Lately, the word on the Street is: jobs boom.
What's interesting is that analysts are far more bullish than economists proper about the prospects of jobs booming once again. The consensus amongst economists, I think, is far more pessimistic.
Here's what's really happening. We're trading yesterday's jobs - relatively high value, secure, jobs, with career paths and safety nets, of a sort, at least - for the opposite: low value, insecure, often temporary, narrow, and limited jobs, with no safety nets, and little skills gains.
We are, in short, trading real jobs for McJobs. The so-called jobs boom is, examined more closely, a Big Bang of McJobs. That conclusion's as tight as a drum: the rational person needs only to look at the underemployment numbers
to see it confirmed.
"...A measure of underemployment that counts those people has almost doubled over the past two years, to 15.6 percent."
The question is: why a Big Bang in McJobs? The answer's simple. Yesterday's industrial economy is today's zombieconomy. Yesterday's businesses are slowly but surely dying, and the entire base of the economy is in decay. Replacing real jobs with McJobs is just another way to keep it afloat a few months longer.
The real problem is this. We haven't reinvented the economy for the 21st century. When we create tomorrow's industries, tomorrow's jobs will appear in droves. Until we do, though the numbers may show a "jobs boom", there will be little gains in the real economy to match.
McJobs, after all, are no path to prosperity - just a path to the acceleration of decline.