The Job Loss Implosion

If you do one thing, click this link. (Or the graphic itself.)  Please.  You’ll be sent to a page where you can watch an animation of US job losses.  I was debilitated after watching the implosion.

Here’s how I reacted to the animation:

Disbelief.  No way.  Not real.  I checked the data.  It’s real.

Fear. Look what happened to my country!

Anger. Why isn’t everyone talking about this?  Why aren’t we doing something about this?  Why are we saying the economy is on the mend?  That’s crap, I-want-to-get-reelected type crap. (To be clear, I think great progress has been made.) Truth is it cannot be mended with the current approach.  It cannot.  If possible at all, it will take a borderline-Draconian approach, where cuts are made and taxes are raised to radically fund innovation, technology, and manufacturing. (Think energy, energy, energy.)  Reinvestment in ourselves.

Sadness.  Our lifestyle, as we know it, is over. The American Way has imploded; we just don’t have the courage to face it yet.

Sadness. This is not good for my kids. (And that’s when I changed my thinking.)

Hope. We can do something about this. It will be exceedingly difficult, but we can do it.  We’re smart enough.  We’ll have to make hard choices, choices where we get less and pay more – a net reduction in our standard of living. It will take sacrifice, real sacrifice.  Sacrifice at the standard of living level, sacrifice inline with WWII-caliber, go-without sacrifice.  Sacrifice to free up radical amounts of money to invest in our country, in our innovation, in our technology, and in ourselves.  I’m talking about self-investment at levels that make the Apollo Program look like chump change, self-investment that makes the war look like a bargain. The toughest part, however, is how to elect politicians on a platform of get less and pay more, a platform of sacrifice, of tough choices.  I’m not talking about talking about tough choices, but actually making tough choices, choices for the common good. I’m talking about a platform that demands true, unselfish behavior by all.

Action.  I will write to raise awareness. I will post to raise awareness.  I will tweet to raise awareness.  I will speak (if not yell) to raise awareness. I will continue to educate on how to fix it. I will reach out to people who can make a difference.  I will pester them.  I will pester them again.  For my kids and yours, I will not give up.

What will you do?

5 Responses to “The Job Loss Implosion”

  • This looks bad, and I feel for those in the way of this disaster.

    One thing though – the data is old. Labour figures are released fairly regularly, so I’d expect to be able to see trends through 2009 to the last quarter of 2010.

    It could make a significant difference as the US is supposed to have been be moving slowly into positive growth over the last 12 months.

  • Mike:

    Though the data is old, it does not change things. Even before the recent implosion we’ve been on a decade long decline. It’s after this decline that we’ve had the recent implosion, where job losses have been so severe and so monumental that new thinking is required to turn things around. I agree recent data shows we’ve bottomed, but that bottom is so very low. It’s like being at the bottom of an ultra-deep, ultra-wide canyon where you cant see the walls. You’re walking on level ground, but you’re too low by miles and you just can’t tell.

    I feel bad for those who lost their jobs, but I feel worse for our children who’ve lost their standard of living.

  • This animated data is really graphic. I keep going back to the same thoughts about what keeps our economy alive and well. Job loss is a symptom. I’m preaching to the choir but people seem to forget that job count is an indicator of sustainable productivity. We give our “stuff “ to other countries to manufacture. Where ever that “stuff” is manufactured, that’s where the jobs are…sustainable employment. And with that kind of a set-up, who’s in control of our economy?

  • John Borza:

    William, Your suggestions are still only treating the symptoms. We need to eliminate the root causes. The root cause of the financial collapse that triggered this Great Recession that is upon us was government meddling in the home loan market, forcing banks to make loans to unqualified buyers. Loss of manufacturing job loss is due to government disincentives to create jobs here, and inaction on the part of our elected officials to meaningfully address unfair trade barriers (protectionist practices) of our trading partners (while at the same time throwing open our markets to foreign goods).
    Mike is right, until our government officials stop doing things to kill jobs, this trend won’t reverse and restore us to the job levels and standard of living we had just a few short years ago.

  • If I may add to the list:

    Anger: The decline is 4 decades old, I would say it became evident in 1971 when our trade balance became negative, never to recover into positive or neutral territory.

    Sadness 1: The loss of our present lifestyle, is for me Joy or Hope. A lifestyle of useless and enormous consumption of trinkets, poor entertainment, neglect of education and culture is worth abandoning. We need to find another way of living well, doing meaningful work and sharing the benefits with the whole society, fairly. We need to regain a sense of solidarity within our society. The loss of it explains why only a few talk about what happened to our country. Nobody cared when Braddock, PA or Detroit, MI or millions of family farms and many other places of living and working were left to rot. Why is that acceptable in a first-world country?

    Action: The current state of our economy and society has deep structural and multiple causes, which are difficult, first to understand, second, to correct. It requires a whole separate discussion.

    While addressing the political and policy effects on our economy and society is very important, I think changing consumer behavior (sadly 70% of our GDP) should be the biggest target. As long as the only preoccupation of the consumer, individual or business, is having more every year at the, apparent, lowest cost we will never recover. Can we make the individual consumer ask first where the refrigerator he buys is made? Can we make all consumers care about quality, where is made, how is made attributes first, before price?

    One action on the policy front: ask for legislation enacting a National Manufacturing Policy (Senator Sherrod Brown from Ohio is sponsoring it).

    I will attend the Good Jobs Green Jobs in Washington DC soon, it includes a day of advocacy in Congress. Send me your ideas and I will raise them. Here are two of mine: 1. Public corporations should have to report their employment performance, as they do their financial one, an employment balance sheet, for instance. As a shareholder, I want to know how many, what type and where jobs were created and maintained with my money. 2. All products, with no exception, should have country/ies of origin on their label. As a buyer, I have a right to decide on my purchases based on this criterion too.

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