Or is it a case of the seen and unseen? At the Market Power blog Phil Miller makes the case that it is.
But we brewers have to obtain ingredients with which to brew. We need our brewing grains, our adjuncts, our hops, our yeast, etc. We also have to have a few pieces of equipment that most people do not have sitting around the house. We need carboys and 5 gallon food-grade plastic buckets. We need bottle cappers, kegging equipment, CO2 canisters for force-carbonating our beer, and many other pieces of equipment. Homebrewers' demand for these products creates jobs in the industries where this stuff is made and sold. That's the unseen effect.So relax when having that glass of home brew tonight safe in the knowledge you are not damaging the economy. Your kidneys may be, but not the economy.
You can say similar things about other do-it-yourselfers. Home cooks, woodworkers, and do-it-yourself handymen simultaneously destroy jobs in one industry and create them in another industry. Calling Dr. Schumpeter!
So it is silly to say that homebrewing decreases the number of net jobs.