Saturday, July 04, 2015

The "new normal" in jobs predicted long ago by William Bridges

One of the challenges in obviousness analysis in patent law is predictability. Cotropia, for example, spoke about
"predictability of result." As one "non-patent" example, contemplate the foreseeability, long ago, of the present jobs situation.

An AP article Job market’s new normal: Smaller workforce, sluggish pay includes the text:

An aging population is sending an outsize proportion of Americans into retirement. Many younger adults, bruised by the Great Recession, are postponing work to remain in school to try to become more marketable. Global competition and the increasing automation of many jobs are holding down pay. (...)

* A shrunken labor force — The unemployment rate didn't fall in June because more people were hired. The rate fell solely because the number of people who had become dispirited and stopped looking for work far exceeded the number who found jobs.

The percentage of Americans in the workforce — those who either have a job or are actively seeking one — dropped to 62.6 percent, a 38-year low. Fewer job holders typically mean weaker growth for the economy. The growth of the labor force slowed to just 0.3 percent in 2014, compared with 1.1 percent in 2007. (...)

Economists estimate that retirements account for about half the decline in the share of Americans in the workforce since 2000.

See the 2012 post on IPBiz
Chasing purple squirrels

AND one recalls the long-ago discussion of the work JobShift by William Bridges:

[Bridges] comes to attribute the current technological innovations of industrial automation, the integration of information technology, and communications technology as the main drivers of a present redefining of workforce. He takes significant care to illustrate how these technological innovations have led to radical rates of business change in decision making speed, business efficiency, and capacity of organizations to adjust to markets. He spells out a rather daunting situation where technological capabilities are pushing people out of the workforce. Business are streamlining their operations and reengineering their workforce’s tasks to reduce cost, personal, and enhance productivity. The concept of secure employment is fading; being replaced by an “on demand” workforce hired in on a temporary basis to meet market challenges. He asserts that anyone who wants to thrive in the world outside of organizations is going to have to learn to look at those organizations as markets.


***Note, however, the average age of retirement has not been changing much:

However, the age retirees actually leave the workforce has not changed over the past decade. Retirees have left their jobs at an average age of 59 or 60 in every single year since 2002. About a third (34 percent) of people retired between ages 60 and 64, the most popular age range for retirement. And 14 percent of those surveyed retired exactly at age 65. Only 16 percent of retirees managed to work past age 65.


BUT compare

1. Working. Nearly a third of men and women between ages 65 and 69 are still in the U.S. workforce. The percentage will rise, as will the shares of even older people who are still drawing down or seeking regular paychecks. There is no way this can happen without changing the nature of some types of work. It will trigger new and not always welcome changes in how older employees are regarded. But along with the steadily rising share of seniors in the general population, the aging workplace will force society to adapt. Seniors will at once be more accepted and not so special.


AND from October 2014 Working into their 70s: the New Normal for Boomers

Almost 9 million workers ages 65 or older are in the labor force, either actively working or seeking work. As more boomers hit retirement that number is expected to increase by 62 percent to more than 13 million by 2022.

“The new normal is working longer,” said Monique Morrissey, Economist for the Economic Policy Institute. “Labor force participation rate of workers for 65 and older is the highest it's been in half a century – that’s as far as the records go – it could be longer than that.”


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