I think that Karl Smith is onto something in his recent posts analyzing the evolution of employment in our economy, first in the recession and recovery, then going back earlier and charting that development since 1939, and finally with a log graph since 1970.
Writing about the recession and recovery he observes:
Here I basically split the labor market into two parts: Goods and Government and everything else.
Everything else hit a wall in 2008 but as you can see it was a nice natural V. It was not even the job-less U of 2000. And since the beginning of 2010 everything else has been growing just as fast as the last recovery. As we moved into 2012 job growth seems to be speeding up faster than anything we saw last time around.
The difference this time was goods and government. To cut it down to the micro-level I like we are largely talking about construction workers, metal and automotive workers, and school teachers.
See, in particular, this graph. However, as I’ve said before in other contexts this analysis is a bit like a fan dancer’s fan: while apparently revealing it’s actually concealing. Rather than the dichotomy that Dr. Smith illustrates, I’d really like to see three growth series: goods and government, healthcare spending, and everything else.