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Population Trends and Job Creation

A slide on the homepage entitled “Strengthening the Recovery” features a presidential visit to Thompson Creek Manufacturing in Maryland. Obama visited this manufacturing company to highlight it as an example of job creation by his administration (and I’m an Obama fan); yet, in my inexpert opinion, it seems a bit short-sighted that the companies being touted as job creators remain those that historically created the most jobs.

But I must ask, as technological progress continues, why are we trying to recreate these “lost” occupations. Manufacturing was once a haven for jobs and economic vitality, but automation has replaced many (most?) of the base jobs. As populations continue to skyrocket, what is to replace this loss of jobs and what new jobs are being created to match the increasing demand? Recent work suggests that creative work will replace much of the procedural work of the last half century. (Near the top of my reading list is A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule The Future.)

In the short term (til 2024 or so), my generation will replace the baby boomers as they retire. But populations are still growing; typically, each generation is larger than the one preceding it (except for the boomers, of course). How are all of these folks to be gainfully employed? How are they to meaningfully contribute to society?

Posted in Ramblin' Thoughts.

2 Responses

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  1. Tyler Drown says

    Automation of parts of the manufacturing process has taken away manufacturing jobs since the advent of manufacturing, it’s a constant cycle. As new goods are created, people refine practices on making those goods. Nevertheless, a 30% increase in demand of manufactures goods which are produced with 20% less manpower than 30 years ago still means a net-increase of manufacturing jobs. By 1950, tons-of-steel, cars-manufactured, barrels-of-oil-produced, et cetera were all much less per-employee than they were in 1900, which in turn was much less than per-employee in 1850.

    “Recent work suggests that creative work will replace much of the procedural work of the last half century”
    But how much? Not everyone can be designers–or engineers. The knowledge based-economy has its limits. We are not in a post-abundance society where resources and material goods are completely insubstantial. That’s my thoughts on the matter.

  2. The real Tyler Drown says

    Hey! I had two dashes in the sentence “designers–or engineers”, an “—”.

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