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Where Will The Jobs Come From?

The jobs bill stalled. So what now? Where will the next generation of American jobs really come from? We’ll dig in.

Job-seekers line up to talk to representatives from T-Mobile Express, as they attend a National Career Fairs job fair in Bellevue, Wash. (AP)

Job-seekers line up to talk to representatives from T-Mobile Express, as they attend a National Career Fairs job fair in Bellevue, Wash. (AP)

So, we’ve got new free trade deals with South Korea, Columbia and Panama, and nobody talking a wave of jobs out of that. The President’s jobs bill, dead in the water on Capitol Hill, where Senate Republicans voted unanimously to filibuster and kill it. And we’ve got 14 million – minimum – out of work, and poverty rising.

Where, seriously, are American jobs going to come from? Manufacturing? Really? Service jobs? Will those pay the rent? Infrastructure? OK, we build it – and then what?

This hour On Point: where will the next generation of American jobs really come from?

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Robert Hockett, professor of Financial Law and Economics at Cornell University.

Tyler Cowen, economist and professor of economics at George Mason University. He is the co-author, with Alex Tabarrok, of the economics blog “Marginal Revolution”.

Kevin Hassett, economist and senior fellow and director of economic policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute.

Highlights

Whether they are created by the government or the private sector, Americans are asking fundamental questions about the future of employment: Where are the news jobs going to come from?

“We’ve got a short-run problem and a long-run problem,” said economics professor and blogger, Tyler Cowen. “The short-run problem is not enough spending in the economy…the long-run problem is that our education system is failing us. More and more, workers will be divided into two camps: those that can work with computers and those who can’t.”

At the moment, he said, there are too few people in the first group, those with technological skills.

“Our workforce is just not up to snuff,” agreed Kevin Hassett, economist and senior fellow and director of economic policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute. Hassett said that the country’s corporate tax rate was to blame. Lowering that rate would draw corporations back to the United States, he said.

But it’s not just a domestic problem – or a solution.

“Over the last twenty years, the global labor force has quintupled,” said Robert Hockett, professor of Financial Law and Economics at Cornell University. “That means we have to do something serious about addressing competitiveness problems.”

Hockett contends that the current global financial crisis is as bad, if not worse, than the Great Depression. “We’re right back to where we were in the late 1990s, in terms of personal wealth.” The key, he contends, is vastly more spending on national infrastructure.

From Tom’s Reading List

Detroit Free Press “Data from the TechAmerica Foundation shows that the state enjoyed a net gain of 2,700 technology jobs last year, which amounts to a 2% increase. The new positions were added in several sectors, including research and development and testing laboratories, Internet and software publishers and firms engaged in computer systems design and related services.”

The New York Times “I don’t know that anything at this point could re-center the political debate, so unyielding are the two parties. But as Congress prepares to take steps, through the deliberations of the already deadlocked supercommittee, that will likely further wound our ailing economy, “The Way Forward” ought to at least give our politicians pause.”

New America Foundation “Notwithstanding repeated attempts at monetary and fiscal stimulus since 2009, the United States remains mired in what is by far its worst economic slump since that of the 1930s.1 More than 25 million working-age Americans remain unemployed or underemployed, the employment-to-population ratio lingers at an historic low of 58.3 percent,2 business investment continues at historically weak levels, and consumption expenditure remains weighed down by massive private sector debt overhang left by the bursting of the housing and credit bubble a bit over three years ago. Recovery from what already has been dubbed the “Great Recession” has been so weak thus far that real GDP has yet to surpass its previous peak. And yet, already there are signs of renewed recession.”

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