In the semi-euphoria over the declining jobless rate, one nagging statistic persists: Labor-force participation in the job market continues to slide.
Since the Great Recession began in 2008, 7 million Americans have dropped out of the labor force, and these individuals are not counted among the unemployed in the lower unemployment rate. Demographic factors explain about a third of the declining labor force participation (going back to school, early retirement, etc.) but the remaining number of unemployed-but-not-seeking-work remains alarming.
Republicans and Democrats fire poison-tipped arrows across the aisle, blaming each other for this state of affairs, but the real truth about the lack of jobs likely rests in a new historic shift in the way American economy is changing.
The fact is that many American jobs are disappearing forever, the by-product of the new economic leadership of the United States in the world of technology, the new Smart Age. Want proof? Take a look at some of the American companies of the past, and see where they are now.
Let's start with Kodak. The company filed for bankruptcy in 2012. Kodak employed 147,000 people in 1997, and these were mostly middle-class jobs. Gone. Facebook, which publishes more pictures than Kodak ever dreamed of, has only 8,000 employees. Remember Blockbuster? In 2005, it had 60,000 employees. Gone. That company was arguably replaced by Netflix, which employees 2,000 people. Twitter, a company with a market value of $24 billion, has 3,600 employees.