The Economy of a Timecard. Or: How to create 100,000+ jobs literally overnight.

So, I work at a small print shop. Print shops are a dying breed and as much as I love my job, I am not stupid enough to believe that I my job will exist when I reach retirement age in 40 years or so.

As I work, I like to think about the future of every job we do. Why is the Certain Bank ordering more and more paper bank statement blanks when people are constantly turning to electronic banking (I think they’re nuts, myself, but that’s another discussion that can’t be had publicly)? Is another company using more or less of their invoice blanks? Are the shipyards using more or less timecards?

It’s the timecards that I find the most fascinating because it seems like they’d save so much money if they switched to electronic payroll options. There are a lot of jobs associated with timecards:

There are the people who make the paper. The folks like me who print them (well, I do the bindery). And then there are the people in payroll who handle the information on those timecards. At least one of our customers uses DAILY timecards that gather information on the tasks performed as well as the times punched. That means that they probably need a half dozen people just to deal with the information on those cards everyday. That’s a lot of people who will be out of a job if the company decides to switch to electronic timecards.

So. If Donald Trump wants to miraculously create 100,000 jobs the day after his inauguration, all he has to do is mandate that all companies switch to paper timecards.

But, this isn’t a very PRODUCTIVE way to create jobs. And I don’t suggest that he do this! I think it’s a very stupid idea. But, as we think about the US economy, I think it’s important to consider the basic realities of the economy. Like, why are certain jobs disappearing? And is that okay?


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