Tuesday, May 04, 2010
One more look.
The level of employment that sustained and reasonably grew the US economy (and every other historical economy for millennia) is the level of primarily single-income households.
Our economy is fast returning to this level of employment, as the chart shows.
The reality is that there is no industry anywhere in the US that is gearing up to employ the millions of unemployed people out there - nor the next generation of workers who will have the misfortune to reach employment age while both the Boomers and the Gen-Xers are still largely holding jobs.
As the economy ratchets down to sustainable levels of economic activity, every two-income household means a no-income household somewhere else, because there are simply not going to be jobs available for every working age adult in the not too distant future.
This is a statistical fact that people seem to not be comprehending.
There aren't any jobs for the unemployed, and there's aren't going to be. Let's get clear on that. A great many of the things that homemakers used to do at home in the unpaid economy are going to HAVE to go back there, and whether or not anybody likes that idea is not relevant.
There is in reality no such thing as perpetual "growth" economically. There are not enough natural resources, not enough human resources, and not enough economic resources for perpetual "growth." The economy has to stop and stabilize somewhere, and we have actually PASSED that point. We are in the zone of diminishing returns. And the economy will HAVE to shrink back to something more reasonably sustainable, which as the chart above and plenty of human history shows, is only paid employment for about half of all working age able-bodied adults.
You need to be planning for the time when your household will have only one income, class, because that IS going to be the norm.