Study Shows Businesses Weren't Cutting Jobs Until...

-By Warner Todd Huston

The Associated Press made an interesting concession — likely without even knowing they did so — in a recent report on the “new normal” of permanent job loss in Obama’s economy. The AP admitted that until the recession, American businesses weren’t firing people simply so improve the bottom line as many anti-business, left-wingers have been for decades claiming.

In the AP piece the headline moans that “Millions of jobs that were cut won’t likely return,” and goes on to say that “millions of jobs lost in the recession could be gone for good.”

It’s all pretty dismal news, but tucked inside the piece was this interesting paragraph:

Behind the trend are the cutbacks businesses made in the recession to make up for a loss of customers. To sustain earnings, they became more productive: They found ways to produce the same level of goods or services with fewer workers. Automation, global competition and technological efficiencies helped solidify the trend.

Well, let’s just think a minute about what this paragraph is saying, shall we?

The AP is saying that the cutbacks in jobs made by businesses were made due to the continuing Obama recession. This seems to admit that the millions of jobs cut were not being made before — as we know by looking at the low unemployment rates between 2000 and 2008.

The paragraph then informs us that businesses realized after they made the cuts that they could do without the workers they once had. They discovered that fewer workers, automation, and efficiency measures maintained quality outcome and sustained changes in the marketplace.

But what is this really saying that was left unsaid? This is no less a tacit admission that the claim made by the anti-capitalist, anti-business left is wholly wrong. Haven’t we heard for decades from the left that business is uncaring toward its employees? Aren’t daily bombarded with the idea that the “fatcat bosses” of business haughtily dismiss the needs of workers and fire them at will just to save a buck or two?

Well, this whole lefty meme seems to be upended by this paragraph in the APs story, doesn’t it? After all, this paragraph is saying that business only now, in this Obama recession, have realized that the loss of jobs hasn’t negatively affected the business. This is saying that business had millions of unnecessary employees until this Obama recession. This means that until now there have been millions of unnecessary positions fully staffed and paid for by the same businesses that lefties claimed didn’t care about making sure workers had jobs and that the only thing that forced them to finally fire all these people was the Obama recession!

So, perhaps all this time the business community that Obama and his cohorts say is so uncaring were floating the cost of millions of jobs that they didn’t really need to fund! And it was the Obama recession that got them to realize that they could fire them all without hurting their businesses.

That sure doesn’t fit the lefty narrative, does it? Like I said, my guess is that the AP didn’t even realize what they themselves had published.


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  • The fact that you refer to this as the Obama recession, when the crash came prior to him taking office makes this entire piece unreadable.

    Also, while numerous employers have cut back, what are the long term impacts of over working employees? Sure making one person do 3 jobs might provide a short term improvement in the bottom llne, but what are the long term consequences? I would argue this leads to increased turnover, resulting in even more costs for businesses to hire and train new employees.

  • In reply to Dmband:

    Obama made it all far, far worse.

    On your second point, I cannot say your idea there is wrong, for sure. I, too, have been wondering what the long term effects on the increased workload on the remaining employees might mean for the future.

  • In reply to Dmband:

    Mr. Huston-

    I can only comment on my own personal experience. I work for a company that has adopted that philosophy and I have seen a large number of employees moving to other organizations. However, if the ecomony continues to wobble back and forth this also may become increasingly difficult as employers are hesitant to hire based on uncertainty.

    One thing I would conceed, the regulartory reform being proposed has contributed to this uncertainty. While I believe this is a necessity (the reform) it would be nice to have clearer picture of what the future looks like if and when its passed.

  • In reply to Dmband:

    I too wish we could get that "clearer picture." I think the federal govt's interference in the market place is exactly why we have such a muddy picture in the first place, though. In fact, this whole economic collapse is the fault of the federal govt, chiefly the profligate Democrat Party.

    Still, on a side note, my biggest complaint about this whole situation is that it is not shared equally between the private and public sector. Govt workers have hit the jackpot with their undeserved, permanent jobs, retiring at 50 or so, having million dollar pensions and WE are paying for it all.

    Now THOSE are some people that deserve to be fired!

  • In reply to Dmband:

    Clearly we have differing idealogies. While I wouldnt debate your second point regarding the difference between the public and private sector, I think its quite foolish to assume that the Democratic Party is wholly responsible for the invterventions in the marketplace. The original stimulus bill was proposed by the Bush administration and supported by BOTH parties and candidates, orginally.

  • In reply to Dmband:

    To be clear, I don't merely blame the Dems. The GOP sat idly by letting them do so for the last 30 years. So, I am with you that both are to blame. And the first "stimulus" (that wasn't one, just like the subsequent ones that were just government bailouts for other governments) was one I stood against with Bush. I think that this was the capper to his mess of a last term. It should never, ever have happened. The "stimulus" was a sham meant to pay off union thugs, and shore up over spent local governments ALL of which were profligate spenders that got themselves in this mess in the first place.

    So, I do not solely blame Dems. I blame them both, maybe not equally, but enough so that quibbling over it doesn't matter.

    But, let's be honest, it is a path to hell paved by the failed presidency of FDR that started it. We are soon to arrive at the logical conclusion of modern liberalism: collapse both in culture and economy.

  • In reply to Dmband:

    Depends on who's culture you are referring to. Some might argue that modern liberalism is the only entity giving their culture a voice and outlet, so I disagree with you there.

  • In reply to Dmband:

    True, indeed. But, you see, modern liberalism is not an American culture. It is a European one. So, while many misguided Americans may look to the Euro-left as their form of culture, it is not one that I'd in any way miss should it go away. I work every day to eliminate that cancer in America. It's the whole purpose for my blogging in the first place.

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