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Monday, November 07, 2011

Jobs, Jobs, Where are the Jobs

As we known unemployment is high.  Very high. The reports say 9% or 14 million people are out of jobs.  Actually, the reports are wrong. It is worse.  The government statistics are manipulated to hide the pain.   In some counties in the North State, State of Jefferson, where I live the UI rate is pushing 20% or higher.  Demographic groups such as young adults and blacks are over 30% unemployed.

Many who were collecting unemployment, or to be more precise being paid not to work, have run out of UI benefits.

Yet, we see productivity reports which show that in the United States productivity has been rising. 

How can this be?  We are more productive, yet there are more people not working.

Well, the answer is simple.  Technology and efficiency.  Manufacturing businesses can make the products with less people.  Who needs a flotilla of secretaries or bookkeepers when you have computer programs to do the work.  Printing shops that employed skilled technicians are replaced by laser printers and desk top publishing programs.   

So where are the jobs?  Just like in the past when the majority of people in the US were employed in agriculture and farming and those industries were made more productive by mechanization, the unemployed people had to migrate to other areas and find NEW kinds of jobs.

They didn't have unemployment insurance to give them months and years of leisure time.  They didn't have the luxury of being able to sit around and whine that their old occupations were no more. They had to find new jobs in other industries.  They had to create new jobs and create new industries.  The industrial age was a time of unprecidented economic expansion and innovation.  The innovations and inventions of those times are the foundation of our society today.

So.....where are the jobs.  The NEW jobs?

First: You need to get the government out of the way so that people can be innovative and entrepreneurial.  Rules, regulations, fees, licenses, fines all set in place to supposedly protect the public are in fact the main impediment to new job creation and are meant to reduce competition by new challengers to current industry and businesses.

Now, I'm not suggesting that we have a free for all in industry or production or businesses.  Safety of food, safety on the job and product quality are important.  You want to know if you buy something to is safe.  You want to know that if you hire a professional to do a job for you, like your Doctor.....they are competent.   If you want to have a builder repair something in your would like to know that they will be able to do the job.  However, we don't need the government in the middle of EVERY transaction.

The rules and regulations need to be sane and encouraging of new businesses.   Cottage food laws in California are (hopefully) in the process of being relaxed.   If we had the restrictive rules and regulations today during the industrial revolution, just think of the food products and giant industries that would not have been developed.  General Mills, Coca Cola...the list is long.

Second:  Instead of wailing that you can't get a job in your old occupation, look for new opportunities.  What do people need?  What would the people who have money and jobs want from you?  What kinds of jobs or services cannot be outsourced to another country or be outsourced to a computer or robot?

Just a short list of services:
  • Babysitting/ Nanny service
  • Home maintenance and repairs
  • Cleaning services
  • Landscaping
  • Plumbing
  • Building and construction
  • Auto repair/maintenance/detailing
  • Computer repair
  • Assistance services for the elderly or disabled
Are these glamorous jobs.  Probably not in everyone's eyes.  Do people need these services.  You bet.  Can you make a decent living and even hire other people to work for you...Heck YEAH.

Third: What kinds of things or products are in need or would be innovative that you can make or produce. What resources do you have in your area? The Cottage Food industry is one possibility.  Hand made goods. Artisanal goods.  Can you manufacture something that would be distinctive, reasonably price and use local talent?    Should you.... can you, team up with others in your area to create new industries and new products?

So instead of wailing that jobs are lost, outsourced or that you can't do what you used to do.....look upon these tough times as an opportunity.  Opportunity to create something new, to learn something new.   Sure, it might require you to sacrifice, to lower your standard of living for a while, to work long hard hours, to maybe move to another area, to get out of your comfort zone.

Society moves on and industry moves on.  To stubbornly stand in one place will just leave you behind as others do take advantage of the new opportunities and move on to new prosperity.

Don't be a loser.

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