Productivity Booms In Obama Years — The U.S. economy produced a record $13.38 trillion worth of real gross domestic product, based on 2005 dollars, in the last quarter of 2010.
Just 139 million employees were used to achieve this feat which is 7 million fewer than in the last record quarter — fall 2007 — when $13.36 trillion in real GDP was produced.
The motivation for this achievement, which has good and bad sides, can be laid at the feet of President Obama. Businesses are bending over backwards not to hire people fearing they may be stuck paying for them forever via unemployment compensation insurance and various other mandates — new, proposed and unforeseen.
The bad side is many businesses are making the employees they didn’t lay off work far harder than they used to to make up for the smaller workforce, and these employees are stuck since they fear there is nothing else out there and if one quits without a good reason one is likely not to get unemployment compensation.
And truthfully, most Americans would rather work than be a useless drone.
The good side is many business are also making productivity gains by cutting red tape, removing communication bottlenecks and increasing the skills and flexibility of its workforce.
And, of course, by adopting new technology.
One example that has gotten quite a bit of publicity is Marlin Steel Wire Products of Baltimore. Marlin has replaced $6-an-hour workers, who did 300 bends an hour, with robots and a $22 an hour technician that do 20,000 bends per hour.
One can say that a whole lot of $6 an hour people got put out of work. Or one can say that $6-an-hour workers can now afford a product that had not been able to.
Back during the dot.com boom, a prediction was made of era of 0 percent employment. The idea wasn’t that all would be in soup lines depending of government handouts but the world would become the Merry Old Land of Oz, where we would all sleep till noon, start work at one, an hour for lunch and at two we’re done.
We wouldn’t be drones but be free living under our own vines and fig trees.
Maybe Obama is going to bring this about in spite of himself.
Productivity Booms In Obama Years