It does little good to tell a person who just lost their job about structural or cyclic shifts in industrial economics. But these things are integral to the employment foundation and must be understood for insight into jobs at the macro and micro levels. The Bureau of Labor Statistics employment projections for the 2002 to 2012 period give an outlook in macro terms. The U.S. economy will grow from $9.4 trillion to $12.6 trillion and the labor force from 144.9 million to 162.3 million over the period, an annual growth rate of 1.1%. Net employment growth of 21.3 million new jobs plus 35 million replacement jobs will create a market of 56.3 million job openings. Self employment should decline 2.3% from 11.5 million to 11.3 million and the unemployment rate is predicted to be about as today, 5.2%. The good news is that GDP should grow 3% and productivity 2.1% per year.
Readers of this journal may not like BLS predictions that manufacturing jobs will continue to shrink in number, although a few sectors may experience relatively fast job grow including metalworking machinery manufacturing (4.9% annual growth with job increases from 217 to 251,000) and forging and stamping (4.5% increase per year with job growth from 114 to 132,000). But across the board U.S. manufacturing employment will continue to decline, and by 2012 is projected to shrink by 0.7% to 15,149,000. However, manufacturing output should surge 19.9% from $3,880.3 to $6,504.7 in "gross duplicated output," a term that relates labor needs to reach production goals. What it says is that the U.S. manufacturing sector of our economy will grow due to enhanced productivity and continue on its historical path of increasing capital intensity. When manufacturing becomes more efficient, fewer employees are required. This is not only an American phenomenon; all countries including China and India are losing manufacturing employment per unit of output.