The UGLY Truth About America’s Jobless Economy
Based upon the MANY conversations that I’ve had with people about America’s jobless economy and lack of abundant employment opportunitiesthe last few weeks, it is clear that we are LONG past due the time required for an honest conversation about the HORRIFIC state of America’s “JOBLESS” economy.
Our economy has been transforming at a tremendous rate of change since we evolved from a post-Industrial manufacturing society to an information and technology-driven market.
Entire industries have been transformed due to advances in technology (most notably the Internet.) Sectors of our economy such as printing & publishing, advertising, retail, accounting, manufacturing, banking, and financial services have all been transformed. Significant transformation demands the kind of new skills, training, certifications, and knowledge that threatens the entire American workforce and leads to a severe shortage of attractive employment opportunities.
Making matters significantly worse for America’ workers, the myopic short-term profit centric focus of our business “leaders ” has led to tremendous employee layoffs through outsourcing, off-shoring, downsizing, right-sizing and re-engineering as they pursued a scorched earth policy of seeking the cheapest available labor. We have become a society where there is no such thing as job security and the “contract” between employees and employers no longer exists.
The new “REALITY” for America’s workers.
The average American worker will now change jobs 8-9 times in their career (and the number is on a rapid rise.) One in four Americans can now be classified as contract/independent workers or consultants who are employed on a full-time basis and have ZERO guarantee of steady income.
The state of America’s workforce is SO bad, that wee can’t even determine an accurate accounting for our nation’s unemployed since so many people that are ready, willing, and able to work have given up on looking for work. Pick a number….how about 15-20% unemployed? The truth is, no one (especially the Bureau of Labor Statistics) knows for sure!
Remember the buzz in the media about a “recovery?” Well, it seems that recovery helped large corporations and the top 2% of America, but passed over the rest of us. Large companies have been performing quite well, but are hell bent on hording cash and paying senior executives exorbitant bonuses. No jobs creation there! Meanwhile, smaller companies (including the many I consult with) continue to struggle to meet payroll and keep their businesses afloat. Hire new employees? No way! They continue to be forced to operate with skeletal staffs they’ve had in place for several years since the last round of layoffs.
Insurance companies, banks, and credit card companies continue to prey on the balance of Americans that are in financial distress. This is where the public debate should be framed, and yet we hear nothing but the shrill sound of two parties not willing to compromise on a relatively minor issue of raising America’s debt ceiling.
The bigger issue is a lack of American leadership in politics, education, and business. For 40 years our leaders have taken the easy way out, kicked the can down the road and passed up on countless opportunities to move America forward. Well, that can is at the end of the road. Where do we go from here?
THIS is the broad debate that needs to happen NOW.
The fundamental question that DEMANDS a new kind of visionary American leadership to answer is this: “How can we put Americans back to work?”
For three years, I have been working with all sorts of people from High School students to the mature workforce on ways to bulletproof your career in these turbulent times. There is an “across-the-board” fear at MOST levels of our society that people cannot find meaningful work, and our future is destined to be worse than today.
How did we bankrupt our future? How can we create jobs for our High School students and college graduates and a meaningful future for our children? When 2% of Americans control a majority of our nation’s wealth through Lobbyists and special interests, we are in danger. When a grassroots Tea Party movement of less than 10% Congressional representation can derail a nation’s political agenda, we are in danger. When our children finish well below the students of other nations in math and science proficiency…we are in danger.
Until an entirely new visionary leadership arises at all levels of our American education, political, and business systems, we are merely shuffling deck chairs on the Titanic American jobless recovery and will not see an abundance of relevant employment opportunities.