Markets Change; Jobs Get Cut… But New Opportunities Open Up

from the don't-fret dept

It seems with the various industries we talk about that are under pressure — such as newspapers or record labels — people are extra concerned about lost jobs due to changes in the market. Not surprisingly, those at risk find the whole thing very unfair, and often lash out at some of the causes of the changes, but it’s quite natural for jobs to go away when markets change. What’s left out is the fact that those same changes almost always tend to create or enable many new jobs. Jack Shafer, over at Slate, is pointing out that journalists and newspaper execs shouldn’t necessarily bemoan the loss of jobs in the industry, noting a long list of other industries where market changes meant a massive loss of jobs at one time or another, and no one’s really complaining about the death of the slide-rule industry. So the next time you hear someone complaining about job losses in an older industry, feel free to note just how many new jobs were created thanks to the same tools (these days, often the internet) that caused that market shift in the first place.

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Comments on “Markets Change; Jobs Get Cut… But New Opportunities Open Up”

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Mike (profile) says:

Re: Seriously?

You’re comparing an industry that probably employed 1000 people (if that) at it’s peak (slide rule industry) with an industry that probably employs hundreds of people in every newspaper market?

Um. That was just a single example. You want others? How about the telephone operator business. Remember when you had to reach an operator to have them make a phone call for you?

Yes, let’s bemoan the fact that all of those folks are out of work…

Except, oh wait, that opened up a TON of new jobs. Many more new jobs in fact.

That’s the point.

Blatant Coward says:


Buggy whip handle makers, coopers, semaphorist, saddlers, ice men, book binder (individual leather tomes, not a guy running a press binder used today), printer’s devil, teletype operator, candle maker, slate roofer, wheelwright, joiner/cabinet maker, nailsmith, ropemaker, rag picker, felter, hosiery mill worker, lighthouse keeper.

Are there still jobs for these professions? Yes, could they still be called an industry in America anymore? not in my part of the country.

gene_cavanaugh (user link) says:

Jobs in the Present Economy

I was a union member before I went back to school and got my degrees, and still feel strongly about worker’s rights.
However, on the flip side, during the artificial “good times” following World War Twice, all of us (most noticeably execs in the corporate world, but again, all of us) became very spoiled.
We are now at the point where the pay for workers, compared to equivalent workers elsewhere, cannot be sustained. When a person with a high school diploma can make six figures working for the auto industry, the auto industry is on its way out – it is simply a question of time.
True, Congress can step in (usually in exchange for lobbyist favors, unfortunately) but as Michael Masnick points out, propping up a failed business model makes things worse, in the long term.

News Fan says:

I do mourn for the newspaper industry. No amount of internet searching is as satisfying as sitting down and reading a physical newspaper that has more in-depth reporting.

Too many people trust all of the “news” that can be found on the internet. Much of it is rumor and innuendo without any type of fact checking going on.

Its not lost jobs, but lost accuracy that is problematic.

And please – a bit of compassion for people losing jobs during any type of transition. Try a bit of humanity.

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