Look: I am eager to learn stuff I don't know--which requires actively courting and posting smart disagreement.

But as you will understand, I don't like to post things that mischaracterize and are aimed to mislead.

-- Brad Delong

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Everything that appears on this blog is the copyrighted property of somebody. Often, but not always, that somebody is me. For things that are not mine, I either have obtained permission, or claim fair use. Feel free to quote me, but attribute, please. My photos and poetry are dear to my heart, and may not be used without permission. Ditto, my other intellectual property, such as charts and graphs. I'm probably willing to share. Let's talk. Violators will be damned for all eternity to the circle of hell populated by Rosanne Barr, Mrs Miller [look her up], and trombonists who are unable play in tune. You cannot possibly imagine the agony. If you have a question, email me: jazzbumpa@gmail.com. I'll answer when I feel like it. Cheers!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Structure of Unemployment

There are those who would have us believe that the current high unemployment is structural.  What that means in econospeak is that either the skill sets of applicants don't match the requirements of the available jobs, or, in a more expansive interpretation, that the jobs and suitable applicants are geographically separated.

Geography first.  Here is an recent interactive map of unemployment, by county, nation wide.  What you'll find is that in places where people outnumber cows and deer, unemployment is unacceptably high.  In a swatch through the center of the country, running from North Texas, through Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska and the Dakotas - mostly "tractor country" per the map's float-over cursor - unemployment is quite low.  

So - no,  geographical displacement from the jobs does not seem to be a big factor.

What about a mismatch between skills and job opportunities?  If that were the case, some sectors would have high unemployment while others would have very low unemployment, and many unfilled positions.  Is that the case?

It's pretty hard to make a case for structural unemployment when the unemployment rate has doubled (or more) across a wide array of industries.

As Krugman puts it:

See the structural shift? Neither do I. As others have noted, basically unemployment doubled for every industry, every occupation, every state. Where are the sectors/occupations/regions gaining jobs? Nowhere to be found. There’s nothing structural about it.

'Nuff said.

(I grabbed the chart from Krugman's blog.)

2/16 UPDATE:  Delong looks at the employment side.


Mooner Johnson said...

Jazz. OK, first, I'm glad I found you here as opposed to the mathmatics site. My brain started smoking after the third posting I read; locked-down on me as I finished my comment. I did find it quite erudite.

Second, what these silly Bozos are actually doing is dumbing down the general populace to create a more employable "structure". Cutting education budgets and social supports will drive the average level of education ever lower. Seems as though they are looking for the job description "burger flipper" to become the gold standard, the brass ring as it were.

Third, as eveidence, I give you the fine state of Texas, my state. Our governor, Rick "I Say Fuck Rick Perry" Perry, has pushed to use education and social services as the main budgets to chop so he can cover a $2 billion shortfall. We already have the lowest percentage of adults without high school diplomas.

Fourth, I want to say that I am disappointed with the voting population of my country. I'm too tired to list the many ways.

Jazzbumpa said...

Mooner -

Welcome, and thanks for the visit.

If you browse here you may find a distressing amount of math as well.

Anyway, I thought Rick Perry was an Ostrich.