Friday, July 30, 2010

Blaming the Unemployed for Not Moving to Nonexistent Jobs

Talk about misleading headlines; check out this one from The Washington PostFew in U.S. move for new jobs, fueling fear the economy might get stuck, too. What new jobs? The economy is not stuck as it is? While under normal circumstances the fact that "interstate migration has reached its lowest point since World War II" would be good news, the fact that there are no new jobs anywhere for which to move is very bad news.

The article tells us that "a mobile workforce as a signature strength of the American economy" and "[m]any economists believe that a significant number of workers will have to move before the employment picture substantially improves." Again, where are the jobs?

It is not until the fourteenth paragraph that "the sheer scope of the unemployment problem" is even mentioned. A few paragraphs later Fernando Ferreira, professor at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School, lets the cat out of the bag: "There are not a lot of opportunities to move. That is a huge factor in terms of less mobility." Brilliant analysis!

So much for that "service economy" the planners have been blathering about in Washington for decades as a replacement to manufacturing. No! Wait! I get it! If people would just start moving around, moving companies would start making money and that would kick-start the economy!

That's how the service economy was supposed to work, right? We didn't need to produce anything; foreigners could do that. All we needed to do was provide services, like moving, for each each other. We could become a nation of movers, with everyone making a living by moving everyone else from here to there.

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Anonymous Tom Piatak said...

Excellent commentary.

1:31 AM  
Blogger Mark in Spokane said...

Spot on.

One of the problems is that economic problems tend to build off of each other. For example, the stagnant and in many places collapsing housing market has made it next to impossible for home owners to move without taking a huge hit on their selling price for their home. Even if there was a new job for them to move to, it is highly unlikely that the job would pay them enough to justify the hit they will take on the selling price of their home. So, they stay put.

1:46 AM  
Blogger Enbrethiliel said...


It kind of reminds me of that Onion article about the high unemployment rate being due to so many people bombing at job interviews. Oh, if only there were new jobs to bomb interviews for--or in this case, to move house for.

3:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shame on this author. They're just not mobile enough; there's no reason at all they couldn't move to China and get their old job back for 10 cents an hour.

7:47 AM  

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