Where Are The Jobs? I. The Basics

Two economists, John Dearie and Courtney Geduldig, have just published a very interesting new book, “Where the Jobs Are, Entrepreneurship and the Soul of the American Economy”.   In April 2011, Mr. Dearie and Ms. Geduldig launched an effort to understand the nature and scope of the damage to the U.S. labor markets caused by the Great Recession and, if possible, identify new ways to enhance the economy’s job-creating capacity.
They quickly “learned of research that demonstrates how virtually all net new job creation in the United States over the past 30 years has come from businesses less than a year old – true ‘start-ups.’  Investigating further, they also learned that America’s job creation machine is faltering, with the rate of start-up formation declining precipitously in recent years.  To find out why, they launched an ambitious summer road trip – conducting roundtables with entrepreneurs in 12 cities across the nation.”  Here is what they learned.
First of all, the U.S. labor market is tremendously dynamic, as existing businesses create new jobs and eliminate others.  “In 2011, for example, 47.5 million separations occurred while 49.6 million Americans took new jobs.”  But “existing firms, of any age or size, in aggregate, nearly always produce more separations than hires.  … Indeed, existing businesses shed on a net basis a combined average of about 1 million jobs each year as some businesses fail, others become more efficient, and as separations simply outpace new hires.  By stark contrast, new firms in their first year of existence, create an average of 3 million new jobs.”
Unfortunately, there has been a huge drop off in the number of new businesses created annually since 2007.  Furthermore, the historical average of seven new jobs created by a new firm in its first year, has now fallen to less than five new jobs.
The obvious question which this discussion raises is: what policy changes are needed to boost the creation of new businesses?  This will be the topic of my next post in a couple of days!

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