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Consider this: Despite a rising population, non-farm payrolls in the United States are lower than they were a decade ago.


The unemployment challenge is not just cyclical, it is secular. Sectors of the economy with a challenge include (click on images to enlarge):

  • Financial services (zero growth in 10 years)


  • Construction (-1.2 million jobs in 10 years, a decline of 18%)


  • Real estate (lower than ten years ago, having peaked in 2006)


  • State government (up 9% in ten years, but down 0.5% from Aug 2008 peak and still declining)


  • Local government (up 10% in 10 years, but down 1% from Sep 2008 peak and still declining)


  • Automobile retailing (way down in ten years, having peaked in 2005)


  • Automobile manufacturing (catastrophe. Down 36% in ten years.)


  • Retailing (this is grim too)


Over the near-term at least, none of these sectors of the economy are likely to power the next upturn in employment. So, when I say that this is looking like a structural issue (see here and here), you can see what I mean. I know these numbers are all backward looking. But, I don’t see any of these sectors jumping off the table right now as a job growth engine.

Where will all the new jobs come from? If you say healthcare, I’m with you.


And the data also point to the federal government as well.


Any other thoughts?


Seasonally Adjusted Non-Farm Payrolls, Historical Data – Department of Labor