Sunday, October 10, 2010

Peak Employment Will Constrain U.S. Economy For A Decade

One topic that most mainstream economists are reluctant to touch is whether a nation's economy has a finite carrying capacity for productive jobs, in the same manner as ecosystems.  Here's one indicator that Peak Employment may be a reality in the U.S.:

Employment bottomed in December 2009 at 129.588 million — two years after peaking at 137.951 million. At this year’s pace, the U.S. won’t recoup all those 8.36 million lost jobs* until March 2020 — 147 months after the December 2007 high.

Employment is now about where it was in 2000.  The jobs created since then have been wiped out by the FIRE economy's heart attack.  The economy is unable to generate enough jobs to match population growth.  This will cause a lot more problems than just an inability to pay a Social Security COLA.  The curtailment of that COLA and other middle class entitlements currently funded by our nation's debt addiction are symptomatic of broader structural limits to growth.

Limits to growth imply limits to population size.  The effects of employment stagnation will eventually manifest in immigration policy.  The Arizona immigration law is the first of many similar steps to America's future.  Use your imagination.