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Job Voyager
September 22, 2009 5:37 AM   Subscribe

Job Voyager: a data visualization tool for US occupations as a percentage of the labor pool, 1850-2000. (Stream graphs previously)
posted by OmieWise (17 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
For some reason I read "occupations" as being "of foreign nations" and thought it was going to show how high unemployment leads to wars. Still, pretty interesting.
posted by DU at 6:19 AM on September 22, 2009


Charwoman?
posted by ursus_comiter at 6:21 AM on September 22, 2009


Huh, I was coming here to ask what it meant that, in 1970, .252% of men were 'Charwomen'.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 6:59 AM on September 22, 2009


Charwoman?

"The categorization scheme used was devised in 1950. As a result, some category names may seem outdated and more modern occupations may be missing. "
posted by OmieWise at 6:59 AM on September 22, 2009


Hucksters: this occupation peaked for males in 1880; for females in 1980. Looks like it's in serious decline.
posted by MtDewd at 7:19 AM on September 22, 2009


Professional (Misc)... Professor... Public Official. Hey they skipped Prostitute.
posted by rlk at 7:32 AM on September 22, 2009


charwomen just means cleaner, but there doesn't seem to be any fit for modern jobs. I guess they've lumped all the computer jobs under clerical work.
posted by bhnyc at 8:15 AM on September 22, 2009


Nice find. I was a little surprised to learn that the percent of people working as lawyers and judges (they are pooled together) has been relatively steady since 1850.
posted by exogenous at 8:22 AM on September 22, 2009


Men working on a farm:

1850: 50.1%
1900: 32.0%
1950: 10.6%
2000: 0.9%
posted by dgaicun at 8:38 AM on September 22, 2009


Men working on a farm:

1850: 50.1%
1900: 32.0%
1950: 10.6%
2000: 0.9%


I think about this periodically: One of the main reasons I need a job is so I can make money to buy food. Why does food cost money? Because the people who grow it need to make money to buy non-food. But what if food were grown by robots? Food could be free. Seems like that could transform society. (There's still the practical problem of robot maintenance, but it could be robots all the way down.)

But the farm workforce is only 1% . (Does that include migrant workers and the like, though?) Can we just pay them directly and get free food? Call it 3-4 million people, each paid say $50,000/yr. $150-200 billion a year. That almost chump change.

And what are the savings? Extrapolating from a single data point, if every 4 people spend $100/wk on groceries now that's....$500 billion? I think I carried right. So we could possibly save quite a bit on markup/middlemen with something like this.
posted by DU at 9:08 AM on September 22, 2009


DU -- there are also very high capital and running costs with farming - land (people have to pay mortgages or rent), equiptment, seed and/or feed, fertilizer, etc. Labour is probably only a small percentage of the costs.

(Interestingly, it's generally true that historically as labour moves out of farming, you have more other costs. You need more land if you have low-labour farming, and obviously more machines, but also more bought fertilizer and pesticides because you don't keep livestock to fertilize and labourers to weed your fields, etc. One problem with exporting Western-style farming to the developing world is that there are many costs associated with it that poorer farmers can't afford.)
posted by jb at 9:22 AM on September 22, 2009


Compared to 1850, food is essentially free and compared to 1850, food production is essentially done by robots.
posted by otto42 at 9:24 AM on September 22, 2009 [5 favorites]


Robots aren't free: they need people to fix them, make replacement parts, etc. Unless we had robots that could fix robots, mine raw materials for new parts, and create an entirely self-sufficient robot society. Of course, to do this, the robots would have to be intelligent enough to navigate the real world and interact efficiently with other robots--effectively making them intelligent. Then we could have free food. Of course, being intelligent, it wouldn't be long before they decided they want free food. The only way this can end is with all of us enslaved.
posted by jewzilla at 9:50 AM on September 22, 2009


"Dude who sells weed" is TOO a valid profession!
posted by not_on_display at 9:57 AM on September 22, 2009


OMG, I get shivers down my spine when I click on the gender buttons and watch that gorgeous chart reconfigure!
posted by Theta States at 11:10 AM on September 22, 2009


What are "operatives"?
posted by desjardins at 5:35 PM on September 22, 2009


Some of the changes are quite stark based on world events. "Taxi Driver" basically disappears as a job during WWII, in a very sharp drop. It picks right back up again as an occupation after the war.
posted by OmieWise at 4:46 AM on September 23, 2009


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