Albert Wenger had a good post the other day noting some of the changes in employment in the U.S. over the last couple hundred years. He uses the chart below to illustrate the massive losses in agriculture and manufacturing jobs. Some might argue that this chart indicates that our economy has weakened as a result of these losses. But Albert also notes that while these sectors have seen massive decreases in employment, overall employment as a percentage of the population has actually increased during this time (from 32% to about 45%). There is no doubt that this kind of change causes of lots of pain in the short term, but it's also clear that the creation of new companies and entire industries is critical to the long term health of the economy.