The latest reading on weekly jobless claims showed a drop of 5,000 to 348,000. This brought the 4-week average down a touch to 355,000; the lowest level since March 2008.
Regardless of recent improvements, our 8.3% unemployment rate is stuck near the highest levels seen since the dark days of the early 1980's. And if you ask ten people to name the biggest worry in today's economy, most will say high unemployment.
According to Conor Sen of Minaynville.com, the country's worries may be overstated. He says we're less than a decade away from the biggest challenge not being too few jobs for American workers, but rather a workforce too small to fill the demand.
"Ten years ago we saw for every new retiree there were ten new workers in the work force," Sen tells me in the attached video. "Ten years from now we're going to see the opposite; we're going to see ten retirees for every new worker."
As a function of simple math Sen concludes the unemployment picture is apt to improve "much faster than people think."
The natural push back on Sen's theory is the inability of U.S. corporations to create jobs domestically in the face of cheaper labor available overseas. Sen says those issues are taking care of themselves as well.
"The U.S. workforce is the most productive in the world and our productivity rate continues to improve. At the same time wages in China, partially due to the depreciating dollar, have been skyrocketing over the past few years." As a result, according to Sen, "our manufacturing workers are becoming much more competitive in the world markets."
What Sen is referring to is often called Labor Arbitrage. In English that means producing goods overseas was simply cheaper than making them here even with the added expense of shipping. All things being equal American corporations would much prefer to build plants in the States; it was simply far to expensive to do so.
When the price of labor abroad and shipping costs go higher, the profit and PR equation shifts. This is exactly why there are a growing number of foreign automotive plants being built in the States. It's not because they love America more than they do their homeland, it's because the U.S. is a cheaper place to do business.
None of which much matters to Sen as the real jobs for the so-called Millennials will be in information & technology. It's going to be those whippersnappers, not the Gen-Xers, who will benefit from this shift. The "Post-Industrial economy" is going to drive the next move, outpacing by far the return of manufacturing.
These jobs are bigger than just social networking and online gaming. The tech wave creates efficiencies that "we haven't thought of before," increasing the flow of goods and creating new opportunities.
Sen says his generation isn't sweating the volatility created by this change.
"One of the great things about millenials is that we're not looking to have jobs for 30 or 40 years," he says. "I'm at my fourth job right now since I graduated from college. We're not so afraid of having a new job or earning our income in different ways."
Does he have a point or is this just a pipe dream? Right or wrong, should it matter at all for people out of work today? Let us know in the comment section or Tweet me @Jeffmacke