Re: Jobs, wealth, and change -- more reasons for optimism

Subject: Re: Jobs, wealth, and change -- more reasons for optimism
From: "Richard G. Combs" <richard -dot- combs -at- voyanttech -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 14 Nov 2003 08:35:17 -0700

Chuck Martin wrote:

<snip> According to the quoted figures, the number of people employed in the
> in the past 23 years, from 1980 to 2003, has risen from 91 million to 130
> million. What's missing? How about (a) the total number of people in the
> U.S. during those same years and (b) the total number of people who are
> capable of working during those years. Without knowing these numbers, the
> quotes numbers are meaningless.</snip>

Good point. Although, mind you, it's an op-ed, not a scholarly essay. There
are space constraints and the editor's desire to avoid the "my eyes glazed
over" syndrome to consider. :-)

>From the Bureau of Labor Statistics (

Civilian Labor Force Participation Rate (employment/labor force):
1980 (annual) -- 63.8% 2003 (Oct.) -- 66.1%
Over the 23 years, the annual rate varied between 63.8 and 67.1%.

Employment/Population Ratio (employment/population (age 16+):
1983 (annual) -- 59.2% 2003 (Oct.) -- 62.4%
Over the 20 years, the annual rate varied between 57.9 and 64.4%.

In both cases, the percentage generally grew during the 80s, dropped
slightly in the early 90s, grew again in the late 90s, and then dropped
slightly in the last 2-3 years. But the range of variation is actually
pretty small.

So the percentage of the overall population and the percentage of the work
force that's employed has _grown_ in those 23 years, not fallen as you

<snip> Where is the rest of the story, and why as _technical_ communicators
> we see that part of this story is missing? My optimism suffers when I see
> that people accept offered information without question. </snip>

Hope I've put your mind at ease. ;-) As technical communicators, we should
also know that you can't anticipate every possible question or provide every
bit of information available. And we should know how to find out more from
readily-available sources.

<snip> P.S. Links that go to sites that require payment or registration
should be
> identified as such in thei source. </snip>

My humble apologies. I've been registered (free) for the NYTimes for several
years, and a cookie makes it unnecessary for me to log in, so I just plain


Richard G. Combs
Senior Technical Writer
Voyant Technologies, Inc.
richardDOTcombs AT voyanttechDOTcom
rgcombs AT freeDASHmarketDOTnet



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