Moving in the right direction
Posted by aogWednesday, 14 July 2010 at 09:26 TrackBack Ping URL

From National Review Online

Private Sector Losses vs. Public Sector Gains   [Veronique de Rugy]

It’s been a while since I reported on private-sector and public-sector job growth since the passage of the stimulus bill. Here is a chart, based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, that speaks for itself.

http://biggovernment.com/files/2010/06/image002.png

Since the beginning of the recession (roughly January 2008), some 7.9 million jobs were lost in the private sector while 590,000 jobs were gained in the public one.  And since the passage of the stimulus bill (February 2009), over 2.6 million private jobs were lost, but the government workforce grew by 400,000.

I will leave it up to you to draw conclusions.

Some more movement in the right direction.

Comments — Formatting by Textile
AVeryRoughRoadAhead Wednesday, 14 July 2010 at 12:09

Veronique de Rugy is a seriously cool name, at least in America. Maybe it’s the equivalent of “Jane Smith” on the Continent, I dunno.

On the above BLS stats, I call buffalo dung. According to them, 67% of all of the jobs lost during the recession were lost during THE FIRST YEAR, and only 33% since passage of the [bank] stimulus bill. This is obviously massaged to present the effects of the stimulus in the most positive light; however, if one looks solely at the BLS’ “A” Tables, the Employment Trends chart shows ever more-rapid jobs losses until 9/2009, and the Employment Rate of the Population is steeply negative until 1/2010.

The silver lining here is that, according to Bret, those 8MM unemployed people were all losers anyhow - society is better off without those low-performance slackers. Good riddence to bad rubbish.

pj Wednesday, 14 July 2010 at 12:20

Stimulus bill passed Feb 14 2009:

http://www.boston.com/news/nation/washington/articles/2009/02/14/787b_stimulus_bill_approved/

That was 15 months into the recession, not the first year.

Bret Wednesday, 14 July 2010 at 13:24

Rough wrote: “…according to Bret…

For others who don’t have time to click the link, that’s not even vaguely what I wrote.

AVeryRoughRoadAhead Friday, 16 July 2010 at 07:20

…that’s not even vaguely what I wrote.

You wrote that “[i]n a downturn, you let your worst employees go, not your best.” I paraphrased that as “low-performance slackers.”

In what way do you find material difference between “worst employee” and “low-performance slackers”?

AVeryRoughRoadAhead Friday, 16 July 2010 at 07:38

But more substantially, IMO the entire economic part of the exchange at the linked thread reveals that you’re thinking about the current economic situation using the paradigm of other post-WWII recessions. But that’s wrong - the correct dynamic here is 19th century panics and the Great Depression. One must judge the unemployed using the latter standards, not the former, or needless hardships will be imposed on those whose luck has already turned south.

They’re merely the vanguard of what will befall us all, over the next decade.

Bret Friday, 16 July 2010 at 11:05

Rough asks: “In what way do you find material difference between “worst employee” and “low-performance slackers”?

In a company of all excellent employees with no “low-performance slackers” there is still, by definition, a “worst employee” and if layoffs are required, even because of “19th century panic” like conditions, the management is still going to let the worst, though still excellent, employee go. Unfortunately, I’ve had to let just such people go recently and I was quite sad to do so but my wife wouldn’t let me raid our children’s college funds which is what I would’ve needed to do in order to keep them on.

Secondly, I certainly didn’t write that I thought they were “losers”, I certainly didn’t write that society is better off without them, and I certainly didn’t write anything like “good riddance to bad rubish”.

So again, you completely and absolutely misrepresented what I wrote.

AVeryRoughRoadAhead Friday, 16 July 2010 at 13:02

In a company of all excellent employees with no “low-performance slackers” there is still, by definition, a “worst employee”, [etc].

Surely you aren’t serious.

While technically true, nobody outside of the Asperger community is going to read “you let your worst employees go” and think “hmmm, the author may be referring to workers who, while excellent employees, are nonetheless least among equals.” It’s similar to the way that we speak of “luck” - unless modified by “bad”, a reference to “luck” alone habitually means good luck, although technically an unqualified “luck” could be positive or negative.

So again, you completely and absolutely misrepresented what I wrote.

While my paraphrasing of your position was admittedly hyperbolic, let’s see if it was a “complete and absolute misrepresentation”, shall we?:

I think that it’s far from clear how many of the unemployed are in a terrible hurry to go back to work.

Rough quotes: “…these previously stable workers who lost their jobs but found new ones later were earning 20% less a decade later than other workers who weren’t let go…” I’m surprised it’s only 20%. In a downturn, you let your worst employees go, not your best. It isn’t even vaguely surprising that this filtering effect would predict who would make substantially more in the future.

Well, they could become some of society’s heroes and employ themselves and others… They won’t though, because they’d rather sit around and let someone else take the risks of employing them…

You have written that the unemployed are in no hurry to be fiscally-productive; that unemployed people are inherently the worst of the labor force and that even during better times, the currently-unemployed can be expected to underperform once employed; and that the unemployed are risk-adverse, lack initiative, and would “rather sit around.”

Again I must ask, the implications of your own writings differ from “losers”, “slackers” and “bad rubbish” how, exactly?


If you like, we could talk about how the “19th century panics/Great Depression” environment largely negates the usually-true “the worst performers get let go” dynamic, and about how we’re not likely to match the fairly-recent high points in employment, and labor force participation among ages 16 - 65, for another two decades.

Hey Skipper Friday, 16 July 2010 at 13:29

AVRRA:

While technically true, nobody outside of the Asperger community is going to read “you let your worst employees go” and think “hmmm, the author may be referring to workers who, while excellent employees, are nonetheless least among equals.”

SFAIK, I am outside the Asperger community, and that is what I thought, because that is precisely what the words mean: “best” and “worst” are relative terms, there is no sensible way to read them otherwise.

You have written that the unemployed are in no hurry to be fiscally-productive.

No, AOG did not write that, or anything that could be construed, even by scrunching one’s eyes up, as meaning anything remotely like that.

To review, AOG said “… it’s far from clear how many of the unemployed are in a terrible hurry to go back to work.”

Not only is this true on its face, it is also directly related to the incentives for remaining unemployed. Consider, for a moment, and for one example, the job bank that the UAW used to have for laid off auto workers. Then think about the one-time unending entitlement to welfare.

Now, consider the effect that extending unemployment benefits has. Yes, they are defensible on compassionate terms, but you are going to have a real hard time convincing anyone that doing so will, at least for some people, provide sufficient reason to delay taking another job.

Bret Friday, 16 July 2010 at 16:14

Rougn,

I’ll say it again. Your “admittedly hyperbolic” “paraphrasing” was “not even vaguely what I wrote”.

At this point, I’ll simply let others who are interested read the original and your paraphrase and decide for themselves whether it was only “hyperbolic” or “not even vaguely” the same, though perhaps that’s splitting hairs anyway.

AVeryRoughRoadAhead Saturday, 17 July 2010 at 00:25

Well, Bret, I must admit to being a little disappointed; I provided the relevant quotes, and asked for additional clarification if you still thought that your intent was being twisted. For you to simply repeat your mistaken assertion, without further substantiation, is a somewhat inelegant and surly capitulation.

No, [Bret] did not write that, or anything that could be construed, even by scrunching one’s eyes up, as meaning anything remotely like that.

If interested, you can read the entire exchange beginning here, and continuing intermittently down to the end of the thread, in the context and with the modifiers and qualifiers which inform my interpretation. Therein lies your eye-scrunch, unremote. A humorous look at the importance of context.

Now, consider the effect that extending unemployment benefits has. Yes, they are defensible on compassionate terms, but you are going to have a real hard time convincing anyone that doing so will, at least for some people, provide sufficient reason to delay taking another job.

Yes, some. However, until there are substantially fewer than today’s six job-seekers for every one open position, I daresay that society isn’t much suffering if a small percentage of unemployed people don’t diligently seek jobs because they find the unemployment social-benefits package to be too appealing. Indeed, given that the number of people working part-time due to economic reasons has doubled from 2005 PDF ‘til now, to 8.6MM people, it seems that there are a very substantial number of people takin’ anything they can get, regardless of how poor the job.

Further, the BLS defines “part-time” as anything between “1 - 34 hours worked per week”, but doesn’t track the median number of hours worked per job, so it may be that many of these jobs are quite poor. I heard anecdotally that a lot of the seasonal retail hires last Christmas were being scheduled for fewer than ten hours a week, some as little as five. And we know that the temps hired for the Census weren’t working steadily through the Census period; a couple weeks on, a couple weeks off before being recalled…

Hey Skipper Saturday, 17 July 2010 at 08:16
If interested, you can read the entire exchange beginning here, and continuing intermittently down to the end of the thread, in the context and with the modifiers and qualifiers which inform my interpretation.

I did. People can have whatever opinion they please, but not their own facts.

Or their own English.

pj Saturday, 17 July 2010 at 09:51

AVRRA, you have the typical leftist’s bias toward hatred and scorn; you think the worst of others and impute abuse where none was intended.

I am a former entrepreneur and executive who has had to hire and fire people. You fire the least productive people. But since productivity is not caused by personal merit primarily, but by fit into a productive value network, one can be a very fine and hard-working person and yet not be terribly productive in a particular network.

Hey Skipper Saturday, 17 July 2010 at 11:45

pj:

I know anecdote is not data, but: I worked at Ford as a software engineer. Despite being extremely productive (you will have to take my word on this), I was probably going to lose my job because, as you put it, the “value network” changed.

I’ll never know, though, because another job offer showed up first.

It is also perhaps worth noting that several years previously, when I got laid off, I did not experience unemployment because I decided instead to take what was out there, despite having to take an 80% paycut.

There might be a correlation between people who are unwilling to tolerate unemployment and those whose income does not remain depressed.

To repeat, anecdote is not data. But still, the notion isn’t entirely outlandish.

pj Sunday, 18 July 2010 at 14:35

Hey Skipper, good for you. You know Mark Twain’s method for getting a job? Ask to be allowed to work for free, and work with gusto and pleasure until they can’t stand not paying you.

Hey Skipper Sunday, 18 July 2010 at 17:47

pj:

Funny you should mention that. I am nearly done with “Roughing It”.

Not only is it outstanding, but on the Kindle, it is free.

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