mainly labor, instead of growing production.
A third element here is the program, I watched the other day and reported, that pointed to falling employment in the service sector due to rapidly rising automation in this part of the economy. All of this presents a sober analysis of the real prospects for forming more jobs. We appear to be facing systemic rather than cyclical problems for our labor situation.
Still more bad news for job formation is that the construction industry is losing its recent renewed vigor. Sharply reduced new family formation, read young people still living with their parents, difficult mortgage criteria, and rising prices seem to be the causes of the slow down in home sales. And construction had been a bright light in an otherwise overall dull job formation picture.
What all this means is that new jobs are still scarce, a situation that promises to stay around for some time to come.