Where will the next wave of well-paying jobs come from?

There is lots of troubling news around about the economy, much of it focused on the short-term. For example, most economic prognosticators don’t think that job growth will resume until next year, and even then, they believe, any employment growth will be anemic.

That’s bad enough, but there are also hints that the long-term picture won’t be rosy either. Consider this nugget from The Washington Post:

The number of private-sector jobs is now slightly below the level of August 1999 — meaning that a decade has passed without any net creation of non-government jobs, even in a span during which the population grew substantially.

“We gone 10 years with zero employment growth,” said David Shulman, a senior economist at the UCLA Anderson Forecast. “This has been a lost decade.”

That’s the term — “lost decade” — that economists use to refer to Japan, which has been in a slump for more than a decade now.

As our manufacturing base continues to erode, the country faces substantial structural problems, beyond this recession (which, in fact, is worse because of those structural problems). What will be the next great economic engine?

President Obama has emphasized “green jobs,” or creating a new sector around environmental needs. That’s not a bad vision, but the recession has frozen lending, so new companies are having a hard time getting started. The recession has also cut into new purchases; few businesses or individuals are thinking about spending money on green technology right now.

Still, some economists are optimistic. James K. Galbraith, son of the famous Galbraith and a professor of economics at UT Austin, told McClatchey News Service recently that this country won’t tolerate a lost decade.

“There’s no way we’re going to tolerate a Lost Decade in this country. It’s a fantasy, because the House of Representatives has elections every two years. The country is not going to tolerate 10 percent unemployment indefinitely. People (in power in Washington) need to be aware of that. If they don’t take the opportunities now . . . someone else will.”

But there’s a serious flaw in that line of thinking. If Democrats are voted out of power because they failed to restore jobs growth, they’ll be replaced by Republicans, whose only economic policy is this: Cut taxes.

They did that in the Bush years, and it didn’t create an expanded base of well-paying jobs. It created much higher profits for big companies and dividends for stockholders, but not much else. America’s jobs growth over the last decade came from a housing boom, which created millions of jobs in construction and real estate. But that turned out to be a bubble which couldn’t be sustained.

So the question remains: How will those well-paying jobs be created?

50 comments Add your comment


September 9th, 2009
10:36 am


September 9th, 2009
10:50 am

It’s not a pleasant thought, but it’ll happen when people realize their labor doesn’t earn them the same amount that it did in the past. The awful fact of the matter is that in countries around the world people are willing to do what we can do for less. This applies to manufacturing, accounting, engineering and anything else where the product can be shipped from one place to another.

We can continue to aspire to what was or we can bow to the invisible hand.


September 9th, 2009
10:50 am

Please don’t comment or read this person’s writings. Her opinions (and this newspaper) is irrelevant. The only reason she is employed is because she makes people angry and people read her writings. Don’t you have something better to do than support her and this newspaper???


September 9th, 2009
11:02 am

“So the question remains: How will those well-paying jobs be created?”

With opportunity. And where is the opportunity with statists like Obama steering the economy? He refuses to let failed corporations fail, thus there is no opportunity for those who have the vision and will to get a bite at the apple and to re-invent an industry.

I’m not surprised you can’t see this, Tucker. As a self-described socialist your only concern with well-paying jobs is for the tax revenue they create to fund your utopian fantasy. And, of course, for your own personal gain.


September 9th, 2009
11:19 am

Very pointed column. The only places that I can see job growth on the scale required to return this country to a 4% unemployment rate is
“green technology” & infrastructure. Infrastructure means government spending & that means raising taxes or raising deficits. Or, privatize the interstate system & turn them into toll roads. Green technology means private investment – I hope it means private not public investment – and that means the rapid movement of capital, which is not happening at this time. And it means tax breaks for the builders of the “green” technology.

Consumer savings is higher than in decades. Consumer debt just took the largest decrease since 1943. Consumers are not spending which hurts the short term recovery but helps in the long term.

Somebody, please give a more optimistic outlook than I just did.


September 9th, 2009
11:28 am

Until we have true campaign finance reform, we will continue to get politicians of the corporations, by the corporations and for the corporations. When SCOTUS ruled that money=free speech was when the electorate became irrelevant and our officials started listening to the only speech that mattered.

joe matarotz

September 9th, 2009
11:32 am

Cynthia, what do Hyatt Hotels, Burger King, IHOP, FedEx, Microsoft, CNN, GE, Hewlett Packard, and MTV all have in common?

They all started during recessions. IN you spare time, which you seemingly have an unending supply of, you can look up more companies that began successful runs during a recession. Under normal circumstances, companies adapt, or inovate, or fall by the wayside. This time, the government felt compelled to rescue companies whose business model no longer led to success. By doing that, the government removed the incentive for businesses to think outside the box. Instead, failing companies, and the failing executives who led them, were rewarded handsomely.

I don’t expect you to understand this. I am sharing it with your other three readers. Had the government not interfered, the recovery might have taken a little longer, but the end product would have been much stronger. Now, we have enabled failures to continue their failing ways while the liberal left trumpets the benefit of having the government fund the losers.


September 9th, 2009
11:41 am

Kamchak September 9th, 2009 11:28 am
” When SCOTUS ruled that money=free speech was when the electorate became irrelevant…”

Keep your eyes & ears open, they are going to make another ruling today on the same issue. You are probably going to be more unhappy than you are today.

joe matarotz

September 9th, 2009
11:43 am

By coincidence, I just read this from NADA, the National Automobile Dealers Association. Interesting thought from the writer.

Opinion: Closing dealerships? Be careful.

By Keith Crain

Driving through Ohio and Michigan recently, I was stunned to see so many new-car dealerships that were closed, abandoned or selling only used cars. There were too many not to notice in cities large and small. I suppose nothing can be done about the closings that we have seen and will be seeing in the months ahead. As General Motors executes the closing of about 1,350 dealerships across the United States — and more in Canada — a lot of communities will be devastated. If there were a competitive event to measure the philanthropy of businesses in America, the local car dealer would always take the top prize. If you go to a Little League or youth hockey game or any other locally organized sporting event, the sponsors always seem to be local auto dealers. But I am convinced that within a few years, many of those empty dealerships will be filled with other brands, some of which may not even exist today. Annual U.S. sales of 10 million cars and trucks are only temporary. It won’t take long for the numbers to climb once the nation and the world are out of this recession. As that is happening, we’ll see new brands in old places, and that will mean new jobs in America.
Source: Automotive News

Editor’s Note: Keith Crain is publisher and editorial director of Automotive News.


September 9th, 2009
12:03 pm


Yeah, I know it’s why I brought it up. I’m not saying that there is no place for lobbyists–there is–to give voice to those that can’t get direct access to our elected officials. But I refuse to believe that GE is so impotent that it needs a cadre of lobbyists.


September 9th, 2009
12:20 pm

wait, I thought those private sector corporations (that provide jobs) are bad. Greedy profit driven corporations. gads, I can’t figure y’all out.


September 9th, 2009
12:35 pm

I think Tucker needs to ask Obama the question she asked her readers.
And he can’t use a teleprompter to answer the question!

Karl Marx

September 9th, 2009
12:37 pm

The kenyan could care less about citizens in this country without insurance. The fed has taken over Wall Street. The fed has taken over banking. The fed has taken over the auto industry. The fed naturally controls the huge government bureaucracy. What is left? What is the only major industry left? Health care and pharma is all that is left in this country. When the kenyan gets that, we will be a completely socialist country. It’s not about the people without insurance, it is about the fed having complete control of all citizens lives. And most people in this country have figured that out. It is all down hill for this administration from here.

Pat Phelps

September 9th, 2009
12:41 pm

Cynthia – if the Obama administration continues to spend at the rate they are spending you should be worried about any job, well paying or not. You can not spend your way out of this economy. FDR proved that with his new deal. The economy recovered only because of World War II, not because of what the liberal poster child did.


September 9th, 2009
12:55 pm

“Please don’t comment or read this person’s writings.”

Why not? You have a mind large enough to read & analyze thoughts & data and the political lean of the writer should not matter. All I have heard for over 30 years is liberal bias in the news media. So what? If one can think, then one can recognize & allow for the bias when reading or listening to the news. It is called thinking.
I am conservative leaning toward libertarian but most of my reading is
from liberal leaning writers. I enjoy the challenge. I detest hearing what someone thinks I want to hear. Tell me something I do not want to hear. I will take it from there.

My 2 cents.


September 9th, 2009
1:07 pm

Well paying jobs only come from free and sovereign individualistic producers.

Our current nanny-state is not conducive to the producers.

The wealth destroying policies of our current government only works for so long.

The producers have the wealth to wait it out.

Deal with it. It will not get any better until government yields.


September 9th, 2009
1:11 pm

The next wave won’t come from students who are deficient in math.


September 9th, 2009
1:27 pm

Pat Phelps

Have you not heard of John Maynard Keynes?

Curious Observer

September 9th, 2009
1:37 pm

Where will the next wave of well-paying jobs come from?

Excerpt from a 2013 article in the Northside Neighbor:

The bride and groom will shortly take up residence in an apartment in Peking, where he has taken a position as an assembly line supervisor in an auto parts factory.


September 9th, 2009
3:01 pm

Where were they at 3 yrs ago before the Democrats took control?


September 9th, 2009
3:11 pm

It is not a matter of no job gains in last 10 years. The job level went up as one would expect but started going back down until it got to the l999 level. Two months from now it will probably be where the l998 level. Duh!


September 9th, 2009
3:19 pm

By the way, it was reported today that the government will never, ever recoup the money it loaned General Motors and Chrysler. They should have been allowed to go the way of the dinosaur and woolly mammoth. By the way, there are other car companies out there and new ones are being created in the minds of other creative and inventive people. That’s right, Cynthia….we, the people, will determine where the new jobs come from.

Paul A

September 9th, 2009
3:21 pm

How would that clueless windbag that calls herself a pundit have any idea where jobs come from? She honestly believes the government will create jobs for everybody who wants one. She’s useless. She’s completely incompetent. She gets it handed to her every week on Sunday morning with George Snuffaluffagus.

George Will smashes her socialist comments with his bow tie.

Cynthia – I hope Neal Boortz puts Visine in your wine glass during the Christmas party.

Sunshine and Thunder

September 9th, 2009
3:27 pm

“…Republicans, whose only economic policy is this: Cut taxes”

Oh Lord don’t let the people keep their money. They are way too stoopid to know how to spend it. Only the GOVERMENT knows what is best for the people’s money. Take their money at gunpoint (IOW, steal it) and give it to those who need it (IOW, will vote for me).

Had Enough of Cynthia Tucker

September 9th, 2009
3:34 pm

George Bush created over 6 million new jobs with tax cuts and Obama has lost 3.5 million since he came into office. Cynthia listen up!! Barney Frank through his committee’s actions stopped federal regulators from regulating both Freddy Mac and Fanny Mae, which caused the financial mess. Please, Oh please will someone at the AJC fire Cynthia Tucker. She is so full of CRAP in everything she writes!

Thomas Jefferson

September 9th, 2009
3:37 pm

Democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not.

Thomas Jefferson

September 9th, 2009
3:38 pm

I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.


September 9th, 2009
3:43 pm

Other than being black, why does this woman have a job? Can any anti-Republican racist get a position get a job like this? I don’t think so. She does not represent Atlanta, Georgia, or the South in general. Fire her now!


September 9th, 2009
3:45 pm

Well, since we live in a post-industrial society where automation and automatons are becoming part of the “new” labor, direct human labor is increasingly less important. In my view, we are going through a turbulent transformation, and realization, to where individual value is not placed upon their labor, but upon their capital-neutral worth to society, community and family. How this “worth” is defined should be our primary concern in terms of our relations to ourselves and others.

Consider, a world where one need not be on an electrical grid as a residential power source; so, the need for large capital outlays for power systems and their attendant maintenance is irrelevant — part of a past we need to let go.

So, labor (or jobs) may be localized to households that are self sufficient, so there is much less of a need to work for someone else to acquire one’s needs. Moreover, skill sharing (or labor bartering) may further reduce the need to raise individual capital.

In short, we are in world confronted with lags left over from a past industrial period that no longer exist, which continue to influence our perception of sustainability. There is no need now to have large levels of employment, since computing machinery and robotics are rapidly supplanting human labor.


September 9th, 2009
3:46 pm

Why is Cynthia worrying about this? LESS then 50% of the students in urban America are graduating high school. Therefore, they won’t qualify for the jobs anyway. And the FEW who do graduate are learning a dummied-down politically-correct curriculum. No way ready to compete in a high-tech world economy against the Chinese, Japanese, Singapore, etc……..BTW, I did NOT hear Ms. Tucker say a word when President Clinton and his point-man Rahm Emanuel signed away all our jobs with those NAFTA, GATT, WTO, and other agreements and treaties.


September 9th, 2009
3:50 pm

Psst a couple of secrets, know only by the few people that understand economics 101
1 – Jobs are good based on the fact that they pay better than most other jobs ergo most people can’t have a “good job” (seriously this is like first grade stuff)
2 – More important even than 1 government doesn’t create good jobs (well except for paying a few hundred thousand people for piling up red tape) maybe I should say productive jobs. Business does. Pols simply take credit for upswings and blame the other side for down swings


September 9th, 2009
3:54 pm

Simple answer…. Shrink the government. All those unemployed bureacrats and entitlement overseers will have to find real work to do. A small percentage of them might even come up with some good ideas, start a business and employ some people.

There’s one thing we do know. Making the government bigger does not add private sector jobs. So let’s try the opposite. Too bad we elected a President whose answer to every problem is to start a new government agency and hire a bunch of bureacrats to oversee it.


September 9th, 2009
3:55 pm

Azazel, this is the way of the world, it has already happened with the assembly line, farm harvesters, cars (created one industry and killed the horse and buggy industry) also consider that when all of this labor was necessary people worked 12 hours a day 6 days a week. This automation many complain about not only creates more free time but cheaper goods. Not to mention unemployment rates were much higher in those days. Things to not progress or digress in a vacum. People complain that an american flag is made in china, I say would you rather they be making our flags or americans making theirs?


September 9th, 2009
4:08 pm

Sad that this question is only now being seriously asked by the progressive media. Especially in light of tonight’s speech on dramatically increased government control…


September 9th, 2009
4:08 pm

Dan, that is not my point. Why have Chinese robots make your flag instead of your own robots?

My point, albeit probably obscure, is why should we expect to work for someone else to live, when we can work for ourselves. Technology exist NOW, for example, that can free us from corporate energy producers and allow individual households self-sustainability. (Not to mention every time we pay an electric bill we pay the electric company to poison us with coal byproducts and nuclear waste)

Yes, when we free ourselves from corporate oligarchies unemployment will rise because of decreasing need of human labor, but this is one of the industrial period lags we must find a way to overcome — your and my worth should not be based on the labor we produce.


September 9th, 2009
4:15 pm

Some of you have seem to have forgotten that Bush was in the hot seat when Wall Street started its downward slide. He gave away $350 billion without ANY restrictions.

Perhaps many of you read through the paper and the internet and noted all the stories about stimulous money being used for new equipment for schools, infrasture jobs, etc. That money is truly being used – even here in Georgia!

And call our President a Kenyan doesn’t make him one. He was born in Hawaii – one of the 50 states.

Sunshine and Thunder

September 9th, 2009
4:20 pm

Obama said we had to pass the stimulus IMMEDIATELY to start creating new jobs. That was in February. What was the rush and where are the jobs?

Obama says we HAVE to pass the health care bill this year. But it won’t go into effect until 2013 (or after Oblama is elected again). What is the rush and why do we need it now when it won’t even work for 4 years?


September 9th, 2009
4:21 pm

In the future all jobs will be government jobs. There will be no foreign trade, we will only manufacture what we can consume. There won’t really be any “good” jobs because the highest paying jobs will pay 150% of the SSI or disability benefit rates. There will be a flat tax of 80% to ensure equitable distribution of earnings and to pay for all the government programs but that will be okay because housing and health care will be free. All your possessions will revert to the state when you die. Savings, like vacations, will become unnecessary and may even be considered treasonous. SAT scores will get lower and lower but suicide rates will get higher and higher. Brave New World of the Obamaites.

Guess who???

September 9th, 2009
4:48 pm

Sunshine and Thunder,

still smellin?

go to www.altshirt.org

September 9th, 2009
4:58 pm

So why do my comments have to be moderated ?? Is it because I am not a controlling racist communist ??


September 9th, 2009
5:19 pm

The hateful comments are stunning. It is not Obama’s fault that the economy is terrible or that no jobs were created in the past 10 years. It is all of our fault so if you are looking for someone to blame, look in the mirrow. The good jobs have left this country for China, India or Brazil unless you are a financial thief like Bernie Madoff.

Wyld Byll Hyltnyr

September 9th, 2009
5:19 pm

My dear Cynthia, one central premise in your thesis is absolutely, 100% inaccurate. So, like a house of cards, both your jibe at our dear President Bush and your line of reasoning (if one dares call it that) falls as if a house of cards.

Please allow the Ol’ Wyld one to have a teachable moment with you. You wrote, “President Obama has emphasized “green jobs,” or creating a new sector around environmental needs. That’s not a bad vision, but the recession has frozen lending, so new companies are having a hard time getting started.” Lending has very little to do with creating new businesses, let alone a new sector. Most businesses are small enough to be started from personal savings/resources of the owner. Once economic viability has been proven, new capital is likely to be raised from relatives, partners, equity investors, and SBIC, or, perhaps, VC investors. Finally, after a business has established a predictable cash flow stream and some secondary repayment capacity, a guarantor or collateral, loans from banks or other financial concerns become available.

When a new business is started, lenders will not take equity risk that is left to equity. As you can see, you were wrong in your diatribe.

Further, tax cuts make investment more attractive to those who would take equity risk in a new venture since tax cuts greatly enhance returns. So, to incubate new businesses or economic sectors, tax cuts are the way to go. Unfortunatley, these facts fly in the face of your poorly designed thesis.

Perhaps, one should write about only that which one truly understands rather than casting about, as if participating in a battle royale, for ways to cast aspersions on Republicans and President Bush.


September 9th, 2009
5:47 pm

Cynthia do you re-read your blogs before you post them? You slam Bushes tax cuts and than you state “It created much higher profits for big companies and dividends for stockholders,”. Have you ever run a business? That was rhetorical. Because it’s apparent you haven’t. Business can hire people when they make profits. Those stock holders can buy more which means more people are employed!!! How about the increase in minimum wage which effects the small business owners. They employ over 50% of all the people in the US. They have been forced to pay people more for the same work which means they can hire fewer people. Might this not have something to do with the lack of growth!


September 9th, 2009
5:56 pm


Bless your pea picking heart. You really know how to stir up the peanut crowd. From looking at your photo, your age is probably somewhere around 40. Given that, I congratulate you and so many others for supporting our economy with your high taxed income. And, obviously, your poor child will also have to endure the back breaking tax load of the future. Have a great life.


September 9th, 2009
6:03 pm

The jobs have been moved out of the country due to the way corporations are taxed and the higher cost of union labor and/or constant unionzation threat. If the the unions get the “Card-check” legislation passed and the Democrats keep slipping in requirements to only use union controlled companies for stimulus jobs, the US will lose millions of more jobs over the next 3 years.


September 9th, 2009
6:05 pm

I enjoy the reader’s comments more than the articles by Ms. Tucker. I think some of the readers should be getting paid to write such clever stuff.


September 9th, 2009
6:26 pm

our reward is beyond what Ms Tucker could ever pay us…


September 9th, 2009
7:01 pm

Don’t look now, but this is the lost decade, the 10th year of the Bush-Clinton-Bush-Obama economic depression, with stagnant incomes, and increasing durations of unemployment.

A lot of us got faked out. We didn’t notice the expansion of body shopping that got its push in legislation passed just before Reagan went into office. Nor did we notice the additional measures like Simpson-Mazzoli and rule 1706 which made it worse. We read about the farmers being foreclosed and evicted, the manufacturing workers sent packing, but believed the stories that they could just go to the juco or university to re-tool for more cutting-edge high-tech jobs. NSF had begun whining about high salaries for people with PhDs and pushed for more student visas and guest-work visas, acknowledging that reduced rewards would drive many US citizens out of these difficult to prepare for and remain current in fields. By 1990, with the reorganization of the Soviets, we saw large numbers of experienced science, tech, engineering, math and manufacturing workers dumped, and, at the same time the H-1B visa was created. Some cutting-edge aerospace engineers found themselves out of work for as long as 8 years. Employers stopped flying candidates across the country, greatly reduced relocation assistance and in most cases demanded that candidates relocate themselves. Employer investments in education and training dried up.

Then, during the Clinton admin, it was vastly expanded, twice, the second about 7 months after the start of the Y2K bust, economic recession and dot-com crash. Fortunately, those visa increases were temporary, but just as it looked like things might start looking up a year or two out, they slipped in more increases in the form of the E-3 visa, and various exemptions.

But we were all working 10 and 16 and 18 hours a day, trying to avoid the regular waves of down-sizings, and didn’t notice until it was too late.

Those who were able to hang on and avoided being displaced worked even harder. But federal over-spending and Fed policy were driving up consumer prices at a steady clip, while compensation was pretty much flat. So, those who were hanging on also leveraged their home equity, and maxed out the credit cards, hoping improvement was right around the corner. Many of them go swamped when the results of congress’ pressure on Fredde and Fannie to hand out loans to people who couldn’t pay them off.

Now, some of us educated in those cutting edge fields, see that there are hundreds of thousands fewer jobs (see yesterday’s CW article on Silicon Valley and the BLS report), we’ve long since burned through our savings, retirement, etc. Some have lost their homes and cars and libraries of professional books. We don’t have money or resources to gad about to “networking” events, or relocate ourselves. And most prognostications I’ve read in the last few days indicate that the job markets won’t have recovered for at least 4 or 5 years.

Call it 2 lost decades.


September 9th, 2009
7:35 pm

“Democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not.”

Perhaps this is most accurately be interpreted as: “those who are willing to work” = the typical american worker, and “those who would not” = the overpaid CEOs and corportate boards, the hedge fund managers and wall street bankers. Government of, for, and by the rich is no democracy.


September 9th, 2009
7:57 pm

Jobs? Who cares about jobs? We’re all about healthcare reform right now. Get with the program, dear.

(If people had jobs, they could take care of their own healthcare. What’s to gain with that?)