Thursday, April 10, 2014

More on the "jobs" predicament, locally

Earlier in the week, I discussed in part the conditions of the job market and pointed out some of the ways our "unemployed" might help themselves under these circumstance.

Well, after posting that, I was devastated by a situation that came much closer to home.  After my wife passed away, I discovered I had been living in "her" home - she owned it, but now that she was gone, the actual "heirs" took over, prompted me to move and assured me a portion of the proceeds of the sale.

I did as I was asked to do - move away, and eagerly awaited the day when I could move on as I knew it would not be easy to rebuild my life, establish a new "home" address, etc. and I was right.  It has been a real struggle and I had hoped my (former) family would be true to their word.

Monday morning's "news" has given me cause to question my trust.  Hopefully and yes, prayerfully, I will await the facts that come out of the closing of the sale tomorrow.  I will let you know.

Meanwhile, back to the jobs situation.  After writing as I did, I was intrigued by an article in my home town newspaper, credited to an AP writer with a headline that read, "Signs the Job Market May Finally be Accelerating."  Nothing to get excited about, we need to realize an editor discovered that those words would create an interest in the readers minds.  Let's examine what was actually said.

The un-employment rate remains at 6.7 percent.  Hardly, good news.   According to the BLS, there were 192,000 new hires.  Who knows what that represents, but we must realize that the numbers had taken a hit by the annual employment lay-offs after the Christmas season.  We must also fact in the weather which has been dreadful in many sections of our nation in January and February.  However, to quote the article, "more workers in the 25 to 54 year age group are finding jobs".  And, as important, lay offs appear to have declined since February.

Good news.  Now for some more realistic news, good or bad depending on how it might affect your family and close friends.  Employers hired 2.4 million people in 2012.   However, the working age population swelled by 3.8 million that year.  A similar gap existed in 2012.

The "so-called employment population ratio" ended in both 2012 and 2013 at 58.6 percent.  That is down from the 63 percent before the "recession" started in late 2007.

And what ought to be good news for job seekers, "considering the fact that the vast "baby boom generation" has begun to retire.

The writer ends his column by reminding that we have "escaped" winter.

I decided to test the local job market for folks where I live, in "central" Tennessee.  There are two factors.  One is our local college, graduating a few thousand every year and asking both the Administration and interviewing a number of graduating Seniors, there is no such thing as a "lull" in hiring.  Opportunities are everywhere, but elsewhere is the more appropriate designation.  That is true for most college communities.  But as you move about the agencies that are designed to serve the un-employment in this area, there is very little reason for hope.   Compared to the major cities in the area, hiring is almost nil.  And if you look closely, you will discover that this predicament has been long standing.  We do a good job, promoting education and are even working to expand on those needs, but there is no well defined employment base.  Watch the people come and go from the eating places in this area - and there are many more here than in the surrounding area, but their patrons look a lot like me - gray haired and not even thinking of looking for a job.  More often they are looking for someone to trim their lawns, the shrubs and remove a tree or two here and there.

We do prosper in one area.  Our jail is normally filled by people who have lost confidence in the job market and make a little here and little more there, too often, re-selling the merchandise they have taken from the local Wal-Mart and adjoining stores.

What troubles me more than anything, if we would only concentrate on actually developing or importing businesses that hire people - as was once our main objective, the constantly increasing costs of maintaining our jails and the State prison system, would begin to cost less and increase our tax base.

A factor that evades most people - especially the politicians, ought to be obvious.

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