Tuesday, May 09, 2006

The Myth of Service Jobs

I hear all the time how we are becoming a nation of burger flippers. Cafe Hayek has the ultimate rebutal:

But because "domestic service" jobs sound so lamentable, Roberts -- who for several years now has predicted that free trade is impoverishing America -- wants to report that a large percentage of newly created jobs are in "domestic services." To achieve this gloomy-sounding result, Roberts classifies jobs in education and health-care as domestic-service jobs – so careers such as teaching computer science at MIT and working as an anesthesiologist at the Mayo Clinic are in “domestic service.”

I’m sure he’d defend his use of the term “domestic service” by saying that he means jobs in which services are provided domestically – face-to-face, mostly. And to this defense, I’d respond “So what?” So what if most jobs created are in services?

Service-sector jobs are the most desirable. Until his retirement, my dad had a manufacturing job: he worked as a welder in a shipyard. Like most parents, his dream was for his children to become doctors or lawyers and the like -- that is, he longed for his children to work in the service sector. Ever hear a parent say “I want my boy to grow up to be a pipe-fitter!” or “My dream is for little Suzy one day to operate her very own sewing machine in a clothing factory!”?