America's Lost Decade for Jobs

More

Just how bad were the last ten years for jobs? Horrific. Michael Mandel, the BusinessWeek economist last seen diagnosing America's failure of innovation, has crunched the numbers, and these pictures aren't pretty. The last ten years have been the worst decade for job creation since 1949.


Here's the first graph, which he describes as "horrifying."
10yrjobgrowth.pngThe lesson is easy to see, but hard to swallow. In the last ten years, the private sector has grown by 1.1 percent. That's down more than twenty-fold from the beginning of this decade. If the number of jobs lost brings the unemployment rate to 10.2 percent (which some fear could happen in the next six months, since employment is a lagging indicator of economic strength), it will bring the ten-year change in private sector jobs into negative territory. The last decade will have, quite literally, been lost to the private sector.

Mandel continues to number-crunch and finds that the nitty gritty is even uglier than the big picture. Not only has the private sector basically stalled this decade, but almost all the gains were made in three areas marked by heavy government assistance, such as health and education.
healthedgov.pngIn other words, in the last ten years we've borrowed our way into record deficits and what we have to show for it is an anemic private sector that uses the government as a crutch.

Jump to comments
Presented by

Derek Thompson is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where he writes about economics, labor markets, and the entertainment business.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

The Time JFK Called the Air Force to Complain About a 'Silly Bastard'

51 years ago, President John F. Kennedy made a very angry phone call.


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Adventures in Legal Weed

Colorado is now well into its first year as the first state to legalize recreational marijuana. How's it going? James Hamblin visits Aspen.

Video

What Makes a Story Great?

The storytellers behind House of CardsandThis American Life reflect on the creative process.

Video

Tracing Sriracha's Origin to Thailand

Ever wonder how the wildly popular hot sauce got its name? It all started in Si Racha.

Video

Where Confiscated Wildlife Ends Up

A government facility outside of Denver houses more than a million products of the illegal wildlife trade, from tigers and bears to bald eagles.

Video

Is Wine Healthy?

James Hamblin prepares to impress his date with knowledge about the health benefits of wine.

Video

The World's Largest Balloon Festival

Nine days, more than 700 balloons, and a whole lot of hot air

Writers

Up
Down

More in Business

Just In