Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Number of hours worked has returned to pre-recession levels. Must be good news, right?

Here is a graphic showing the number of hours worked by different sectors of the economy classified by how they have fared since 2007 (just prior to the recession---Dark GRAY area).  Go HERE for the short and informative article on the topic.

I inserted a RED line to show the point of the official end of the recession (late 2009) where hours worked SHOULD start increasing for all sectors, presumably, as the recovery got underway.

Total hours worked has returned to pre-recession levels (mentioned in the article). But there has been a reshuffling of those work hours from higher paying construction and manufacturing jobs to lower paying leisure and hospitality.  A significant part of healthcare job growth is in lower paying home health aides.

Construction jobs suffered the biggest drop as a result of the recession and has held pretty steady at its low point with only a tiny increase in hours worked in the past 4 years.

I believe construction will eventually pick up, but unless manufacturing is defined in a new way I do not believe employment in that sector will increase dramatically.  Technology is the pinch there.

Construction workers might experience a boom building manufacturing plants and infrastructure but they will be staffed by machines and robotics.

Source: St Louis Federal Reserve

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