The unemployment rate may be down, but it’s hard to know if the economy is actually getting better. And it’s even harder to know if the economy is getting better for you. Recovery isn’t even across the board, which is why Justin Fox broke it down in a simple chart that asks “Who’s Been Hiring? (And Who Hasn’t)."
It’s an enlightening portrait of our economy. Starting in 1980, it charts how many jobs have existed across the six main job categories--government, manufacturing, services, retail, leisure/hospitality, and education/health--as well as a few others like construction, financial activities, and information. Numbers were taken from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The narrative is mostly the same across industries. There’s general growth for decades, until 2008/2009 when the lines plummet--well, all but one. From Fox:
The most remarkable line in the chart is education and health services, which just keeps rising and rising, paying no mind whatsoever to the rest of the economy. This is mostly about health care, which accounts for 70% of the jobs in the category and has been adding them much faster than the educational sector. It’s also an understatement, as employment at public schools and government-owned hospitals shows up in the government category.
Seeing such data, it’s no surprise that every major design studio we talk to today seems to be working on health care projects of some sort. (Now mentally compare 30 years of health care’s meteoric job creation with its infrastructural stagnation.)
For a deeper dive into our economy, Fox shares a lot more thoughts and charts over at Harvard Business Review.