Post by firstname.lastname@example.org Post by J. Clarke Post by email@example.com Post by Robert Carnegie
Low unemployment statistics don't always mean that
people have jobs. They can mean that the definition
of "unemployment" is not exactly what you think.
For instance, people out of work more than a year
may be deleted.
I don't know how statistical data is analysed and collected in USA. But everyone wanting too work should be able to find a job.
How do you determine that someone wants to work?
I don't have the necessary expertise to definitively answer this question. My guess, you could survey unemployed people, or look at data from employment agencies. If a person has recently applied for a job, than he is probably looking for work, and hence wants to work.
The US uses a survey model. I posted links in my answer to Robert.
Post by firstname.lastname@example.org Post by J. Clarke Post by email@example.com
For example, if we assume that in a nation 2% of population are unable to find good jobs in the private sector, the government can give them jobs in technology or infrastructure projects for the government. If tax revenue is 30% of GDP, we can raise it to about 33% of GDP to cover wage expenses.
What are they going to be doing on these technology or infrastructure
This is just a hypothetical example. People who have the right training can do scientific and technological research. People with other skills can do jobs to renew infrastructure, like building bridges, or repairing roads.
Robert's example of people being used as unskilled laborers - navvies,
coolies, etc. - to build public works, where construction equipment
would be more cost efficient, faster, and, I would think, safer, would
be one consideration. Building stuff just to employ people can be wasteful
of resources and damaging to the environment.
Training people to use modern tech is expensive, and guessing wrong
about what skills will be needed by the time the trainees can be
certified as competent enough to be hired is difficult.
Post by firstname.lastname@example.org
From my understanding, investment in R&D and infrastructure is critical
for the health of the long term economy.
30 years ago, a plan to use an army of unemployed as the "wire pullers"
to make sure every Indian household would be connected to the electrical
grid and to an internet service provider might have been technically feasible.
It also might have been ruinously expensive. Tech has leapfrogged the need
to string copper wire or even fiber-optic cable to remote villages. Cell
signal towers and mobile phones are doing the second job. Great progress
has been made on the first, but there is still work to do.
Now, who among the unemployed have enough skills to finish that job,
or could learn quickly enough, and would the organizations already
doing this work be able to absorb them?
One field of public works that might be labor-intensive, but also
require skills, is environmental remediation.
I could see an alliance of government agencies, insurance companies,
real estate firms and investors coming up with schemes to make
land treated poorly in the past safely usable for the future.
Cleaning up sources of polluted water would help folks, too.
This is often not easy. Sometimes the best one can do is
encapsulate a riverbed after dredging it, as it is nearly
impossible to remove all the dangerous chemicals, as in the
case of New York's Hudson River.
Even much simpler jobs, like restoring wetlands, take trained
Labor is needed for public works, but it is usually _trained_
labor that is needed. Technology is reducing the need for workers
who offer a willing attitude, a strong back and not much else.
Assessing the skills of an unemployed person who has worked in
an industry that has undergone technical changes to opportunities
in other fields isn't always easy, and there are a lot of likely
candidates chasing those jibs.
I speak as someone who was a "csasualty" of "disintermediation"* in
book retailing. I've spent the last 10 years doing customer service
work for a company that ships for several firms who operate web-based
stores, catalogs, or solicit business via direct mail. Except for the
vendors who have managed from time to time to get their items placed
in some major brick and mortar stores and/or with Amazon, we don't
have to deal with the 20th century sales model.
Part of my old job included filling orders for catalog sales,
and orders placed on our website, so I wasn't completely untrained
for my "new" position. But not everyone who thrived in the old
system is flexible enough to make the transition.
It is very easy to declare "all who want jobs shall have them!"
It is much tougher to make that even close to true.