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Home > Social Issues
Jobs & 'Trade' Data Update Feb09
by Bob Powell, 3/16/09
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This page in doc and pdf format. Data sources at end of page.

3/20/08 - added two graphs (not in doc or pdf above):
Graph showing Manufacturing Jobs & Trade Agreement History
Graph showing Trade Deficit & Trade Agreement History

Summary Notes:

Irrational belief in the infallibility of the "free market" and "free trade" has led to devastating offshoring of good-paying manufacturing and IT jobs.  This has undermined the US economy, leading to its collapse. 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. Yes, financial fraud and speculation precipitated the debacle, but the economy has become more and more unstable as U.S. wages have been systematically undermined.

  • 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: 10.3 million jobs in Feb 09 compared to a 4.2 million gap in Nov 07.
    The U.S. has lost
    - 3.5M jobs over the last six months
    - 4.3M jobs over the last 12 months
    - 4.9M jobs since Nov 07 ... 15 months
    Nationally, the U.S. lost 29.3% of manufacturing jobs and 21.8% of IT jobs since their peaks.
  • Colorado jobs also haven't kept up with population growth ... Gap: 295K jobs compared to 162K jobs in Nov 07 (K= 1000s).
  • Colorado Springs has been a major disaster for manufacturing and information technology, worse than the state or nation. The Springs has lost 44.9% of manufacturing jobs and 48.3% of IT jobs since their peaks. See the summary below.

An example of what this has produced: Tent Cities in LA.

Job Loss Data Summary: National, Colorado, Colorado Springs since their peaks.

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 nowhere near kept up with Population Growth ... especially as jobs have been lost. The gap is over 10.3 million jobs. There are now 4.9 million fewer jobs than in Nov 07. Persons who have another job hold about 7.6 million existing jobs; that's 5.5% of employment (see the "multiple jobholders" graph at the bottom of Employment & Unemployment and BLS site for the latest).

Population increasing ... jobs dropping like a rock:

US Job Growth Negative - Job losses accelerating

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

National Mfg Jobs Trend ... note the downward acceleration

Manufacturing Jobs & Trade Agreement History

Here's a new graph, suggested by Paul Carson, showing average U.S. manufacturing jobs for each year along with 'trade-related' agreements. Note the downhill slide began in the 80s with the U.S. giving China Most Favored Nation status. But it really went over the cliff when the U.S. granted China Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR). That coincides with the real cliff in the loss of manufacturing jobs. A coincidence? I don't think so.

Note: Originally Normal Trade Relations (NTR) was called Most Favored Nation (MFN) status, but that sounded just too cosy to have with China, so the free traders changed the name.

National manufacturing jobs with dates of 'trade'-related agreements

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 ... also accelerating downward.

Colorado Mfg Jobs Trend

Colorado IT Job Trend ...

Colorado IT Jobs Trend

Colorado Springs Manufacturing Job Trend ... also accelerating downward ...

Colorado Springs Mfg Jobs Trend

Colorado Springs IT Job Trend. Think about this about 50% of IT jobs lost from Colorado Springs. Read about this in the corporate media?

Colorado Springs IT Jobs Trend

Colorado Non-Farm Jobs Trend. Colorado would need another 295,000 jobs to have kept up with population growth. Colorado's lost 48,000 jobs since Aug 08.

Colorado Non-Farm Jobs Trend .. Gap increasing

See the chart for jobs lost by month.

Note, this was in the Nov Update, revised here with current data:

Comment on Colorado nonfarm job data

In the last update in Nov, I reported that BLS data showed Colorado had gained 4,000 jobs in 2008 through Nov. In December, the data showed 7,600 jobs were lost in Oct (this was revised downward from the last report that showed 10,600 jobs lost in October). In Dec the preliminary data for Nov showed 6,700 jobs were lost.

I noted then that, 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.

Well, the BLS revised job data for last year in the 3/11/09 release. It shows that Colorado lost 28,200 jobs in 2008. It lost another 10,300 (prelim) in Jan09 for a loss of 38,500 nonfarm jobs since Dec07. (You wouldn't know this without recording the data from previous releases as I have.)

With increasing population, Colorado is now reported to be 295,641 jobs short of keeping up with population growth,

On a Nov08 Denver Post article on jobs ... again 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.

Well, so much for that. Current data shows Colorado had NOT added jobs through October. Instead of gaining 10,700 jobs, it had lost 7,100 jobs.

The data up to the 3/11/09 release showed Colorado had lost 15,500 jobs from Dec07 to Dec08. The 3/11 release revised that to show the loss was 28,200 jobs. A bit of a change, eh?

This data shows 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

On a Nov08 Denver Post editorial

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 "cost-side 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.

Trade Deficit & Trade Agreement History

Added 3/19: note from Census Bureau and "trade" deficit history graph:

Census Bureau: Trade Deficit Decreases in January 2009 The Nation's international deficit in goods and services decreased to $36.0 billion in January from $39.9 billion (revised) in December, as imports decreased more than exports. (13 March 2009)

The "trade" deficit has declined somewhat in 2007 & 2008. This is indeed because the decrease in imports was more than the decrease in exports. That's because the U.S. economy is failing.

Note that NAFTA, China PNTR, and China into the WTO have been on the forefront of massive borrowing to support the "trade" deficit. The "trade" deficit was growing exponentially through 2006. It's no surprise that that's over; no exponential increase can be sustained.

U.S. Trade deficit with dates of 'trade'-related agreements

Advanced Technology Products "Trade" Trend. This should be one of the most frightening trends of all. The U.S. is so proud of its technological prowess. However, most people are unaware of the rate at which we're losing it.

The U.S. had a $38.4B surplus in 1991. The ATP "trade" balance in 2008 was -$55.6B, a deficit much larger than the surplus in 1991.

This is the "progress" the U.S. has made thanks to the "free traders" that have undermined the U.S. economy?

We've been told that 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. So much for that; it's not true. 

It should be no surprise that students aren't attracted to high-tech education. It's difficult subject matter ... and the jobs are going away.

Advanced Technology Products "Trade" Balance Trend - Annual ... a downhill slide

Here's the monthly ATP trade balance trend since 2006 with a linear least-square fit showing the overall downward trend.

Over the last 3 months, note that the ATP balance is less negative by $5.9B. Why is that? It was because exports fell by $3.3B and imports fell by $9.2B; So the ATP balance wasn't improving because exports rose. It was because imports fell more than exports. That's because the U.S. economy is failing.

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 8.1% (it was 7.6% in Jan), there should be even more concern. What I call the "Real Unemployment Rate" is 20.7%.

Don't dismiss this as absurd. John Williams (Shadow Government Statistics) has his SGS-Alternate Unemployment Rate at 19.1% ... my estimate isn't all that much different. From his March 6, 2009 Flash Update:

Keep in mind, though, that the Great Depression unemployment rates were estimated after the fact, without adequate data or surveying. Regular unemployment surveying did not start until the early 1940s and then was subjected to methodological revisions over the decades. As discussed below, the SGS-Alternate unemployment rate now tops 19%, and such would be my best estimate of a rate that would be comparable to the Great Depression readings.  

His Employment and Unemployment Reporting primer is educational.

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 from the top ... that's now 10.3 million persons.

For explanations of these numbers see Unemployment: Official, Effective, Real. For the real-life impact see There's no 'free market' for Labor. Ever wonder why the official poverty rate in America is between 12% and 13%? It's no coincidence.

Different Measures of the Unemployment Rate

The chart below shows changes in U-3 (official) unemployment in the data released in 2009. It compares the 2009 data with the 2008 data. Somehow the revisions showed unemployment is more than it was previously reported. Somehow revised upward through 2008 to show an additional 150 to 200 thousand more persons "officially" unemployed. Some previous downward fudging, now corrected as a "gift" for Obama?

Changes in U-3 unemployment with Jan09 data

Below is 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 on the BLS site: "Not in labor force" and "Persons who currently want a job".

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

Persons not in the labor force, 1999 annual averages

Note that this measure was also revised upward with the data released in 2009.

Changes in "Not in labor force ... Persons who currently want a job" with Jan09 data

US Unemployment Level - Official vs. Actual

There are now more like 37.1 million persons unemployed in Feb09 compared to the official U3 number of 12.5 million. None of this counts 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 have been only 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.

URL: http://www.exponentialimprovement.com/cms/jobsfeb09.shtml

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