22 February 2004

This is not a picture of an economy that is doing well

Paul Craig Roberts with an insightful column that asks "Where did all the jobs go?". Citing 20-40% drops in manufacturing and knowledge jobs, the former Wall Street Journal editor and Reagan staffer points out that the job gains boasted by the Bush economic team are on the lower rungs of the economic pyramid, the same jobs being taken by illegal immigrants. Aim is taken at the economists and so called independent think tank consultants that are belllowing how outsourcing is good for America.
For years as U.S. multinationals moved manufacturing offshore, Americans were told that their future was in "knowledge jobs." Today, knowledge jobs are being moved offshore more rapidly than manufacturing jobs were.

What are the unemployed computer engineers and information technology workers supposed to retrain for? What high value-added job can't be outsourced?

Many young engineering graduates have discovered that they invested in acquiring skills for which there are no jobs and are headed to law schools in an effort to retrieve their future. I know young software engineers who are substitute teachers in middle schools, and others who are trying to organize rock bands to play the club and bar circuits.

They have no idea what to retrain for, and neither do the economists who tell them retraining is the answer.


This is a serious problem. Many engineers are changing their majors to something else because they do not expect the jobs to be there when they graduate. It makes one wonder why we put all the computers into grade schools and high schools if this is the case.
We now have trained data processing people who work sophisticate spread sheets for only near miminum wages. Still many of these jobs are being moved outside the USA to even cheaper labor markets.
Many stay in school and go from one degree to another because the options on the outside are slim. Waitresses and waiters in better restaurants have Master Degrees etc. finding it impossible to get a decent paying job other than waiting on tables.
At the same time state and local governments call for more research money to create new technologies but it is silly for tax payers to pay out more taxes for research if the end products manufacturing phase is moved outside the USA. It means taxpayers are paying their way out of their jobs.
The worst case scenario is workers training other workers in their jobs before being ousted from them.
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