Source: Continuous Improvement Associates

Social Issues
Jobs & 'Trade' Data Update Nov08
By Bob Powell, 12/31/08

This page in doc and pdf format. Data sources at end of page.


  • Nationally, policies continue to be a disaster for Mfg Jobs, IT Jobs, and Advanced Technology Products "Trade". More Mfg jobs lost nationally, in Colorado, and in Colorado Springs. More IT jobs lost nationally and in Colorado with a small gain compared to October in Colorado Springs.
  • Nationally, job growth is negative. Jobs haven't kept up with population growth ... Gap: 7.8 million jobs in Nov 08 compared to a 4.2 million gap in Nov 07. The U.S. lost 673,000 jobs in Nov alone.
  • Colorado has been a worse disaster; jobs haven't anywhere near kept up with population growth ... Gap:  203,291 in Nov 08 compared to 195,727 jobs in Oct 08 and 162,000 in Nov 07.
  • Colorado Springs has been an even worse disaster than the nation and the state, losing 40.4% of manufacturing jobs and 47.6% of IT jobs.

It's really difficult to understand how offshoring good-paying manufacturing and IT jobs is good for the US economy. That's because it's not. See The Trade Deficit and the Fallacy of Composition for why it's not.

The accompanying undermining of US wages is largely responsible for The 9/22/08 Economic Crisis ... collapsing demand has inevitably led to a collapsing economy.

Summary of Job Loss data: National, Colorado, Colorado Springs since their peaks (this chart should read "as of Nov 08 ... will correct soon).

Job Loss Summary

Comparison of Percentage of Manufacturing Jobs Lost

Mfg Job Loss Comparison by Region

Comparison of Percentage of IT Jobs Lost

IT Job Loss Comparison by Region

Woe is Colorado Springs.

US Job Growth has not kept up with Population Growth; the gap is over 7.8 million jobs. There are now 2.36 million fewer jobs than in Nov 07. About 7.6 million of existing jobs are held by persons who have another job; that's 5.2% of employment (see the "multiple jobholders" graph at the bottom of Employment & Unemployment and BLS site for the latest).

US Job Growth Negative - Job losses accelerating Oct 08 loss was 297,000

National Manufacturing Job Trend ... major resumption of downward trend since mid-06.

Thanks to the economic slowdown (and oil company interest in avoiding a windfall profits tax) the roller-coaster in gas prices has taken prices down for the time being ... but they will increase again as they always have in the past.

National Mfg Jobs Trend

National IT Job Trend. Bummer, people who lost their manufacturing jobs retrained for these jobs. But somehow the US needs 65,000 H-1B visas to import workers because there's a shortage?

National IT Jobs Trend

Colorado Manufacturing Job Trend ... going downhill still

Colorado Mfg Jobs Trend

Colorado IT Job Trend ...

Colorado IT Jobs Trend

Colorado Springs Manufacturing Job Trend ... going down ...

Colorado Springs Mfg Jobs Trend

Colorado Springs IT Job Trend ... devastation, but slight increase in Nov.

Colorado Springs IT Jobs Trend

Colorado Non-Farm Jobs Trend. Colorado would need another 203,291jobs to have kept up with population growth.


Latest data Colorado has gained 4,000 jobs in 2008 through Nov.

Last month the data showed that In October Colorado lost 10,600 jobs. The data was revised this month to show only 7,600 jobs were lost in Oct. But in Nov 6,700 jobs were lost (Nov data is preliminary).

So, not only is Colorado more than 203,000 jobs short of keeping up with population growth, with one more month like this, CO will have negative job growth for the year.

This comment from last month is worth keeping: In Colorado sheds jobs at a troublesome pace By Aldo Svaldi, The Denver Post, 11/22/2008, the print edition had these headlines:

    • Page 1K: Colorado remains among a handful of states that have managed to add jobs this year, but a surge of layoffs in recent weeks could reverse these gains.
    • Page 7K: JOBS: Tightfisted consumers triggering more layoffs.

These show just how blind the Denver Post is to the damage done by the offshoring of jobs as evidenced by the loss of manufacturing and IT jobs shown above. It's not "tightfisted consumers"; it's that without jobs, and with wages undermined, their fists don't hold enough money to keep buying. Yet, the Denver Post editorializes in favor of "free trade." It ignorantly called Clinton's NAFTA "free trade" policies "enlightened." Another example of the Post's betrayal of the US economy: Denver Post 'Trade' Deception, 3/3/08

In No blank check for automakers, By The Denver Post, 11/12/2008 , it editorializes, "The industry needs aid, but should strapped taxpayers have to pay for bad pension and health care decisions made years ago? ... The industry is buried under "legacy costs" — deals made years ago with the United Auto Workers union to provide pensions and gold-plated health care plans for hundreds of thousands of retirees."

The Denver Post is despicable for blaming unions.

ADDED comment: Should those who work for a wage pay for corporate offshoring decisions that have undermined wages for decades in order to increase profits? That's the essence of the kind of socialism on which laissez-faire capitalism is based: privatize the profits and socialize the costs.

Auto companies make bad management decisions and this gives them the right, in the Denver Post's opinion, to break contracts? In the Denver Post's view, cut health funding for all union employees and retirees ... just LET THEM DIE.

And "gold plated health care plans"? Those with the gold-plated plans are the executives who have driven the industry into the ground with a short-sighted SUV strategy that had little place for increasing fuel efficiency. They have fought vigorously and stupidly against higher fuel standards. Despite bad decisions, upper management fully funded their raises and bonuses. National health insurance in the US would take health costs off the backs of all companies and allow the US to actually compete with Canada that does have such a plan. But no, so-called economic "conservatives" fight national health insurance tooth and nail, even though privatized insurance is doomed to fail, and it's well along the way to complete failure.

Colorado Non-Farm Jobs Trend

Advanced Technology Products "Trade" Trend. From a $38.4B surplus in 1991 to a projected ~ $57.9B deficit in 2008 (based on the first 10 months).

So the US is going to let others (e.g., China) do the low-tech manufacturing and the US is going to retain high-tech manufacturing? Think again. Wonder why students aren't attracted to high-tech education? It's not that easy and the jobs are going away.

Advanced Technology Products "Trade" Balance Trend - Annual

Here's the monthly ATP trade balance trend since 2006 with a linear least-square fit showing the overall downward trend with 2 months in a row worse than the average.

Advanced Technology Products "Trade" Balance Trend - Monthly

US Unemployment Rate - Official vs. Actual

While there's concern that the Official Unemployment Rate (U3) rose from 4.8% in Feb to now 6.7%, there should be even more concern. What I call the "Real Unemployment Rate" is 17.6%. Ever wonder why the official poverty rate in America is between 12% and 13%? It's no coincidence.

My "Real Unemployment Rate" number includes those extra who are classified as "Not in labor force, but Persons who currently want a job" to the government's U6 statistic. It also adds those needed to keep up with population growth ... see the gap at the 4th figure above ... that's 7.8 million persons.

For explanations of these numbers see Unemployment: Official, Effective, Real. For the impact see There's no 'free market' for Labor.

Different Measures of the Unemployment Rate

Here's the Orwellian chart from the BLS showing that besides the "discouraged" and "other marginally attached" (note that marginally attached includes the "discouraged") there are many others (actually a lot more others) "who want a job" now. While there's a certain tortured logic to the BLS definition, I find it stunning that people who say they want a job now, but don't have one, aren't even considered part of the labor force. See the categories: "Not in labor force" and "Persons who currently want a job".

Here's their chart from Labor Supply in a Tight Labor Market (Summary 00-13 June 2000):

Persons not in the labor force, 1999 annual averages

US Unemployment Level - Official vs. Actual

There are more like 30.8 million persons unemployed in Nov than the official U3 number of 10.1 million. This does not count the underemployed. In 2006 there were 36.5 million people in poverty; no wonder.

Different Measures of the Unemployment Level

In Job Centers See Crush of People in Need, NY Times, 11/23/08, there's this: "More than 20 million people are expected to use federal workforce services in 2008, up from 14 million in 2005." That should be no surprise based on real unemployment. Were the number of unemployed as indicated by the "official" U-3 number, there would only be about 10 million needing help. The 20 million people needing federal workforce services is about that for the green data series above that includes other categories the official unemployment number doesn't count as "official."

Concerned yet?

Data Sources:

U.S. Employment & Unmemployment found at historical data for labor force based on the household survey

    • Table A-1. Employment status of the civilian population by sex and age. Includes those considered "Not in labor force, Persons who currently want a job"
    • Table A-12. Alternative measures of labor underutilization, U-1 through U-6


U.S. Population data at U.S. Census, Estimates

State and Area Employment, Hours, and Earnings Find Colorado and Colorado Springs data here for Total Nonfarm, Manufacturing and Information Technology, and other states, regions, & categories

Colorado Population by Region 2000 - 2006

U.S. International Trade In Goods and Services, Historical Series

U.S. Trade in Goods (Imports, Exports and Balance) by Country find China, Mexico here.

Advanced Technology Products at FT900: U.S. International Trade in Goods and Services, Exhibit 16

Unemployment: Official, Effective, Real, 9/12/06. Calculations of different measures of the unemployed, levels and percentages. Includes those who want a job now but are classified as "not in the labor market" and additional jobs needed to keep up with population growth since April 2000 when employment began to decline.

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