<<

. 11
( 126 .)



>>




tics, unemployment rates in the various countries in the fall of
2007 were:

U.S. 4.7%
Canada 5.2
Australia 4.3
Japan 3.8
France 8.6
Germany 8.6
Italy 6.0
Sweden 5.8
United Kingdom 5.4
SOURCE: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.




Copyright 2009 Cengage Learning, Inc. All Rights Reserved. May not be copied, scanned, or duplicated, in whole or in part.
Licensed to:
Chapter 2 27
The Economy: Myth and Reality



The American Workforce: Who Is in It?
We have already mentioned that about 150 million Americans hold jobs. Almost 54 percent
of these workers are men; over 46 percent are women. This ratio represents a drastic
change from two generations ago, when most women worked only at home (see Figure 5).
Indeed, the massive entrance of women into the paid labor force was one of the major so-
cial transformations of American life during the second half of the twentieth century. In
1950, just 29 percent of women worked in the marketplace; now almost 60 percent do. As
Figure 6 shows, the share of women in the labor forces of other industrial countries has
also been growing. The expanding role of women in the labor market has raised many
controversial questions”whether they are discriminated against (the evidence suggests
that they are), whether the government should compel employers to provide maternity
leave, and so on.

F I GU R E 5
The Composition of Employment by Sex, 1950 and 2007
SOURCE: Economic Report of the President (Washington, DC: U.S.




Women
29%

Men Women
Government Printing Office), 2008.




53.6% 46.4%
Men
71%




1950 2007


F I GU R E 6
SOURCE: “A Survery of Women and Work,” The Economist, July 18, 1998, P. 4; and Organiza-




Working Women as a Percentage of the Labor Force, 1960 versus 2005
tion for Economic Cooperation and Development, Labor Force Statistics, 1985“2005,




Sweden
United
States
France
United
Kingdom
Germany

Netherlands
http://www.sourceoecd.org.




Japan
2005
Spain
1960
Italy
0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50



In contrast to women, the percentage of teenagers in the workforce has dropped signifi-
cantly since its peak in the mid-1970s (see Figure 7 on the next page). Young men and women
aged 16 to 19 accounted for 8.6 percent of employment in 1974 but only 4.0 percent in 2007.
As the baby boom gave way to the baby bust, people under 20 became scarce resources! Still,



Copyright 2009 Cengage Learning, Inc. All Rights Reserved. May not be copied, scanned, or duplicated, in whole or in part.
Licensed to:
Part 1
28 Getting Acquainted with Economics



F I GU R E 7
Teenage Employment as a Percentage of Total Employment, 1950“2006

10




SOURCE: Economic Report of the President (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office,
9
Percentage of Total Civilian Employment


8

7

6

5

4

3

2

1

0
19 0
19 2
19 4
19 6
19 8
19 0
19 2
19 4
19 6
19 8
19 0
19 2
19 4
19 6
19 8
19 0
19 2
19 4
19 6
19 8
19 0
19 2
19 4
19 6
20 8
20 0
20 2
20 4
06
5
5
5
5
5
6
6
6
6
6
7
7
7
7
7
8
8
8
8
8
9
9
9
9
9
0
0
0




various years).
19




Year




nearly 6 million teenagers hold jobs in the U.S. economy today”a number that has been
pretty stable in the past few years. Most teenagers fill low-wage jobs at fast-food restaurants,
amusement parks, and the like. Relatively few can be found in the nation™s factories.


The American Workforce: What Does It Do?
What do these 150 million working Americans do? The only real answer is: almost any-
thing you can imagine. In 2006, America had 101,010 architects, 396,020 computer pro-
grammers, more than 985,000 carpenters, more than 2.6 million truck drivers, 547,710
lawyers, roughly 3.9 million secretaries, 165,780 kin-
F I GU R E 8 dergarten teachers, 28,930 pediatricians, 62,860 tax pre-
parers, 6,810 geological engineers, 283,630 fire fighters,
Civilian Non-Farm Payroll Employment by Sector, 2007
and 12,970 economists.2
SOURCE: Economic Report of the President, 2008 (Washington, DC: U.S.




Figure 8 shows the breakdown by sector. It holds
some surprises for most people. The majority of Ameri-
can workers”like workers in all developed countries”
Manufacturing
produce services, not goods. In 2007, almost 68 percent
10.2%
of all non-farm workers in the United States were em-
Service producing
Government Printing Office, February 2008).




ployed by private service industries, whereas only about
(minus government)
16 percent produced goods. These legions of service
67.7%
Other goods
workers included about 18.4 million in educational and
producing
health services, about 17.9 million in business and profes-
6.0%
sional services, and over 15 million in retail trade. (The
biggest single employer in the country is Wal-Mart.) By
Government
contrast, manufacturing companies in the United States
16.1%
employed only 14 million people, and almost a third of
those worked in offices rather than in the factory. The
Homer Simpson image of the typical American worker as
NOTE: Numbers may not add to 100% due to rounding. a blue-collar worker is really quite misleading.

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2006, http://www.bls.gov,
2

<<

. 11
( 126 .)



>>