Thursday, July 17, 2008

Recessionless job loss

Productivity gains of the 1990s and early 2000s led to the fairly recent economic concepts of:

JOBLESS GROWTH. Economic growth that does not result in corresponding growth in employment.
JOBLESS RECOVERY. Turnaround from a recession that does not translate to jobs growth in a meaningful way.

We are again seeing another new phenomenon. Jobs are being lost, but the loss has not corresponded to an equal decline in the economy. Again, perhaps new productivity techniques are contributing to this. Given that prospects for growth are limited, some companies have been shedding workers, and relying on less people to achieve the same output.

We need a new economic concept to define this. I think we need to define it mostly because defining it as a distinct phenomenon leads to thinking about specific measures to alleviate its effects, rather than, as most economists who focus just on GDP numbers, concluding that recession has been averted so far.

Jobs Recession? Recessionless job loss?

Anyway, if less people are earning than before, how long before it leads to an actual recession?

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