Since the mid-seventies, such slogans as "the no-growth economy," the "deindustrialization of America," and a long-term "Kondratieff stagnation of the economy" have become popular and are invoked as if axioms. Yet the facts and figures belie every one of these slogans. What is happening in the United States is something quite different: a profound shift from a "managerial" to an "entrepreneurial" economy.
In the two decades 1965 to 1985, the number of Americans over sixteen (thereby counted as being in the work force under the conventions of American statistics) grew by two-fifths, from 129 to 180 million. But the number of Americans in paid jobs grew in the same period by one-half, from 71 to 106 million. The labor force growth was fastest in the second decade of that period, the decade from 1974 to 1984, when total jobs in the American economy grew by a full 24 million.
In no other peacetime period has the United States created as many new jobs, whether measured in percentages or in absolute numbers. And yet the ten years that began with the "oil shock" in the late fall of 1973 were years of extreme turbulence, of "energy crises," of the near-collapse of the "smokestack" industries, and of two sizable recessions.
The American development is unique. Nothing like it has happened yet in any other country. Western Europe during the period 1970 to 1984 actually lost jobs, 3 to 4 million of them. In 1970, western Europe still had 20 million more jobs than the United States; in 1984, it had almost 10 million less. Even Japan did far less well in job creation than the United States. During the twelve years from 1970 through 1982,