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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Do the "Jobs" Arithmetic: Trump Calls for 19 million Immigrants

mike smitka

In the first presidential candidate debate Donald Trump proposed creating 25 million jobs. Now currently 152 million people are employed in the US, out of a potential labor force of 156 million. Yes, we're short – by 4 million jobs. Now because of baby boomer retirements and lower birth rates over the past 20 years, the size of the potential labor force will rise to only 158 million by February 2021. So while he could oversee an economy that creates 6 million additional jobs, the only way to add 25 million new jobs would be to bring in 19 million working-age adults from outside the US. Yes, Trump must be pro-immigration.

...Trump can only add 25 mil jobs by bringing in 19 mil immigrants...

There are other, less palatable alternatives, such as instituting a draft of all 22 million youth of high-school age. Since relatively few of them work or have family responsibilities, that could get him to the 25 million level.

So let's assume instead that he's not engaged in sophistry but is instead being sophisticated. That is, he's arguing about GROSS job creation, not net new jobs. In 2016, on a monthly basis about 5 million people leave their jobs, voluntarily or otherwise, and 5.1-5.2 million people are hired, in what to those individuals are new jobs. Then all Mr. Trump proposes is 5 months hires at the normal rate. Using this metric, over 4 years he needs to create not 25 million but 250 million jobs.

Now does everything Secretary Clinton has said on the economy during her decades of public life make sense? Unlikely! We all spout nonsense on occasion. But she does have staff, listens to them, and mainly gets things right. Once Trump proposes actual policies, I'll look at her proposals. But so far all he has are sound bites that don't add up.


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