Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Rise or Fall of Various Sectors in the American Economy , 1950-2008

Some surprises here for me, and some things as expected.

The decline in Manufacturing, from 31 % of payrolls to 9 %, is not a surprise. Interestingly, its representation in GDP is about double its current labor representation, which speaks to its importance for an economy, I think.

The Finance (aka F.I.R.E.) sector ticked up only slightly since 1950. Some Real Estate work is as a 2nd income - so that might not be reflected in official statistics.

Construction is steady, and did not increase much with the housing bubble, surprisingly. Though, there are many employees who are 'off the books' in this sector.

Health Care is booming as a source of employment. It represents 10 % of payrolls (of the 13 % in the Education and Health Care classification).

Government payroll trends are relatively flat. They topped out at 19.2 % in 1975, and increased slightly during the Bush years, probably due to Homeland Security related jobs. Average Hourly Earnings topped out around the same time as Government representation in the labor force. Correlation , but not causation ?

Professional and Business Services can include anything from Office Admin and Waste Services, to Management, Computer Systems Design, Legal and Architecture. Growth seems to be mostly coming in the Office Admin and Waste Services area, now at 6 % of total payroll. Computer Systems Design and Related is about 1 %, as is Engineering and Architecture. Professional consulting is also included in this muddled classification.

Not on the graph, for reasons of space, include Trade, Transportation, and Utilities (stable, at around 20% for the last 50 years), Information (2-3 %), and Mining (1%). Within Trade, Transportation, and Utilities is 'Retail Trade' which, surprisingly to me, remained within a 10-12 % range. The increase in the Leisure and Hospitality sector seems as expected.

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