An economist at Harvard said one thing is certain about Apple Inc.'s effect on the labor market -- it's big. Apple has a big effect, and big is about as precise as I can make it, Professor Gary Pisano told The New York Times. It's hard to say the exact size, he said.
Apple has triggered a debate on its impact by releasing a study that declares the company, which is responsible for hundreds of thousands of jobs overseas, created or supported 514,000 jobs in the United States -- a figure, the Times said, that includes the good folks at Apple and not only the truck drivers who bring Apple products to the stores but the workers who build the trucks that get them there, to use the phrase printed in the Times. It is unclear whether this is fodder for late night comedy or for an economist.
Apple could be seen as helping Jay Leno stay employed, presuming he makes jokes about the company from time to time. The person who made the cellophane that keeps the potato chips fresh that go into the lunch of the truck driver -- what about that guy? The potato farmer should be considered, as well, not to mention the fertilizer salesman and whoever made his lunch, his clothes and his vehicle.
It turns out, Pisano is completely right. It is hard to say the exact size of a company, when you toss its ego into the picture. Not considering that, however, let's just count the 47,000 people on Apple's payroll and the 700,000 people overseas who are hired by those who supply and assemble Apple products. If we start there, just for argument's sake, we can assess the economic patriotism of the company and, granted, that's a concept tossed in here without consideration for the point that folks overseas need jobs, as well. That said, economics Professor David Autor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology told the Times, Generating the conditions that give rise to high rates of employment and wage growth is the domain of policymakers, not individual companies.
In international markets Monday, the Nikkei 225 index in Japan dropped 0.8 percent and the Shanghai composite index in China lost 0.64 percent. The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong shed 1.38 percent and the Sensex in India dropped 1.55 percent. The S&P/ASX 200 in Australia slipped 0.24 percent.
In midday trading in Europe, the FTSE 100 index in Britain lost 0.22 percent while the DAX 30 in Germany gave up 0.46 percent. The CAC 40 in France dropped 0.35 percent and the Stoxx Europe 600 lost 0.34 percent.