David Rosenberg: "The Travesty Is We Have 23.5 Million Americans Aged 25-To-54 Outside The Labor Force"

Tyler Durden's picture

Some observations on recent negative trends in productivity, employment mismatch, and labor training and education from the increasingly more bearish David Rosenberg, who notes that the Trump's proposed policies may end up helping growth on the margins, but fail to focus on what is really important, making tens of millions of US workers competitive and qualified for today's jobs market.

From Breakast with Rosie, via Gluskin Sheff

I don't think we have a productivity problem — in fact, the demise of productivity is vastly overstated and that is because the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is likely vastly overstating labor input, and I’m talking here about how hours worked are estimated.

But the real travesty, and what I think deserves top priority (but I don’t see it), is that we have, in addition to 7.5 million officially unemployed (a number that is closer to 15 million when all the hidden unemployment is accounted for), 23.5 million Americans aged 25-to-54 who reside outside the confines of the labor force. And at a time when job openings are at record highs.

The problem is that unqualified applicants for these openings also are at a record high. The number of jobs available that are not being filled because the skill set is absent is at an unprecedented level — and this was an overriding theme in the latest edition of the Fed's Beige Book.

The question is what is in the policy playbook to redress this situation?

What we need is a policy playbook that makes education, apprenticeship and training a major priority — the one plank that I had hoped would be yanked out of Bernie Sanders' platform.

While deregulation and simplifying the tax code obviously are constructive segments of the Trump plan, they are not the most important obstacles in the way of growth. Neither is globalization.

Even the most ardent ''supply-sider" would admit that labor input is key to the outlook and this should really be at the top of the agenda — closing the widening and unprecedented gap between job openings and new hiring. There simply is no replacement for excellent education achievement with respect to maximizing labor productivity.

I see scant attention being paid to this file — surely this is more important than U.S. involvement in Brexit or trying to play a role in breaking up the European Union, don't you think?

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johngaltfla's picture

This figure is what terrifies Yellen and Obama. Steve Mnuchin and Trump have both called the formula Obama changed to estimate the unemployment/employment rates pretty much total bullshit.

Once the figures are revised back to 2006 we will probably find a steady 9%+ REAL unemployment rate since 2007, and that tarnishes Janet's bullspray from her mouth and Obama's precious and fading fast legacy.

The Saint's picture
The Saint (not verified) johngaltfla Jan 21, 2017 4:49 PM

Didn't Obama tell us that those 23 million were wealthy and retired or taken care of by the Gubment?

larz's picture

Fake news!  Obama singlehandedly wrestled the unemployment rate to historic lies I mean lows he even said so I think he gave himself a medal of honor for it too MSM and Hollywood love him for this too

Son of Loki's picture

MSM just bragged last week that Soweeto's legacy was zero unemployment.

I guess these people are not "unemployed," they're just out of work.

DontGive's picture

Welfare is not a wise carrier choice, yet it's growing like weeds. Virtual bread lines.

Offthebeach's picture

Just above welfare is a death zone. Stay on welfare, homeless, get medicade, housing, EBT. Sleep in, party late, work as wanted for cash.

Go legit, deal with marginal boss, customers, work, up every day and get taxed such that you clear not enough to rent a room.

I'm guessing that 25% of jobs you work to feed yourself, to pay for a car to get to work to pay to go to work. And have no real savings to show for it.

whoisjg's picture

It isn't welfare people see, its to get on the disability roles, like the human baby, and octamom's kids (he had a lisp).  


And a lot of nigghruh moms have their kids act mental and they get disability also its all a con game. 


The social security disability fund is now broke. Solution? raise rates on white tax payers. Its now an additional 1% tax.


see: http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-09-08/social-security-disability-fund...


ebworthen's picture

Yes, and probably more like 15% REAL unemployment!

Yet we keep hearing the LIE in the MSM that we are at "full employment", which is a crock full of bullshit.

whoisjg's picture



we have been at 23% unemployment for over 10 years now. The great depression was 19% unemployment for 3 years. 

Ballin D's picture

8 years, not the full 10.  accuracy is important for pattern recognition.

whoisjg's picture

sorry, 8 yrs you are right. 

Thats only THREE TIMES longer than the great depression and MORE SEVERE

Or if you look for quarters of growth, we are doomed since 2000, (except for one quarter in 2005). so 17 years or again more than TWICE as long as the great depression. 

JRobby's picture

That lie causes the most damage to people in long term unemployment looking for work.

red1chief's picture

Given Mnuchin's Vampire Squid heritage, I don't think anything will change. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss...

Wulfkind's picture

So about all those job openings?  Do they all pay a living wage ?  That is to say...can they pay a person enough money to cover all normal living expenses ( not including debt you didn't need to obtain but including debt like a mortgage or rent )....with enough left over to save ?  Also....will those jobs be linked to inflation so over time your once living wage does not stagnate and drop below inflation so that you are actually taking a pay cut every year from then on out ?

My suspicion is no.  These fools only count the number of job postings without looking into the quality of said jobs.  And if they are shit jobs they'll just go to wetbacks anyway and thus not help real Americans.

Thus....the high number of people not in the labor force.

Oldwood's picture

The Chinese are fucked because all they can do is produce and Hope other people around the world buy their crap.

We, on the other hand, we in the west, have fucked ourselves with only ourselves to blame.

We had decent jobs but wanted cheaper prices, so we believed the lies of globalist governments and corporations and bought massive amounts of imports. Even while complaining of job losses and lower wages, we continued buying, claiming that we NEEDED cheap TV's, appliances, toys and cars, BECAUSE of our worsening conditions. We even DEMANDED cheap credit to satisfy our NEEDS. But have no illusions, it is WE who have done this. The collective WE who will not discriminate in our consumption. WE who say "everybody is doing it".

WE COULD stop. It would be hard....Painful, but instead so many can only demand more cheap stuff and credit. At some point those importing will tire of taking our promissory notes and once we have surrendered ALL of our manufacturing and jobs, then they will charge whatever they like and only take REAL value in exchange. Then we will be truly fucked.

rbg81's picture

So about all those job openings?  

They are FAKE job openings.  They basically want to hire someone with $100K/year worth of experience & qualifications for $30K/year.  And then when no one applies, the companies whine that they need H1B visa to fill the void.  Or undocumenteds who will work 14 hour days for minimum wage (or less) and not complain.

whoisjg's picture

Exactly. Like the government posting for experienced java programmers for 4k a month, then inside its all a curry den with most of them not working their wives sitting next door getting paid as well to do nothing and all of them laughing and having a ball in new india. what american wants to work in that environment? 

garcam123's picture

But...But....What about the opportunities I see on Cralislist all the time for Great HIGH INCOME OPPORTUNITIES! down at all the local dealerships where you get to work with the worst sort of drug induced thieving trash worthless pieces of shit and get fucked coming AND going by the "desk".  Take your opportunity and shove it up your mother's ass......sideways!  I'll pass, thanks! The great Opportunoty Trump will offer is, first....the Dick and Bubblegum Healthcare is Great Plan......if you don't have any money.....well you remember. Then, everybody will have something to do ebry day.....report to thier probation...er...employment officer.....I hear they'll be needin some niggas and mexis down south on that wall.....payin.....long dollar....16.00 an hr.

Everybody will be makin money again.....just enough to pay your bills....ain't Merika grate? If you could just remove that boot on my neck.....

DipshitMiddleClassWhiteKid's picture

there are plenty of jobs out there and not to mention where i live and from what ive seen in my travels across the country in the past ~2 years with help wanted signs posted on alot of small businesses..but this is exactly the point..those jobs pay jackshit and you get better gibs such as health insurance by being on the dole


what incentive is there to work if you're pretty much losing $$ to wake up everyday when you can just get on the free shit army train and get free healthcare


most companies health benefits are complete dogshit, even @ big corps..unless you're a C level guy that is.



Francis Marx's picture

I thought it was 95 million?

swampmanlives's picture

While there is 95 million out of the workforce, that includes kids who are still in school and old folks.

PoasterToaster's picture
PoasterToaster (not verified) swampmanlives Jan 21, 2017 4:59 PM


Berspankme's picture

Nope, includes 48 m retirees

Deplorable's picture

A shitload of those retirees (firemen, police, teachers, etc.)  are pulling in big money from underfunded city and state pension plans.

In my opinion, that is the next big Black Swan, and many of those retirees will see 50% haircuts on their monthly benefits.

Watch what happens in Dallas because your city may be next in line to fail bigly.


Meridith Whitney was right.....

847328_3527's picture

Those protests will be intersting. Reminds me of the protests described in that book, "When Money Dies" and tons of gubmint workers went on strike for more money during the hyperinflationary cycle.

For sure it is still wise to own: 1) a gun for self-defense; and 2) PMs as a hedge.

The system is so broken I am not sure if Trump can correct it peacefully.

Citizen_x's picture


50 %....or more.  Anyone starting see why are zookeepers hired president hair-hat.

Many here on ZH can tell us how pension plans were ripped-off from the mortgage meltdown.

rejected's picture

The problem today is the term skill set has become a useless degree. Anyone with a "real" skill set like a machinist, electrician, pipefitter, welder, carpenter, and so on are now considered knuckle dragging Neanderthals.

I actually heard this at a college and many Americans think the same. Of course when their pipes break or back up do they call a PhD?

actionjacksonbrownie's picture

A lot of those Neanderthals have higher IQs than the average college grad.

jimymac's picture

My rec to Grands is travel for a year, get a trade, something to fall back on, then get a degree in your passion.


Skiprrrdog's picture

Thats funny; every good pipe welder I know makes as much as my dentist does...

Berspankme's picture

Deplorables, irredeemable

therover's picture

So glad I am on the same side of the fence as you. I keep telling people when they ask where my 17 year old son is going to school or what his SAT scores none of their business and fuck that path of higher education bullshit where you spend 100K+ on some degree that will probably get you no where.  

That 100K+ that I have saved up is going to build him a woodshop filled with tools so he can hone his creative skills in wood working or lead to a path toward carpentry,  or it's going to buy him a van filled with plumbing equipment so he can work with his uncle as a plumber.

As part of that path, going to community college for some business courses and striving to getting first a 2 year associates that if needed, can matriculate to a 4 year degree in business ( for his OWN BUSINESS). Not spending tons of cash right out of the gate on a 4 year school. Shit..I know that scenario... been there done that. Plus every parent knows their child (at least the should) and my guy takes his time with stuff so I know that first year or so at that 50K plus a year school will be wasted.  

Bottom line is he will be getting something other than a worthless degree when he ends up flipping pancakes at an IHOP or waiting on tables at an Applebees. Not to say they are meaningless/dead end jobs...they are if you spent 100K+ on a degree and STILL HAVE THAT JOB.

whoisjg's picture

Genius. My family kicked me in the streets at 16 thats all I got. College was the only way to tread water and get away from that. 


Instead of wood working, think machine shop, makers guild, induction foundry, 3d printing, laser sintering. the modern stuff. Then he can take orders to produce just about anything from around the world. 

Oldwood's picture

Let's just face facts here. Progressives see anyone willing to labor as mentally flawed. We continue to work in the face of punatively taxation and regulation and constant derision....Proof that we ARE stupid. I have heard them actually admit that we are inferior, but to be tolerated, because they actually need us....On the same par as how these same people looked down upon slaves. They see us as inferior of mind, NEEDING their elitist minding, all why providing SERVICE to their needs. But let us step out of our PLACE and we see how they react, half punatively and half in simple arrogance. 

We know not what we do.... empowering someone who would FREE the slaves.  John Brown's body lies molding in his grave.

rbg81's picture

Too many people have confused the ability to Talk with the ability to DO.  Especially women.  I swear to God, the older I get, the more I think it was a mistake to ever let women vote.

bloofer's picture

Depends on the setting. I worked in one office where the two highly paid male department heads almost never came to work at all. A poorly paid female secretary supervised the staff and ran the place single-handedly.

Occasionally, office politics forced the department heads to show up once in awhile, and it was immediately obvious they knew nothing about anything.

My daughter recently started volunteering at a church organization. The poorly paid secretary ran the whole show for several years, until they hired a PhD to mastermind the place. The guy has been there a year at this point, pulls down an extravant salary, and has accomplished zero. His job description appears to be schmoozing with church leadership, presumably over expense-account luncheons.

This is funded by donations from notably non-affluent members of several congregations--who would be less-than-delighted to learn that their tithes are used mainly to pay a big salary to a PhD airhead.

garcam123's picture

Kinda hard to call it skill when we live in a glued together universe from shit to shinolla!

It's so over for us....

I've had pretty good a good run...... I'm the only guy I know who had an account at the whore house, in Antigua, George would remember!.....hopin to run up on a servicable fine lady to close out the game....watchin for that astroid.....It's out there...I believe in science....it'll be good to be back to stardust for the next adventure!

buzzsaw99's picture

his rich joo ass is really concerned. /SARCASM

Peak Finance's picture

I simply don't believe this:

The problem is that unqualified applicants for these openings also are at a record high. The number of jobs available that are not being filled because the skill set is absent is at an unprecedented level 

I think this is a lie to justify the continuation oif immigration and the hateful damnaging H1B program. I remember their bullshit lies from the early 00's , posting want adds for people with "10 years of Java Experience" when Java had come out like 2 year prior, and other imposible requests, and then being unable to fill thse jobs were allowed to ship in people from overseas. 

Falling Down's picture


The only real shortages are in certain skilled trades, in certain metros.


red1chief's picture

Almost everyone is unqualified if you look at the posted picky job requirements. I probably don't meet the requirements for the job I already have.

whoisjg's picture


DEMIZEN's picture

I am not sure. I was in a calculus class in a mediocre college with a bunch of army veterans that were staring at the chalkboard like a spaceship was just about to land. We progressed so slowly I had to keep coming drunk to the class so i didnt get bored. I felt sorry for the dudes and didnt want them to feel like shit, so i tried to shut up. We had this basic shit back in europe four times a week when i was 16.

They were all cool guys and had fun playing pool and drink with them. Id bet everything i have that none of these dudes remember a derivative of x*x if asked.It was amusing to see tons of government money wasted right in front of my eyes.

There are jobs that require access to a pool of talent, for the tech giant to stay competitive, if local pool is depleted. Is H1B abused to bend "the salary demanded"? sure, but that is another story.

I often sit in the meetings with a bunch of retarded millennials "brainstorming" and eating pizza all fucking day long. they are an absolute of waste of resources despite of their fancy pedigree and misterious job titles and cant get a single line of code together without flying in a team of foreign programmers. what the fuck do i need them for? user experience? marketing? clean code sells itself. hacking pays minimum wage.

jimymac's picture

How many poli-sci's can you fit in a Senators chair.

DipshitMiddleClassWhiteKid's picture

eh, its hard to find qualified developers and the h1b street shitters arent much better but they'll work for dogshit wages


working with these people has made me extremely jaded on corporate america. nearly every place ive worked at is full of these fucking muds, i cant have a conversation with anyone anymore. except at my last job, where there were some white americans