Jobs Aren’t the Answer

I recently read an article that said that job losses sustained in the 2008-2010 recession, (which I would argue we’ve yet to recover from) will NEVER be recovered. They are lost to technology, to efficiencies, and to outsourcing – none of which will be reversed to benefit the unemployed.

Instead these jobs have been replaced by lower paying, less profitable positions which all offer fewer benefits and less security.

But for all the sound bite tripe from the chattering class, you’d assume that a job was a job and if we could just “get some folks back to work”, everything would be okay. But in fact it won’t be.

It won’t be okay, because if you replace a good job with a crappy job – you’re losing ground even though you’ve put them back to work.

That’s what these latest numbers are showing us. Sure, there is value in “jobs.” But all jobs aren’t equal. Not even close. Jobs in the service sector, at the dry cleaners or waiting tables don’t pay the same as an assembly line worker…or a metal fabricator… or a watch maker. Because you can’t employ as many people when you supply fries as when you supply a washer and dryer. And the pay is lower, and the benefits are less. The economics can’t support it. And as we have evolved into a non-producer nation (we simply consume) there are fewer and fewer good jobs left.

So while politicians continue to clamor about “job creators”, keep in mind that more jobs doesn’t guarantee any type of economic success. We should be asking for industry creators, not job creators. Job creators aren’t the answer – innovators and entrepreneurs are what we need, people who CREATE new industries…not people who throw up another eleven Arby’s Restaurants. Those people are “employment slumlords.” They pay minimum wage, offer few benefits and little opportunity for a living wage. And fools in the press revere them as if a job at the deep-fat fryer is something to be thankful for. That’s foolish. They shouldn’t be revered. They offer almost nothing of value.

So don’t be fooled by jobs reports that indicate that we’re just about ready to recover. We’re not. Unless by recover, you mean “Would you like to super-size that?”