FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

More Phony Jobs Hype

 

Careless journalists and commentators are hyping the 274,000 new April payroll jobs as evidence of the health of the US economy. An examination of the details of the new jobs puts a different view on the matter.

April’s job growth is consistent with the depressing pattern of US employment growth in the 21st century: The outsourced US economy can create jobs only in domestic nontradable services.

Of the 274,000 April jobs, 256,000 were in the private or nongovernment sector, and 211,000 of these were in the service sector as follows: 58,000 in leisure and hospitality (primarily restaurants and bars), 47,000 in construction, 29,200 in wholesale and retail trade, 28,000 in health care and social assistance, 17,300 in administrative and support services (primarily temps), 11,700 in transportation and warehousing, 8,800 in real estate. A few scattered jobs in other service categories completes the picture.

Americans regard themselves as “the world’s only superpower,” but the pattern of American job growth in the 21st century is that of a third world economy. The US economy has ceased to create jobs in high tech sectors and in export and import-competitive sectors. Offshore outsourcing of manufacturing and of engineering and professional services is dismantling the ladders of upward mobility that made the American Dream possible.
Not only is the US economy creating third world jobs, according to analysis by Edwin S. Rubenstein (vdare.com, April 2, 2005), it is creating the jobs for Hispanic immigrants. Rubinstein examined job growth by ethnicity and found that Hispanics (13 percent of the work force) are gaining 60 percent of the new service jobs.

Rubinstein’s findings are consistent with the racial composition one observes on construction sites, in fast food restaurants, in waste services and among hospital orderlies.

Until recent years American jobs had nothing to fear from
low-wage foreign labor. Americans’ high pay reflected their high productivity from working with the most capital and best technology.

The collapse of world socialism and the rise of the high speed Internet forced Americans to compete head to head in the same global labor market with low wage foreign labor working with identical capital and technology. When US and European corporations move their manufacturing, research and development offshore or contract with offshore producers to supply the products and services that they market, the jobs and associated incomes are also transferred abroad.

Americans and Europeans cannot compete in labor markets with Chinese, Indians, and Eastern Europeans, because the cost of living in North America and Europe is so much higher. In addition, there is a vast excess supply of labor in China and India that overhangs the labor markets there and keeps wages low.

The claim by outsourcing’s proponents that outsourcing creates new and better jobs for Americans is pure fantasy. This claim can find no support in job and income data. Moreover, the same incentive to outsource that is sending so many jobs abroad applies equally to any new replacement jobs.

The only American jobs that are safe are in domestic nontradable services that cannot be outsourced, and even in these domestic services, such as school teachers and nurses, foreign workers are being imported via work visa programs.

Outsourcing’s proponents claim that it benefits corporations and their shareholders. This is true only in the short run. The substitution of foreign labor for American labor allows executives to reduce costs and increase profits, thus producing large bonuses for themselves and capital gains for shareholders. The long run effect, however, is to destroy the US consumer market and to reduce US corporations to a brand name with a sales force selling foreign made products to Americans employed in third world jobs.

Offshore outsourcing is a new phenomenon that has received little attention from economists, who mistakenly view offshore outsourcing as just another manifestation of the beneficial workings of free trade and comparative advantage. In fact, offshore outsourcing is the flow of resources to absolute advantage. Economists have known for two centuries that absolute advantage does not produce mutual gains. Unlike the operation of comparative advantage, absolute advantage produces winners and losers.

China and India are winning. America is losing. It is as simple as that.

PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration. He was Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal editorial page and Contributing Editor of National Review. He is coauthor of The Tyranny of Good Intentions.He can be reached at: pcroberts@postmark.net

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More articles by:

Paul Craig Roberts is a former Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury and Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal. Roberts’ How the Economy Was Lost is now available from CounterPunch in electronic format. His latest book is The Neoconservative Threat to World Order.

December 17, 2018
Susan Abulhawa
Marc Lamont Hill’s Detractors are the True Anti-Semites
Jake Palmer
Viktor Orban, Trump and the Populist Battle Over Public Space
Martha Rosenberg
Big Pharma Fights Proposal to Keep It From Looting Medicare
David Rosen
December 17th: International Day to End Violence against Sex Workers
Binoy Kampmark
The Case that Dare Not Speak Its Name: the Conviction of Cardinal Pell
Dave Lindorff
Making Trump and Other Climate Criminals Pay
Bill Martin
Seeing Yellow
Julian Vigo
The World Google Controls and Surveillance Capitalism
ANIS SHIVANI
What is Neoliberalism?
James Haught
Evangelicals Vote, “Nones” Falter
Martin Billheimer
Late Year’s Hits for the Hanging Sock
Weekend Edition
December 14, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
A Tale of Two Cities
Peter Linebaugh
The Significance of The Common Wind
Bruce E. Levine
The Ketamine Chorus: NYT Trumpets New Anti-Suicide Drug
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Fathers and Sons, Bushes and Bin Ladens
Kathy Deacon
Coffee, Social Stratification and the Retail Sector in a Small Maritime Village
Nick Pemberton
Praise For America’s Second Leading Intellectual
Robert Hunziker
The Yellow Vest Insurgency – What’s Next?
Patrick Cockburn
The Yemeni Dead: Six Times Higher Than Previously Reported
Nick Alexandrov
George H. W. Bush: Another Eulogy
Brian Cloughley
Principles and Morality Versus Cash and Profit? No Contest
Michael F. Duggan
Climate Change and the Limits of Reason
Victor Grossman
Sighs of Relief in Germany
Ron Jacobs
A Propagandist of Privatization
Robert Fantina
What Does Beto Have Against the Palestinians?
Richard Falk – Daniel Falcone
Sartre, Said, Chomsky and the Meaning of the Public Intellectual
Andrew Glikson
Crimes Against the Earth
Robert Fisk
The Parasitic Relationship Between Power and the American Media
Stephen Cooper
When Will Journalism Grapple With the Ethics of Interviewing Mentally Ill Arrestees?
Jill Richardson
A War on Science, Morals and Law
Ron Jacobs
A Propagandist of Privatization
Evaggelos Vallianatos
It’s Not Easy Being Greek
Nomi Prins 
The Inequality Gap on a Planet Growing More Extreme
John W. Whitehead
Know Your Rights or You Will Lose Them
David Swanson
The Abolition of War Requires New Thoughts, Words, and Actions
J.P. Linstroth
Primates Are Us
Bill Willers
The War Against Cash
Jonah Raskin
Doris Lessing: What’s There to Celebrate?
Ralph Nader
Are the New Congressional Progressives Real? Use These Yardsticks to Find Out
Binoy Kampmark
William Blum: Anti-Imperial Advocate
Medea Benjamin – Alice Slater
Green New Deal Advocates Should Address Militarism
John Feffer
Review: Season 2 of Trump Presidency
Rich Whitney
General Motors’ Factories Should Not Be Closed. They Should Be Turned Over to the Workers
Christopher Brauchli
Deported for Christmas
Kerri Kennedy
This Holiday Season, I’m Standing With Migrants
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail