I don’t mean to be a perpetual party-pooper here, but the headline number for unemployment looks good today – better, at 9.4%. So, why didn’t stocks rally on the news? Why aren’t people exuberantly rejoicing in the streets? The reason is the way the unemployment number is calculated. What actually helps this number is when people “leave the workforce”. That’s just part of the equation, and when 434,000 people leave the workforce like they did last month, it helps juice the unemployment rate. But it’s not like 434,000 won the lottery, or decided things are so peachy they no longer need to work – they just gave up!
Rather than rehash entirely, some top blogs with people that describe this more eloquently than myself have laid out the basics and what’s really going on. Take, The Burning Platform for instance. He provides a really interesting set of data that indicates unemployment is really at 23%!. Here’s an especially telling line that I haven’t heard before myself – and isn’t widely reported in the press:
“The employment to population ratio dropped again and is now the lowest since 1983.”
Talk about a serious situation! So, it’s a declining unemployment rate on the headline number, but we added fewer jobs than forecast. So, the number’s getting better, but the situation isn’t really improving at the rate anticipated. This has pretty much been the situation for a couple years now. Housing continues to disappoint, employment continues to disappoint, and things probably aren’t going to improve appreciably faster than they have been. So, brace yourself for a long haul. Other blogs that cover topics like this include The Mish, Zero Hedge, Gonzola Lira and more. You should check them all out – after the rest of this article of course :>
How To Thrive in This Economy
Since it’s been a while since I did a look back at career and education topics, here are 10 Career-oriented articles that you may find relevant, helpful, and employed! Take a look and if anything, perhaps it will give you some ideas on either a) getting back into the workforce or b) staying in the workforce or c) getting ahead in this stagnant economy:
- Go Interview for a New Job – Even if you Don’t Want It – This is an exercise I undertake about once per year, both internal and external. Not that I’m looking to waste vacation days and other peoples’ time. But by using these tactics, I’m learning about new areas I may be interested in, new companies, and my name and face is fresh in the minds of hiring managers in the event I need to make a move quickly.
- 10 Most In-Demand Jobs of 2010 (same w 2011!) – The list looks about the same every year. Worth seeing who’s paying, who’s in demand and why.
- How Much Could You Reduce Your Budget if you Were Laid Off Today? This is a key exercise with the economy the way it is. What are your fixed costs? What could you cut? Worth a look.
- Nepotism in the Workplace – Worth Evaluating Where You Stand – Personally, I haven’t had to deal with this since I work for a large corporation, but in smaller private firms and family owned businesses, this can be a real problem when it’s nepotism over meritocracy.
- Project Management Tools and Tips – As a recent project manager, I listed out some tools I use to be successful, efficient, and stand out. Really, anyone running a team or a project can benefit.
- Companies are Hiring Overseas – So What Are you going to Do About It? If you can’t beat ’em join ’em, right? Manufacturing in the US is a net exodus, not influx. I’m involved in outsourcing. It’s somewhat out of necessity. Something to think about rather than hanging on to the old days.
- Study Tips from a Guy Out of College for a Decade – It’s helpful to get a professional certification every few years, especially if you can get your company to pay for it. It keeps your skills fresh, and companies hate laying off people they just invested a lot of money in!
- Fantasy Football Can Get You Fired? Yup – I don’t do fantasy football; I pretty much gave up on watching sports when I had kids – and a blog. But most of my friends are totally into it. Did you know you can get fired for it?
- Outta College and No Job – Go Back to Grad School? Or Not. This is a quandary facing thousands of college students today. If you can’t get a job, is it worth just getting an advanced degree now and entering the workforce when the economy’s better?
- Is it Wrong to Hedge Shares of Your Own Company? Since you have so much vested in your company already (paycheck!), is it worth hedging against your own company’s stock price? Is it legal? Ethical? Weigh in.
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