Victims of Economy Include Economists

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In the new pool, there will be no hawks.
In the new pool, there will be no hawks. Photo: Getty Images

While we've been growing slowly, tragically inured to the daily layoff reports, there's a noted reduction in one workforce that has raised our eyebrows: Economists are now experiencing a tougher job market. Yeah, it's all fun and theorizing games till your résumé gets hurt. Freakonomics reports that a job board for economists is "sporting a brand new section: suspended or canceled listings" — over 30 recent listings have been canceled (and the board doesn't take into account universities under hiring freezes or "frosts"). But rather than just remove the canceled listings, they actually took the time to make a whole new page just to show what specific jobs were no longer available? Huh. Though the circumstances are bad, it's still kind of nice to see economists being clear and transparent about something, even if it's relevant just to their own insular little world.

But there's a larger concern at stake: If top universities stop hiring economists, economic research could take a hit — and who will teach all those soul-destroying Econ 101 classes? This could be the beginning of a harrowing chain reaction: If there are fewer economics programs, there will eventually be fewer new economists entering the workforce (thinkforce?). And a shrinking talent pool could mean that we're stuck with the same 200-odd finance pirates and Treasury bandits who play musical chairs and cycle through all the same jobs for even longer, with no viable new blood in sight. Here's looking at you, Krugman.