Where Did All The Jobs Go?

Tyler Durden's picture

Over the last decade, the economy (and implicitly the jobs of US citizens) have suffered significant swings. The chart below, however, clarifies exactly where the 'missing' jobs have gone (and with a slight silver-lining) where we have gained jobs. As is clear, the Oil & Gas industry has seen its total number of employees rise over 40% in the last ten years - while Manufacturing and Construction industries have each lost around 20% of the total employees.

Of course, net net, given the precipitous drop in labor force participation, the US is losing the 'employed' dramatically over this period as the incentive (as we noted here) to work and demand for work (in a cost-cutting ZIRP environment) remain negligible.



While the boom in Oil & Gas jobs that is so clear in the chart above, it would appear that whether through regulation, market pricing, or 'over-fishing' the growth in rig-counts (as proxied by Baker Hughes below and noted by Reuters late last year) is now falling year-over-year (though well counts are rising) - it seems we need another 'price' boom in Oil and NatGas to get things going again - but of course that will hurt the consumer and implicitly the mainstay of the US economy.


and in case it was not clear where all those jobs went (if not swallowed up by productivity enhancing robots) - the following chart should make things clear (over 200 years of manufacturing shifts around the world)...


Charts: Goldman Sachs and Bloomberg

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Winston Churchill's picture

The world was just as corrupt back then.

Granted the scale and brazeness of it now is new,the corruption is not,Or

maybe its te a general availability, and easy access to the infirmation.

Some peole will always think their time is unique as an excuse to do nothing.

overmedicatedundersexed's picture

black markets, eyes wide shut itis at it's worse..working hard is hard to do when the gov has policies to remove your job. does not protect jobs that the gov regs make more expensive , osha, epa, fica, ue ins, then gives co tax credit to move off shore...your post smacks of those who don't know what they don't know..our economy is based on massive corruption and run by elite with no loyalty to any nation state. go back to sleep. 

Black Markets's picture

"Working hard is hard to do..."

That's the point my friend!

Americans have it easier than anyone. The US system is the most forgiving, least corrupt (yes really), fewest regulations, most opportunities (yes still the case), America is still the easiest place on the whole earth to start up a successful business. Even if America is less forgiving than it was 10 years ago it is still far more forgiving than every other country in 2013.

And America is the one place where the individual blames the system first and themselves last.

Maybe that's why the US has such a fantastic economic system? Because everyone spends so much time and energy focusing on the grand system rather than doing their jobs?

If Americans spent an hour day less focusing on Washington and an hour a day more on their chosen profession then the country and the economy would be home and dry.

John_Coltrane's picture

Great comment.  When attempting to locate the source of a problem the first place to look is the mirror.  This should be the motto of all libertarians.  That requires a degree of honesty that scapegoating foreign competition lacks.  Evolution, merit, and competition are the rules of life.  Fabian Socialists attempt to substitute concepts such as "fairness" for these laws.  Eliminate prevailing minimum wage laws, anticompetitive cartels like the FED and eliminate the debt financed social welfare state.

Seer's picture

The US is in decline because that's the normal progression of all empires.  Empire status is lost when the country is unable to procure enough additional resources to stoke the fires.

Capitalism is a highly efficient system for exploiting resources.  In the US people started to see the externalized impacts and started poking sticks in the spokes.  In China they're still tearing through things, but, when their spokes start picking up sticks they'll have found that they've been one huge sweatshop, their lands are trashed, and that they're hanging on to meaningless (null) contracts (US Treasuries); AND, they'll have become extremely addicted to fossil fuels.

"The US (system, geography, demographics) is more than capable of producing a substantial surplus. It's just a shame the American work ethic is so lazy and defeatist."

A surplus?  Based on what?  Really, what the fuck does that mean?  Further, and he is where most fail, the measure needs to include a time reference as well as a growth reference: how much growth? (keep in mind perpetual growth on a finite planet is NOT possible) over how long of a time period (speaks to duration of any growth).

As far as lazy and defeatist, perhaps you're confusing demographics (wait until China start aging more, and with the one-child policy...)?  If the lazy folks put down their iCrap then that would kill Chinese exports: it'll happen one day anyway.  And perhaps "defeatist" means people are seeing a major paradigm shift is coming, a shift that will make iCrap (made in China) meaningless?

Not a good idea to get too fucking smug about things.

Working harder to get ahead is a myth.  It's working "smarter" that really counts.  And even then, how is this measured? are we really smarter if we make things that deplete limited resources faster?

CheapBastard's picture

That's why we need a across the board 20% import tax on all Chinese goods....that'll fix things. Chuck Schumer said so.

11b40's picture

Chinese workers, just lke all workers, build what they are told to build to the specs they are given.  What a load of crap you espouse.

Are Chinese workers better educated, more creative?  Are they more innovative?  Let me answer for you, as I have been traveling to China since 1991 - no, they are not.

Are they more moral, more loyal, less self-centered, less likely to cheat or take short cuts?  Hell no.

And, you seem have not a clue of what an atypical American is.  The vast majority of Americans do work hard, and smart, plus they are working harder and longer evrey year it seems to me.  Are there lazy sloths in America?  Of course, just as there are in every society - all but a few, however, would much prefer to work....to be productive and take pride in an earned pay check.

there is rot in the American barrel of apples, but it is mostly at the top.

Black Markets's picture

So why do US workers work 1,700 hours a year when 2,300 is the competitive rate?

Not lazy? Sure they are. They just don't know it.

And the US system is broken? The top is rotten?

Ha! It's still the best and fairest system anywhere on earth.

There's a reason you don't see people emigrating from the USA it's because the US system is the easiest and most forgiving there is. You get paid most for doing the least in the USA, be a use the system is the best.

If you left America to make a life elsewhere you would struggle to compete. It would be more difficult and you would have to work twice as hard.

All because you left a better system for a worse one.

The fact Americans blame their own system for their failings is a joke.
It is the BEST economic system in the world. People fail in America because they are losers. They would not make it anywhere else. EVERYWHERE else is more difficult.

Get over it.

Seer's picture

Who are you paid by?

Did you buy MBSes at the top?  If so then I could imagine that you believe that best strategy is to get in at the top (just as the US empire starts to fall down the other side of the curve).

Over-consumption always leads to gluttony.  It's a natural thing.  Enjoy the buffet while you climb to the top.

MeelionDollerBogus's picture

"So why do US workers work 1,700 hours a year when 2,300 is the competitive rate"

32 hrs/week or 1700 hours per year is what's ON OFFER from employers & many who'd like to work more MAY NOT and it's not their choice.

Working 2300/year or 44/week is only an option if the employer says it is, the employee never gets to choose. It's fairly exhausting too, leaving not much time for sleep+eating+travel time to work. Having had 44/week and 40/week I prefer the 40/week I do now. I find I make much better use of my time because I have time to breathe & research investing, rather than busting my hump to get pennies more at a time post-tax. I'd rather invest & get returns tax-free, thanks.

If you want to talk about what's COMPETITIVE then it's either LESS than 32 hours/week - avoiding full-time status & benefits - or it's far over 44 (60) hours/week which gives way more benefit to the employer while killing the employee by age 55.

Blankenstein's picture


"The Chinese workers build superior products v's US workers"

This is complete BS.  Furniture, clothing, shoes, small appliances, light fixtures, cat and dog food, ingredients for drugs (Heparin), etc. made in China is completely inferior to American made goods.  This is from personal experience, not listening to the above mentioned.  (FYI The dummies that can't make it in anything productive like to slither into political careers because of all the power and the lack of any skills, except lying, required.)  

eddiebe's picture

Idiocracy meets corporatist fascism.

JR's picture

It’s become increasingly difficult to believe analyses from Goldman and Bloomberg when they are poised to benefit politically from the statistics they provide Americans.

The relationships in the bar chart between China and the U.S., for example, do not seem credible and need explanation. For instance, what do Bloomberg and Goldman mean by "manufacturing"?

Here are just a few statistics from “Our Country" written by Dr. Josiah Strong and copyrighted in 1885 and 1891.

“Already have we [the United States] won the first rank as a manufacturing people, our products in 1880 having exceeded even those of Great Britain by $629,000,000… And it is interesting to note not only our position, but our rate of progress. While the manufacturers of France, from 1870 to 1880, increased $222,640,000, those of Germany $416,240,000, and those of Great Britain $561,440,000, those of the United States increased $997,040,000.“

Wrote Dr. Strong: “Inventiveness has come to be a national trait. The United States Government issues four times as many patents as the English. From the Patent Office in Washington there were issued during 1889, 21,518 patents. At the International Electrical Exposition in Paris, a few years ago, five gold medals were given for the greatest inventions or discoveries, all of which came to the United Staes. The Mechanical World, of London, says that the United States has the best machinery and tools in the world…”

As to the resources of this great empire at the time, not including Alaska, "according to the census of 1880, the area of the U.S. was 2,970,000 square miles, and according to the smallest estimate 1,500,000 square miles of arable land. China proper, which, according to the latest estimates in the 1890 Statesman’s Year-Book, supports a population of 383,000,000, has an area of 1,297,999 square miles or considerably less than one-half of ours not including Alaska.

”The Chineses are essentially an agricultural people. This vast population, therefore, draws nearly all of its support from the soil... It would seem, then, that our arable lands,taking the lowest estimate, are in excess of those of China, by some hundreds of thousands of square miles. The fact, therefore, that Chinese agriculture feeds hundreds of milions ought, certainly, to be suggestive to Americans.” America's population in 1890 was 62,979,766.

One wonders, then, just how productive China's manufacturing was while western countries were increasing their manufacturing capacities. In 1934, for example, Alice Tisdale Hobart had a best-selling novel, Oil for the Lamps of China (1934). It is the story is a "young American businessman in the 1920s who wants to bring 'light' and progress to China in the form of oil and oil lamps." IOW, it’s hard to imagine a major manufacturing country that didn’t even have a lamp  for the use of oil to produce light.

Pearl Buck's Pulitzer-prize winning novel, The Good Earth (1931), preceded Hobart's book, and in its dramatic story Pearl Buck covers the hardship lives of the Chinese poor as they strugge with the elements and hardships of Third World China.

dolph9's picture

Black Markets is an asshole.  Sounds like a typical immigrant.

Verily I tell you, anybody still "working hard" in the current system is the final patsy, and they will find out they wasted their time.

The Asians who are working like slaves for their corporate and Wall Street masters?  They've been played like fools but are too stupid to realize it.

To be fair the Japanese seem to have figured it out now.

newdoobie's picture

If you don't work hard your fucked! I work as hard as I can for as long as I can, I am always on the lookout for faster ways of working to increase my profit. (Not thru gimmicks) I realize that 90% of the people I hire are worthless, and try to limit them to harmless positions (if I have to keep them at all).

The trick to success is that I live below my means and put my excess in PM's and property (arable land.)

Unions are useful to help keep track of your labor costs, BUT I HATE THEM BECAUSE THEY KEEP PEOPLE FROM FIGURING OUT WHAT THEY ARE WORTH.

Seer's picture

"Sounds like a typical immigrant."

That's eerily xenophobic.

"The Asians who are working like slaves for their corporate and Wall Street masters?  They've been played like fools but are too stupid to realize it."

I'm not an expert on employment data, but I'd have to wonder whether there are a whole lot more "whites" doing this exact same thing.

Sometimes people just cannot face things so they just look to move along to get along, hoping that safety in numbers works out.  Yes, for some it does I suppose; it's just that it's not the best thought-out strategy for all situations.

"To be fair the Japanese seem to have figured it out now."

The Japanese are aging.  So, perhaps you're right, perhaps it's an artifact of wisdom with age.

reader2010's picture

The Mighty Imperial Army will Need your body count soon.

The Second Rule's picture

With jobs all our economic and social problems go away. The president's #1 job when he wakes up each morning is to think to himself "How can I create more jobs for Americans?" Will a 20% tarriff on goods imported from countries that peg their currency, or use slave labor create more jobs here? Fine. Then do it. Not because Chuck Schumer says so but because it's good for the nation. With jobs comes a strong middle class. Without a strong middle class you have a 2 class society: the super rich and peasants on the government dole--which is where we're headed. With jobs comes tax revenue and with that revenue you can fund education, so our education problems disappear. You can also fund infrastructure projects so our problems with crumbling water lines, sewer lines, bridges, highways, roads, all that goes away. With jobs you have strong communities with proper police, fire, and hospital services, so crime disappears, and people aren't dying in their unheated apartments because they can't afford to see a doctor. With good paying jobs, people can save for their retirement. More money goes into the social security system but less strain is placed on SSI and Medicare at the same time. The government can squirrel away money in a rainy day fund to deal with natural disasters (and we  haven't seen the last of them). Jobs are the answer to all our problems. It's not rocket science. The only people who don't want jobs to come back to America are the banksters on Wall Street, the cunts who destroyed America in the first place. You will never get those jobs back unless they go. First. And that will require a fight, possibly a small scale revolution. Obama will never do it. Never, because he's a "corporatist." Chris Hedges described corporatism as the most destructive economic system humanity has ever seen. And as he also added, "It will destroy us. It is destroying us."

Bobbyrib's picture

"More money goes into the social security system but less strain is placed on SSI and Medicare at the same time."

This is the only thing I disagree with. To some extent you are correct, but look at how much the average Baby Boomer "saved" for retirement outside of Social Security..not much. They probably had the best lives out of any American generation there is and most of them pissed away all their savings.

Seer's picture

The "Greatest Generation" had it best.  The Boomers are only now entering retirement and already the wheels are falling off.  And a large part of this is due (although it was inevitable) to Johnson busting open the vault on SS and lumping it with the general funds (for looting to pay for war debts): from that point on it's been a pay-as-you-go operation, with current workers paying the retirement funds for those collecting (big bad bullseye painted by demographics- OOPS!).  Timing is everything...


MeelionDollerBogus's picture

Your nonsolution forgets that the Federal Reserve is pegging USD to other export-ratios and is further paying for war to kill those who don't comply with ONLY currency manipulation by the Fed. The #1 global currency manipulator IS THE USA.

tempo's picture

If GWB had not exempted fracking from the clean water act and placing it under State control, the oil and gas job boom would have been killed by the EPA.   Obama will kill fracking jobs IMO by executive orders giving the EPA regulatory control which will supercede state regulations.

Bobbyrib's picture

If you love fracking so much go live in a town where it takes place and drink the water. Drinkiable water will be in short supply in the future and here we are dumping it into the ground loaded with chemicals so we can have natural gas sitting at the lowest levels seen.

Seer's picture

Another party pussy...

Obama is on the side of big corporations.  Wake the fuck up.  He's done as much as possible to give them everything they want.

And when all is said and done, when all the shit is sucked out of all those wells, Then what?

Food, Shelter, Water.  If you cannot tie into these then you're sure to head over the cliff.

MeelionDollerBogus's picture

Wrong by historical precedent: classic being Exxon, recent being BP.

Nobody For President's picture

All your jobs are belong to us.



MFLTucson's picture

Where is Obamas Jobs plan that he told the people of America was his first priority?

fiddy pence haff pound's picture

I was hoping Romney would have become president.

He is the epitome of the vulture capitalist offshoring (money & jobs)

bastard and is the idol of many lesser vultures.

the whole US world-leader democratic manufacturing engine of the

world concept would have blown up in a spectacular default or in

civil war after the cessation of Soc Sec and Medicare.

Whether I learned it here or from Max, we all know that the exporting

of manufacturing jobs to China still allows the owners of stock (the vultures)

to make a good show on the NY stock xchange, giving the illusion of good

economic times. 

The latest and greatest? Romney's offshoring of GM's AC Delco (or whatever new name it had)

at the expense of GM and the government. Romney pocketed  bailout money for destroying

a viable company. Of course, nobody would have dared tell him that to his face if Mittens had

become president.  

Employees are just inanimate expenses to be minimised, thanks to "alt-media guys" like Mish Shedlock.


overmedicatedundersexed's picture

fiddy and obuma has been so much more honest, much like the driven snow..not one banker or wall st big wig has been so much as charged by sec or doj under his adm..but point taken i did not vote for either snake

Notarocketscientist's picture

Yes I too was hopoing Romney would win so he could stick the dagger into the heart of the evil beast that is America

Disenchanted's picture

Some excellent points by the 'Archdruid' in The Road Down From Empire:


It’s worth taking a few moments to go over some of the more visible signposts of the road down from empire.  To begin with, the US economy has been crippled by a century of imperial tribute flowing in from overseas.  That’s what happened to our manufacturing sector; once the rest of the industrial world recovered from the Second World War, manufacturers in an inflated tribute economy couldn’t compete with the lower costs of factories in less extravagantly overfunded parts of the world, and America’s industrial heartland turned into the Rust Belt.  As the impact of the tribute economy spread throughout US society, in turn, it became next to impossible to make a living doing anything productive, and gaming the imperial system in one way or another—banking, investment, government contracts, you name it—turned into the country’s sole consistent growth industry.

That imposed distortions on every aspect of American society, which bid fair to cripple its ability to pick up the pieces when the empire goes away.  As productive economic sectors withered, the country’s educational system reoriented itself toward the unproductive, churning out an ever-expanding range of administrative specialties for corporations and government while shutting down what was once a world-class system of vocational and trade schools.  We now have far more office fauna than any sane society needs, and a drastic shortage of people who have any less abstract skill set.  For the time being, we can afford to offshore jobs, or import people from other countries to do them at substandard wages; as our empire winds down and those familiar bad habits stop being possible, the shortage of Americans with even the most basic practical skills will become a massive economic burden.


further on:


It’s a long, rough road down from empire, and the losses involved are not merely material in nature. Basing one’s identity on the privileges and extravagances made possible by the current US global empire may seem like a silly thing to do, but it’s very common.  To lose whatever markers of status are respected in any given social class, whether we’re talking about a private jet and a Long Island mansion, a fashionable purse and a chic condo in an upscale neighborhood, or a pickup and a six-pack, can be tantamount to losing one’s identity if that identity has no more solid foundation—and a great many marketing firms have spent decades trying to insure that most Americans never think of looking for more solid foundations.



That last point has implications we’ll be exploring in a later sequence of posts.  For the time being, though, I want to talk a bit about what all this means to those of my readers who have already come to terms with the reality of decline, and are trying to figure out how to live their lives in a world in which the conventional wisdom of the last three hundred years or so has suddenly been turned on its head. The first and, in many ways, the most crucial point is one that’s been covered here repeatedly already:  you are going to have to walk the road down from empire yourself.  Nobody else is going to do it for you, and you can’t even assume that anybody else will make it easier for you.  What you can do, to make it a little easier than it will otherwise be, is to start walking it before you have to.

Mad Muppet's picture

Still plenty of jobs in the Bakken of North Dakota. I see signs and hiring bonuses for CDL drivers with tanker experience. But then I'm over here because these are the only jobs to be found in the country. It's slowed down from two years ago, even here.

Walt D.'s picture

R.O.U.T - Regulations, Obamacare, Unions, Taxes. 

These are the dissincentives to create new jobs here in the US, and the incentives to move existing jobs offshore.

Money 4 Nothing's picture

Our American industry has been outsourced to 5 third world Nations subsequently destroying one great Nation of Pioneering know how in the transition. The industry that has been farmed out to other Nations will never return in my opinion because of an overeaching anti commerce Federal regulation arms tha have turned into a buracracy of stringent guidelines to do buissness in the USA along with punitive fines, operational fees etc which makes it nearly impossible to operate competitively on a global trade platform. Free trade acts and ditching our Space Program didn't help either, the day a Nation stops exploring new frontiers is the day that begins the slow and steady decline of research, education and new discoveries which have found their way from the space program into the private market such as Kevlar, new types of automotive brake materials etc.

China to begin building  Chrysler Jeep products for example. Romney did tell the truth after all! Last one to leave the USA don't bother turning the lights off. And just for the record,America hasn't had any meaningfull growth since1980. The only thing we make here now are old people, babies and print money out of thin air at .63 cents per 100 dollar bill, a far cry from her former glory.

Lord Of Finance's picture

I don't know what all the fuss is about. I see plenty of hiring adds at Mcdonalds and Home Depot. Who would want to start out in some manufacturing job at 12$ per hour when you can go to Panera bread, Mcdonalds, Starbucks or the Depot for a few cents above minimum wage? And better yet, who would want some higher paying manufacturing job that has a set hour work week. Don't you want your work schedule to change on a weekly basis so you never know when you will have time off to get anything done or make any plans?


  I don't know. Maybe it's just us. Anyway, good luck to you.



                  With best regards from all of us at the fed and in government


Shigure's picture

Where did all the jobs go? Billionaire Nick Hanauer addresses why the wealthy are not job creators in this TED talk:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bBx2Y5HhplI (5.50)

"Jobs are a consequence of an ecosystemic feedback loop between customers and businesses"

Jeelan's picture

Are you aware that he had an unprecedented filibuster proof majority for a while.executive search