The American Job Landscape in 2013

adr_articleshotBy April Ryan,

Looking forward into 2013, the nation’s economy is expected to be a dominate factor. Many of the issues, like fixing the jobs situation, will carry over into the New Year. As in 2012, politicians will be looking to resolve the nation’s unemployment challenges in 2013. Towards the end of this year, the national unemployment rate dropped below 8 percent for the first time in four years. But scores are still without work including those who have exhausted unemployment assistance and are still looking for full-time work with benefits, enough to make ends meet.

So, what should the numbers of unemployed, underemployed and those who are just looking for career advancement seek in the job search process in 2013? Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, says “I think that the job growth is going to be in the stem areas. So people need to get those
credentials at community colleges. We just got to make sure that we are focusing in on the right carriers. What’s available in the service sector for example in IT computers, health care, science, technology, and engineering, advance manufacturing so those computer skills will be needed.”

In the past 50 years, education has been viewed as a critical solution to the nation’s economic problem and a potential fix to the unemployment rate particularly for minority America. During the Civil Rights Era, in a meeting after the 1963 March on Washington, black leaders talked with President John F. Kennedy about the need for education as a means out of the dire economic situation for Americas black population. The Black unemployment rate in 1963 was three times that of White America.

Former George W. Bush Education Secretary, Rod Paige says, “past generations faced head on the problems they faced: slavery, racism, discrimination, Jim Crow and came up with solutions and came up with a way to have a better life.” Paige contends over the years kids “are not doing well” in schools. He says “We must face these problems and come up with solutions. Our current problem is a lack of development.” He summarizes the problem saying it is not all about money stating “Our leadership has to put primary focus on the quality of education our children are getting.” His advice is that resolutions “ought to extend past the simplistic solution that we have to spend more.” Paige the former African American Republican Education Secretary contends money is important but, “there are so many other issues not as focused on.” Mark Hopkins, the author of Shortcut to Prosperity finds technology has forced the change in the jobs landscape. He says, “The US formerly employed many people whose jobs were essentially to gather information (“search” in today’s parlance) and format it appropriately so that it could be acted on by a person or input for use by another automated system of the internet and software that has been designed with the internet in mind has automated many of these “middleman” activities, eliminating many of these jobs in the process. Hopkins uses “The travel agent is a simple but instructive example. A decade ago, the travel agent was required to collect and summarize travel options from a variety of information sources that were available only in custom formats and only over controlled lines of communication. Now, the same information, and a lot more, is available over the internet through free software, that anyone can access, that not only gives you the information you need, but does so in a helpful and easily understood format.”

As technology has changed the employment situation, Hopkins believes in entrepreneurship and creating opportunities saying, “The measure of
someone’s future employability and quality of life becomes directly proportional to their ability to recognize and develop original solutions to problems that they have developed deep insight into.”

For some it is just hard to find work. That is the case for Andrea Gibbs a 43 year-old professional who is underemployed and for the past few years has been searching for a full time job with benefits. Gibbs says, “I got my first television job just weeks before I graduated from Temple University with a BA in Broadcast Journalism. I spent the next 16 years advancing in my career. I went from production assistant to Executive Producer with stops in Maryland, New York, Connecticut, and Delaware. I was living the life I had worked for. In 2007, it all changed. That’s when my career took an unexpected turn. My EP position was eliminated, and I was out of job.” Years later, in December of 2012 she is still picking up jobs here and there still looking for fulltime employment with benefits. Gibbs states, “I know it’s just a matter of time before I land a permanent position. In the meantime, I continue to hold it down with my TV freelance job, that allows me to stay abreast of new media changes,
and my seasonal retail position which may end on December 26th. “

Like many others her prayer for 2013, a job. “I just pray that 2013 will bring a wealth of new opportunities to all of us, who are underemployed and ready to get back to work.” Gibbs says.

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