Results for “those new service sector jobs”
138 found

Those new service sector equine jobs

It is entrepreneurship that will create the jobs of the future:

We use a unique horse-­assisted leadership experience to help your group create a profound sense of trust, safety, honest communication, authentic connection, and purpose-driven action.

The Circle Up Experience brings together teams [of people] and horses because these majestic animals [presumably the latter] exemplify balanced and shared leadership. This style of leadership creates stability, trust, and the freedom to communicate while valuing the strengths of each individual member and their unique leadership roles within a dynamic and flexible herd[human]-like environment.

Via R., here is the full site.  Let’s get that equine labor force participation rate back up again…

Further jobs with your voice

I’m a re-recording mixer and sound mixer so I can confirm that the people who provide such specialized voice talents are amazing. There are also many more varieties: one of the films I mixed featured a dog as a lead character. There are two people who are known for their abilities to mimic dogs and make between 5 and 10 thousand dollars a day.

There are also the amazing people who work in “loop groups”. They provide the background chatter that you hear in any scene with more than a few people. Whether it’s a scene with a few people in an office, or a large group in a restaurant, they have to provide talking without actually saying any identifiable words. It’s particularly important as many countries, especially Germany, will block any films that have identifiable English in the sound files. These background vocals are known as “walla”.

That is from Michael Farnan in the comments.

Those old service sector jobs

At Fountain Court Chambers in central London, the senior clerk is called Alex Taylor. A trim, bald 54-year-old who favors Italian suiting, Taylor isn’t actually named Alex. Traditionally in English law, should a newly hired clerk have the same Christian name as an existing member of the staff, he’s given a new one, allegedly to avoid confusion on the telephone. During his career, Taylor has been through no fewer than three names. His birth certificate reads “Mark.” When he first got to Fountain Court in 1979, the presence of another Mark saw him renamed John. Taylor remained a John through moves to two other chambers. Upon returning to Fountain Court, in 2008, he became Alex. At home his wife still calls him Mark.

Alex/John/Mark Taylor belongs to one of the last surviving professions of Dickensian London. Clerks have co-existed with chimney sweeps and gene splicers. It’s a trade that one can enter as a teenager, with no formal qualifications, and that’s astonishingly well-paid. A senior clerk can earn a half-million pounds per year, or more than $650,000, and some who are especially entrenched make far more.

Clerks—pronounced “clarks”—have no equivalent in the U.S. legal system, and have nothing in common with the Ivy League–trained Supreme Court aides of the same spelling.

Here is the full story, interesting throughout, via the excellent Samir Varma.

*Bull Shit Jobs: A Theory*

That is the new and entertaining book by David Graeber, probably you already have heard of it.  Here is a brief summary.

Coming from academia, I am sympathetic to the view that not everyone is productive, or has a productive job. And my ongoing series “Those new service sector jobs…” is in part reflecting the wonder of the market in providing so many obscure services, but also in part a genuine moral query as to how many of these activities actually are worthwhile.  You are supposed to have mixed feelings when reading those entries, just as with “Markets in Everything.”

Still, I think Graeber too often confuses “tough jobs in negative- or zero-sum games” with “bullshit jobs.”  I view those as two quite distinct categories.  Overall he presents the five types of bullshit jobs as flunkies, goons, duct tapers, box tickers, and taskmasters, but he spends too much time trying to lower the status of these jobs and not enough time investigating what happens when those jobs go away.

He doubts whether Oxford University needs “a dozen-plus” PR specialists.  I would be surprised if they can get by with so few.  Consider their numerous summer programs, their need to advertise admissions, how they talk to the media and university rating services, their relations with China, the student lawsuits they face, their need to manage relations with Oxford the political unit, and the multiple independent schools within Oxford, just for a start.  Overall, I fear that Graeber’s managerial intelligence is not up to par, or at the very least he rarely convinces me that he has a superior organizational understanding, compared to people who deal with these problems every day.

A simple experiment would vastly improve this book and make for a marvelous case study chapter: let him spend a year managing a mid-size organization, say 60-80 employees, but one which does not have an adequately staffed HR department, or perhaps does not have an HR department at all.  Then let him report back to us.

At that point we’ll see who really has the bullshit job.

Those old (ZMP) service sector jobs

Austrian hermit edition:

An Austrian town is looking to employ someone to live in a hermitage that has no heating nor running water in what appears to be one of the worst jobs in the world.

Saalfelden in the state of Salzburg is looking for a candidate to move into a 350-year-old building, that is built into a cliff-face, to meet and greet Christian pilgrims who frequent the site’s chapel for prayer and self reflection.

Local resident Alois Moser and Saalfelden’s mayor Erich Rohrmoser, will select the new hermit and have told a radio station the traits they are looking for in their new employee.

Moser told state broadcaster ORF that they want ‘a self-sufficient person who is at peace with their self, and willing to talk to people, but not to impose’.

He also said the successful candidate should have a Christian outlook and be ready to greet visiting pilgrims and locals who make their way up the steep cliff face to the house.

The chosen candidate will be selected more on the basis of personality than training and professional experience but will need to be prepared to live without a computer and television, job specifications say.

The parish have stressed the position, which runs from April to November each year, is unpaid despite the sacrifices one would have to make when accepting the post.

Although it appears to be an unattractive proposition the role was has been widely coveted in the past.

Here is the full story, via the excellent Mark Thorson.

“In a data-chic world, a chief economist is the new marketing must-have.”

The rest of the WaPo story, by Lydia DePillis, is here.  Here is one excerpt:

The market for consumer-facing economists is certainly getting crowded. Big Internet companies have had chief economists for years now; Google’s Hal Varian is an oft-quoted exponent of his employer’s capabilities and worldview. Microsoft recently hired Yahoo’s former chief economist to push a more “data-driven culture” at the tech dinosaur.

But they’re not just looking for super-wonks. More importantly for Richardson, rival real estate sites Zillow, Trulia, and CoreLogic have offered their chief economists as media-friendly talking heads, always available to explain national trends: Stan Humphries, Jed Kolko, and Mark Fleming have essentially become their companies’ most visible employees, speaking at conferences and testifying on Capitol Hill. That’s why’s recent listing for a chief economist includes the following in its job description: “Act as the face of the company with key journalists for both print and tv interviews with leading publications,” “work closely with our PR and branding teams,” and have “excellent stage presence.”

File under “Those New Service Sector Jobs.”

What does the new gdp report imply for structural explanations of our current troubles?

How should we revise structural interpretations of unemployment in light of the new gdp revisions?  (For summaries, here are a few economists’ reactions to the report.)  Just to review briefly, I find the most plausible structural interpretations of the recent downturn to be based in the “we thought we were wealthier than we were” mechanism, leading to excess enthusiasm, excess leverage, and an eventual series of painful contractions, both AS and AD-driven, to correct the previous mistakes.  I view this hypothesis as the intersection of Fischer Black, Hyman Minsky, and Michael Mandel.

A key result of the new numbers is that we had been overestimating productivity growth during a period when it actually was feeble.  That is not only consistent with this structural view but it plays right into it:  the high productivity growth of 2007-2009 now turns out to be an illusion and indeed the structural story all along was suggesting we all had illusions about the ongoing rate of productivity growth.  As of even a mere few days ago, some of those illusions were still up and running (are they all gone now?  I doubt it.)

On one specific, it is quite possible that the new numbers diminish the relevance of the zero marginal product (ZMP) worker story.  The ZMP worker story tries to match the old data, which showed a lot of layoffs and skyrocketing per hour labor productivity in the very same or immediately succeeding quarters.  Those numbers, taken literally, imply that the laid off workers were either producing very little to begin with or they were producing for the more distant future, a’la the Garett Jones hypothesis.  The new gdp numbers will imply less of a boom in per hour labor productivity in the period when people are fired in great numbers, though I would be surprised if the final adjustments made this initially stark effect go away.  BLS estimates from June 2011 still show quite a strong ZMP effect, although you can argue the final numbers for that series are not yet in.  (I don’t see the relevant quarterly adjustments for per hour labor productivity in the new report, which comes from Commerce, not the BLS.)  Furthermore there is plenty of evidence that the unemployed face “discrimination” when trying to find a new job.  Finally, the strange and indeed relatively new countercyclicality of labor productivity also occurred in the last two recessions and it survived various rounds of data revisions.  It would be premature — in the extreme — to conclude we’ve simply had normal labor market behavior in this last recession.  That’s unlikely to prove the result.

Most generally, the ZMP hypothesis tries to rationalize an otherwise embarrassing fact for the structural hypothesis, namely high measured per hour labor productivity in recent crunch periods.  If somehow that measure were diminished, that helps the structural story, though it would make ZMP less necessary as an auxiliary hypothesis, some would say fudge.

Other parts of the structural story find ready support in the revisions.  Real wealth has fallen and so consumers have much less interest in wealth-elastic goods and services.  This shows up most visibly in state and local government employment, which has fallen sharply since the beginning of the recession.  Rightly or wrongly, consumers/voters view paying for these jobs as a luxury and so their number has been shrinking.  Construction employment is another structural issue, and given the negative wealth effect, and the disruption of previously secure plans, there is no reason to expect excess labor demand in many sectors.

In the new report “profits before tax” are revised upward for each year.  That further supports the idea of a whammy falling disproportionately on labor and the elimination of some very low product laborers.

Measured real rates of return remain negative, which is very much consistent with a structural story.  Multi-factor productivity remains miserably low.  In my view, a slow recovery was in the cards all along.  Finally, you shouldn’t take any of this to deny the joint significance of AD problems; AS and AD problems have very much compounded each other.

*Winner-Take-All Politics*, the new book by Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson

That's the new book by Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson.  I have a different take on the main argument, but this is an important book for raising some of the key questions of our time.  I would recommend that people read it and give it serious thought.  The writing style is also clear and accessible.  Two of the key arguments are:

1. Skill-based technological change is overrated as a cause of growing income inequality among the top earners.

2. "The guilty party is American politics."

You'll find an article-length version of some of the Hacker-Pierson argument here, although the book covers much more.

I agree with #1, so let me explain why my take on #2 differs:

1. Median income starts stagnating in 1973 and income inequality starts exploding in 1984, according to the authors.  However, I consider this a "long" time gap for the question under consideration, namely whether there is a direct causal relation and whether people at the top are using politics to skim from people further below in the income distribution.  Furthermore income growth stagnates around 1973 for many countries, not just the United States, and most of those countries never experienced the subsequent "inequality boom" of the Anglosphere.  If they avoided the later inequality, why didn't they also avoid the stagnation?  The discussion of the causal issues here isn't convincing and the authors' hypothesis is not compared to alternatives or tested against possible disconfirming evidence.  

2. There is a lot of talk of unions, but I could concede various points and that's still just a ten to fifteen percent one-time wage premium, when workers are unionized.  It won't much explain persistent changes in growth rates over time, whether for the top one percent or the slow income growth at the median.  Furthermore the main U.S. sectors are harder to usefully unionize than, say, Canada's mineral and resource wealth or Europe's manufacturing.

3. The authors underestimate the role of finance in driving the growth in income inequality.  Their p.46 shows a graph suggesting that non-financial professionals are 40.8% of the top 0.1 percent.  Maybe so, but the key question is what percentage of income those professionals account for.  The Kaplan and Rauh paper, not cited in this book, suggests a central role for finance.  In 2007 the top 5 hedge fund earners pulled in more income than all the CEOs of the S&P 500 put together.  On top of that, some "non-financial" incomes are driven by financial market trading, such as in energy or commodity companies.  And a lot of top-earning lawyers are doing financial deals, etc.

Turn to Table 7 of the paper cited by the authors, p.56 here.  The "non-financial" category still looks bigger but it's incomes in the finance category which grow most rapidly and Bakija and Heim suggest that stock options and asset price movements account for a big share of the growth in "non-financial" incomes.  My view is that the increasing liquidity of financial markets drove much of the trend, which was distributed across both the "non-financial" and the "financial" sector.  If liquid financial markets allow a privately-owned warehouse company to buy a trucking company on the cheap, and profit greatly (plus the managers pull in a lot), I am calling that a financial markets development, even though it's in the "non-financial" sector.

4. Let's say the story at the top is mostly one of finance.  You could describe that as: "some change in financial markets led to rapid income growth for the top earners and politics did nothing about that."  Fair enough.  But it's still a big leap from that claim to portraying politics as the active force behind the change.  Politics was only the allowing force and I don't think there was much of a conspiracy, even if various wealthy figures did push for deregulation or more importantly an absence of new regulation.  I also don't think anybody was expecting incomes at the top to rise at the rates they did; it was a kind of pleasant surprise for the top earners to be so lucratively rewarded.  So the major change is left unexplained, for the most part, and the whole story is then shifted onto the passive actor, namely the public sector, which is elevated to a major causal role which it does not deserve.

5. pp.47-51 the authors talk about tax rates.  If we had kept earlier high marginal rates, the top earners would not have received nearly so much and also they would not have worked so hard.  Maybe so, yet this won't much explain the stagnating pre-tax incomes at the median and it doesn't fit very well into the overall story, unless you wish to make a complicated "lower tax revenue, lower quality public services, MP of the median earner goes down" sort of story. 

6. If the top earners are screwing over their wage earners in the big companies, by pulling in excess wages, options, and perks, we should observe non-stagnant median pay for people who avoid working in firms with fat cat CEOs.  Or we should observe talented lower-tier workers fleeing the big corporations, to keep their wages up.  Yet no evidence for these predictions is given, nor are the predictions considered.  It is likely that the predictions are false.

7. To the extent the high incomes at the top come through capital markets, it is either value created or a transfer/redistribution.  You can argue over the percentages, but to the extent it is the former it is not at the expense of the median.  To the extent it is the latter, the losers will be other investors, not the median earner or household, who does not hold much in the way of stock (lower pension fund returns don't count in the measure of median stagnation).

8. What follows p.72 is an engaging, readable progressive history of recent American politics, but the economic foundations of the underlying story have not been pinned down.

9. In my view, most likely we have two largely separate phenomena: a) median wage growth slows in 1973 because technology stagnates in some regards, and b) liquid financial markets, in various detailed ways, allow people with resources to earn a lot more than before.  Politics may well play a role in each development, but with respect to b) its role has been largely passively, rather than architectural and driving.

Anyway, I found it a very useful book for organizing my thoughts on these topics.

Addendum: Matt Yglesias comments.

Do we find sectoral shifts in the job market data?

Menzie Chinn discusses the evidence on sectoral shifts hypotheses.  See also the piece by Valletta and Cleary.

These are intriguing and useful studies but I don't think they get at the core of the matter, mostly because sectoral shifts and aggregate demand shocks are so closely intertwined in this recession.

Here's a very simple story.  The prices of homes and stocks fall, plus there is some panic, so people spend less.  On the surface, that's an AD story, following from an economy-wide negative wealth effect.  But it's also a sectoral shifts story, because people are not cutting spending proportionately on all items.  For instance luxury consumption and debt-financed consumption have been hit especially hard, not to mention real estate and financial services (for other reasons).  And since I do not expect a quick rebound of real estate or stock prices, this is more or less a permanent change in sectoral priorities.  Still, in the data the AD shock might well absorb most of the "credit" for what happened.

We're also seeing job losses in virtually every sector.  It's not for instance a "sectoral shift away from services and into matchstick production and tungsten."  It's a shift out of jobs which are revealed as unprofitable and a lot of people not knowing where the new jobs will be created.

If someone wants to insist that "this is really an AD shock, not a sectoral shift," I'm not so keen on fighting to keep one term over the other.  I would insist, however, on an issue of substance, namely that not all AD shocks are alike.  If we are going to switch terminology, it could be said that this is a real AD shock and not just a nominal AD shock.  (Though there have been nominal AD shocks too.)  A nominal AD shock can be offset more easily by goosing up some mix of M and V and restoring the previous level of nominal demand.  If you want an example of a nominal AD shock, imagine a more neutral change in monetary variables and indeed those have happened in the postwar era.  Or read David Hume's parable of the money under the pillow.  In those cases you don't need to make people feel wealthier in real terms, you just need to get the flow of spending up again.  Today, part of the problem is that people feel less wealthy in real terms and that influences the content of their spending and investment decisions.

When a real AD shock comes, policy still should be expansionary in response, but there is an important difference.  In absolute terms, nominal expansion won't much help the labor market, which still has to reallocate workers from some sectors to others, given the collapse in asset prices and expectations.

You'll see indirect recognition of this from many current Keynesian writers, when they talk of the jobless recovery or fear that the economy will fall back next year after the stimulus money runs out.  In general I agree with those points.  Yet these writers are less willing to consider the implied conclusion that a bigger stimulus won't much help — and may hurt — the longer-run adjustments which are required.  Boosting MV will restore employment only to a very limited extent.  It's still the case that recovery will require a great deal of sectoral readjustment and that will take a good bit of time.

Arnold Kling comments as well.  And again.

How do/would unions differ in service industries?

Most unions are found in manufacturing, but the new pro-union arguments emphasize the creation of unions in service industries.  I can think of a few differences between manufacturing and services:

1. Labor costs are more important in service industries, so unions have less scope to raise wages.  This is Megan McArdle’s argument.

2. There is more long-term fixed capital in manufacturing, and that gives unions greater scope to confiscate those quasi-rents.  This is related to #1.  (In a service industry, would the transfer be taken away from the return to brand name capital?)

3. On average there is more market power in manufacturing, which again gives unions greater room to raise wages in those sectors.  In a perfectly competitive industries, extra wage demands will bankrupt the firm. 

4. Many service sector firms face less foreign competition, but I believe they nonetheless face more competition overall.  Lower fixed costs mean a more competitive industry, which brings us back to #3.

5. Jobs have shorter duration in service industries, which tightens the link between wages and the current state of the labor market.  That also means a smaller role for unions.

6. We have a mental model of service sector companies such as Wal-Mart, which try to get by on the cheap in labor markets.  It is harder to make the same claim about General Motors.

The bottom line: Except for #6, most of the effects imply that unions will be less effective in the service sector.  You’ll all think of some mechanisms I didn’t, but my tentative conclusion is that unions bring both lower costs and lower benefits in service industries.

I might add I once belonged to a service sector union, in a supermarket as a teen.  It was not a pretty picture.  I paid high dues and received no apparent benefit, relative to the workers in non-unionized supermarkets.  I even heard rumors of corruption.

Wednesday assorted links

1. New books expected out in the latter half of 2022.

2. 1960s British kids predict the year 2000.

3. Those new service sector jobs (and their pay).

4. “Harvard researchers account for about 5 percent of articles published in the top four medical journals, a larger share than Germany or Canada as a whole.

5. Carbon from the Congo? (New Yorker)  There might be lots of it.

6. FT coverage of famine in Madagascar.

Wednesday assorted links

1. New non-profit for geothermal energy.

2. New Allison Schrager podcast, first episode with Joel Mokyr.

3. Who owns the publicity rights to Einstein?

4. Yann LeCun on AI risks.  And why (some) octopus mothers self-mutilate and kill themselves.

5. “The subscribers presumably think they’re talking directly to the woman in the videos, and it is the job of the chatter to convincingly manifest that illusion.” (NYT, those new service sector jobs)

6. Virginia Postrel has a new Substack.

7. Mihm on the Henry Ford parallel (Bloomberg).

8. Results of the UFO hearings.