Thursday, July 08, 2004

JOBS, SCHMOBS, THAT ISN'T THE STORY

In previous rants, I've tried to paint a picture to explain the conundrum of this economic recovery. Pundits have wrung their hands trying to figure out how and why we could have positive economic growth, yet relatively fewer new jobs than in prior recoveries. My explanation was one simple word -- productivity.

Over the past five years, the real payoff in Moore's law has been providing tools to businesses that make all workers far more productive. Manufacturing showed the way decades ago as assembly lines no longer needed thousands of workers but only needed hundreds of workers managing processes controlled by computer systems. In the service sector, the increased used of workflow management software has been a boon to companies of all sizes. Scalable platforms have allowed companies to be much more nimble in responding to customer demand without waiting for their organizations to catch up to the demand.

Unfortunately, words like "productivity" get politicized into words like "automation", "restucturing" and "reengineering", all of which get further politicized into "lost jobs". In the short run, true. However, greater productivity allows for increased growth. Increased growth results it, you guessed it, the need for more experienced workers.

I'm not going to hold my breath until a politician figures this out and gets honest about this important issue.


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