Patterico's Pontifications

12/17/2009

The Jobs of the Future

Filed under: Economics,Government — DRJ @ 3:57 pm



[Guest post by DRJ]

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has published a forecast of projected job opportunities for 2008-2018:


Source: The Editor’s Desk, Bureau of Labor Statistics

The good news is the BLS thinks there will be jobs. Two of the top three areas for job growth are “management, scientific and technical consulting services” and “computer systems design and related services.” These are vague descriptions that could mean anything from CEOs like Bill Gates to low-paying entry-level jobs. Odds are it means more of the latter than the former.

The bad news? The BLS projects big losses for high-wage manufacturing and mining jobs, and gains in these traditionally low-wage areas:

  • Working in physicians’ offices.
  • Working in employment services, e.g., helping people find jobs.
  • Working in general merchandise stores, presumably in stores like Walmart.
  • Working in local government jobs.
  • Working in home health care, nursing care facilities, and services for the elderly and disabled.
  • Working in full-service restaurants.
  • In the past, most of these positions were low-paying jobs held by high school graduates. I doubt things will change so much that these will become high-paying jobs — although there may be more college graduates doing them, in which case I wonder how they will repay their school loans. It’s also notable that most jobs appear to be government and health care positions. Apparently the BLS doesn’t believe many jobs will be created outside of government or health care in the next 10 years.

    — DRJ

    29 Responses to “The Jobs of the Future”

    1. CHANGE!!

      just no hope.

      redc1c4 (fb8750)

    2. What does this remind one of? Sweden?

      Chris (47bbb2)

    3. I predict vast opportunities in subsistence farming.
      Now would be a good time to line up that 40-acres and a mule.

      AD - RtR/OS! (2917cb)

    4. In downtown Detroit.

      nk (df76d4)

    5. No self-respecting mule would be caught dead in Downtown Detroit.

      AD - RtR/OS! (2917cb)

    6. I made the mistake of staying at a hotel downtown there 5 years ago, directly across from Tiger stadium. What the hell, I had a sales call at GM the next morning, right? After all, I remember Chicago when most of the Loop was persona non grata after darkness fell, so how bad could it be? This…was…worse…much worse. Reminds me of the West Side after the riots here in the late 60’s, except that the whole city was like that.

      Dmac (a964d5)

    7. So we won’t be making stuff and exporting it, and our low wages will require us to buy even more cheaply produced imported stuff from Walmart, and the trade deficit will go bonkers, and…

      Who’s the dude on here who is stocking up all the food and ammo? I may want to rent a corner of his fortification when hell breaks loose.

      Matador (176445)

    8. I would beg to differ on the “low-paying entry-level jobs” in the management, scientific and technical consulting services area.

      A decent professional engineering/environmental consulting office will have Engineers at $60K+ per year, Drafters at $50K+ per year and support services at $40K+ per year. These are highly skilled a positions that are difficult to fill, hence the decent salaries. There are few, if any strictly clerical positions, since computer technology has largely eliminated the need for what used to be called secretaries.

      Dr. K (adb7ba)

    9. I can tell you that jobs in doctors’ offices will not be a great resource. A lot of them will be dropping insurance and therefore the two or three people necessary for billing. Those that continue to accept insurance and Medicare will be in big groups to cut down on overhead. All-in-all, it looks like fewer jobs.

      Mike K (2cf494)

    10. Jobs? Never heard of them.

      Charlie Gibson (63ff18)

    11. computer systems design, etc, are unlikely to be low paying entry level jobs – as many of those as possible are being outsourced.

      aphrael (f55a1a)

    12. Dr. K,

      That makes sense, but here are earnings for government jobs like the ones you mention. There is a wide range for wages but it appears the entry level job wages are fairly low. In addition, wasn’t there an article in the news recently that government jobs are, overall, paying more than private sector jobs?

      DRJ (84a0c3)

    13. That’s all stuff we sell to ourselves. Where are the things we can sell to others? Or are we trying to get rich by selling each other hamburgers on government printed rapidly depreciating promises?

      {o.o}

      JD (847e52)

    14. JD,

      According to the BLS, those jobs are going away fast.

      DRJ (84a0c3)

    15. While congress fiddles with Obamacare………….

      krusher (d7502e)

    16. @DRJ:

      Yes, entry level is lower than experienced – it’s only common sense. More experience and responsibility tends to always translate to higher pay.

      Are you sure the data presented is for government jobs or the engineering sector as a whole? My guess is that it’s for industry in general. I cannot see the Feds employing 1.6 million engineers – it just seems wrong.

      Also, did you see the starting salaries for engineers? The lowest median was for civil engineers at around $52,000 – and that reflects the oversupply of fresh CivE grads. ChemE ranks #2 at just below $65K. Not bad for someone with little to no experience.

      While the gov’t vs private differential may lean toward the gov’t for many sectors, it probably is different for science and engineering, as a gov’t job is seen as a last resort by most engineering grads. Of course engineers who attend military academies (West Point, Annapolis, etc.) and got ROTC scholarships are different – but than how many of those are doing what could be considered engineering work?

      Dr. K (adb7ba)

    17. “Scientific and Technical Consulting?”

      Woot! I have hope!!

      Techie (43d092)

    18. Apparently the BLS doesn’t believe many jobs will be created outside of government or health care in the next 10 years.

      There will be, but not in America. Has any country in history ever set out to export all its best jobs overseas the way we are doing now?

      And we’re even importing foreign workers to do many of the good jobs left in America. This cannot end well.

      Subotai (ed0702)

    19. JD: to sell stuff to other people, we have to be inventing new stuff to sell … because anything we haven’t just invented can be produced much more cheaply in countries where people live on fractions of what we want to live on.

      aphrael (9e8ccd)

    20. FWIW – That was not me.

      JD (c7b6c7)

    21. According to anecdotes in my financial newsletters, not a few foreign born professionals and science types are opting to return home or to other welcoming locales. And at lower pay than they receive in the US. The key is that what they do earn is taxed less and goes much further toward a better lifestyle. Yes, they say they miss much of the US, but add that what they miss is fading away or in danger of. Just anecdotal, but something to ponder.

      political agnostic (87609d)

    22. Granted that the plural of anecdote is not data, I’m skeptical of what you’re reading in the financial newsletters.

      I work with a large number of highly educated, technically knowledgeable Indians. Almost all of them plan to go ‘home’ some day – because India is still home to them. We’ve talked about their reasons, and taxes never come up. The reasons generally seem to be: (a) family is there; (b) they miss being embedded in a community which understands and shares their cultural events (just as I missed July 4th when I was in Spain, they miss Diwali, and the expat community’s celebration just isn’t the same as having everyone be into it); (c) there’s an enormous amount of cultural change at home and they want to experience it and not be left out; (d) in some ways middle class life is easier because there’s an abundance of cheap labor so, for example, middle class families don’t have to do their own cooking.

      The last one might be related to taxes. But a bigger component is that there’s a large population of very, very poor people who will happily work long hours at wages Americans would sneer at … meaning that a middle class life is very nice but the lot of the poor is much, much worse than here. Simply reducing taxes won’t reproduce the abundance of cheap labor – nor do we want it to, as the price for that cheap labor is a much lower standard of living for all the laborers.

      aphrael (e0cdc9)

    23. I work with a large number of highly educated, technically knowledgeable Indians. Almost all of them plan to go ‘home’ some day – because India is still home to them.

      What does it say about America that it choses to offer these tech jobs to Indians rather than employ Americans in them?

      Simply reducing taxes won’t reproduce the abundance of cheap labor – nor do we want it to, as the price for that cheap labor is a much lower standard of living for all the laborers.

      It seems to be the goal of the American political and business class to reproduce here the social, political, business, and labor conditions which prevail in places such as India.

      Subotai (5c34ed)

    24. Subotai: I’m unconvinced that there is a wide pool of Americans with comparable educational qualifications. In point of fact, all of the Indians on my immediate team have Masters degrees, while none of the Americans do … which suggests that the problem is not the hiring practices of the company but rather the willingness of Americans to acquire sufficient technical expertise.

      As further anecdotal non-data: none of the programmers I know are currently unemployed. Some of the QA types I know are, but the ones in question live in inconvenient locations and are unwilling to either commute or move. Meanwhile, of the experienced lawyers I know personally (I’m using ‘experienced’ in this case to distinguish them from the people I know who recently graduated), about 1/3 of them are currently unemployed.

      Which, again, suggests that the problem is not with the hiring practices of tech firms.

      aphrael (e0cdc9)

    25. “I work with a large number of highly educated, technically knowledgeable Indians. Almost all of them plan to go ‘home’ some day – because India is still home to them. ”

      Do they have kids? Where is their kids’ home?

      imdw (bb8086)

    26. IMDW – some of them do. I would be surprised if those of them with kids actually *do* go back to India. But the kids are all young and the reality of the problem will become more apparent as they age.

      aphrael (e0cdc9)

    27. Conspicuous by it’s absence is FEDERAL CIVIL SERVICE.

      Under commisar Obama and the DNC Politburo, it is likely to become the largest “employer” on earth.

      Ted (1d558a)

    28. I was thinking more that even if the parents go back at retirement, the kids may stay.

      imdw (f0f01e)


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