The Myth of “Full Employment”

The Myth of “Full Employment”, by Paul Craig Roberts.

Toyota Motor Company advertised the availability of 1,000 new jobs associated with moving its North American headquarters from southern California to Texas and received 100,000 applications. Where did these applications come from when the US has “full employment?”

Clearly, the US does not have full employment. The US has an extremely low rate of labor force participation, because there are no jobs to be had, and discouraged workers who cannot find jobs are not measured in the unemployment rate. Not measuring the unemployed is the basis of the low reported unemployment rate.

The response of politicians and bureaucrats throughout the West to the unemployment that started after the economic stagflation of the 1970s (which, not coincidentally, followed the adoption of a fully-paper currency, having cut all links to anything tangible) was to change the way unemployment statistics are counted. In Australia today, you are “employed” if you work as little as an hour a week. But in the early 1970s you needed to work pretty much full time to be counted as “employed”.