September 6, 2011

The Economic Outlook is Sobering

If you are looking for a job right now you have a lot of company. There are not enough jobs and some companies, feeling that they are overstaffed and over budget with the new economic slide, are shedding workers once again. Bank of America announced 3500 to 10,000 layoffs in August on top of 2500 earlier this year. Manufacturing, where there recently was promise, is looking more uncertain by the day. It is also unlikely that any stimulus money will be arriving to create jobs in construction and government.

Welcome to the recovery... or not. The economy gyrated throughout the summer. Things looked promising until August then it got insane. The stock market plunged, and recovered, only to plunge again.

The unemployment rate in Sacramento edged back up to 12.5% with California at 12.4% and the US rate at 9.3% This is the most pressing issue for America and the most troubling Sacramento area problem.

Between June 2011 and July 2011 the total number of jobs located in the Sacramento Metro region (El Dorado, Placer, Sacramento and Yolo Counties) decreased by 10,400 according to the CA Employment Development Department’s July report. This is a shocking one month change. Government declined by 15,400 jobs and professional, scientific, and technical services down 1000 jobs. Up were much lower paying job reports in leisure and hospitality (+2100 jobs); accommodation and food service (+1900); arts, entertainment and recreation (+200); trade, transportation and utilities (+1400); manufacturing (+900); and construction (+700).

Learning to live with uncertainty is the new reality. It is a dismal time, requiring nerves of steel, and an ever-evolving plan for what to do next. There are no guarantees no matter what your major or profession is. Instability is the order of the day.

The list of causes for the instability is long... congressional battles over debt ceilings and debt reductions, gyrations on Wall Street, fires, floods, tsunami, volcanic eruption, nuclear meltdown, earthquake, hurricane, riots in London… The summer was indeed volatile.

"ANYONE who managed to switch off during the summer holiday has faced a rude shock on his return. The world economy is in much worse shape than it was only a few weeks ago. Growth has slowed sharply in both America and Europe… Consumer confidence has slumped ... All this has led to a grim, and sudden, reassessment of growth prospects, especially in the rich world. Forecasts for 2012 have been slashed. The odds of a double-dip recession have risen sharply on both sides of the Atlantic." The Economist - August 27, 2011

"America’s prospects have suddenly darkened. Statistical revisions and some grim new figures have revealed a weaker-than-assumed recovery that has all but ground to a halt. Once stalled, an economy can easily tip back into recession, particularly if it is hit by a new shock—as America’s is about to be, thanks to a hefty dose of fiscal tightening made worse by the debt deal. The odds of a double dip over the coming year are uncomfortably high, perhaps as high as 50% ... America’s recovery ...bound to be sluggish and fragile" The Economist August 6, 2011

Do not sit there idle assuming that there is nothing you can do. Even in the tightest economy, people do get jobs. Whether you get a job or not depends on doing the right thing now.
  • Read The Serious Job Seeker and do the exercises!
  • Employ multiple job seeking strategies (12 Action Steps for Getting the Job You Want!)
  • Get Help – You don’t have to do it alone!
  • Network with people in your field!
  • Take a Career Planning Class or join a Job Club
  • Get your resume written and/or proofed by an expert
  • Have a backup plan!
Be prepared to seize opportunity when it appears! Windows open and close in a heartbeat. According to John Michel, MSEEE candidate - recently hired at Linear Technology : "I got in just before a hiring freeze went on ". John was hired in early July of this year. He will be starting at Linear on October 3rd. He will be designing layouts for high performance analog- digital converters. He heard about the job through one of his professors, Dr. Tom Matthews. John is thrilled with the opportunity! He was prepared for the interviews from the exercises done in EEE 194. He recommends the class to everyone! “It gets you to step back and figure out what is important.” John’s advice: “ask for help, don’t procrastinate, and be organized.”

Timing is everything! Get on with it!!!