While many have cited job growth as being key to the economy continuing to recover, Forbes’ Kenneth Fisher says that’s “rubbish”.
“When I was born, in 1950, manufacturing jobs were nearly a quarter of all U.S. jobs,” Fisher writes. “Now they’re just 9%. Do you want to make things like we did back then?”
“It’s called productivity,” Fisher adds. “It was in the 1920 census that we first saw fewer than a third of Americans working on farms. But now we grow infinitely more food, and we are massive net exporters, with some 1 million jobs. Farming makes up 0.7% of our labor force. Want to return to 1920 or 1950? Would it help to take all the Occupy folks and make them harvest corn? That would only hurt output.”
Technological advancements have let businesses do more with less in recent decades — and that’s good, Fisher contends. “There is no magic pill for productivity, but if we continue to innovate as we have been it will mean more output with fewer jobs in the future,” he says. “In the long run we will all benefit.”
Fisher highlights stocks of five companies that he says are “global exploiters”. These firms will “produce a lot more with a lot fewer jobs” in coming decades, he says. Among them: Vodafone.