Future Job Markets in the Good Old USA

The New York Times is sponsoring on its website a very interesting, challenging and hoefully helpful blog, Room for Debate.The idea is to have 4 experts in the field address a serious contemporary issue/question and use that base to constitute the forum for debate by readers and commentators. Yes it is risky business because online forums are often firestorms with relative anonymity allowing for rabid positions and degenerative flame-throwing insults. This results in lots of heat so now we know(if there was any doubt beforehand) how contentious the issue really is; but little or no insight on what are the often subtle causes and effects. The NYTimes appears to moderate these discussions in the sense of turning off comments. I am not sure if the NYTimes moderators filter out spam. But you be the judge. This last weekend the Room for Debate topic was, given the downturn, How should Students be preparing for the Next Job Market?

A quorum on the US job market in the light of the new economy is very relevant. I found the the invited guest experts comments to be of mixed quality. See if you agree by following the above link. In contrast, the comments on what is going wrong in the US economy and its job markets seemed to hit the nail on the head. An example:

“ Spare us the nonstop wailing and teeth-gnashing about the inadequate number of high school and college students who want to study science and engineering. The students are, in reality, merely behaving rationally. In 2009, what right-thinking student would ever consider a job that corporate America holds in such disrepute? Off-shoring, importation of cheap engineers, job anxiety, lack of respect for the profession…the boardrooms have spoken clearly. Projunior – ”

Now this has resonance because I am doing a study on the US Economic Renaissance – the Obama/ Friedman promise of new jobs in green technology. And I am not finding the inventiveness lacking but 3 other factors way out of whack. First financing for inventive ideas has dried up as even venture capitalists are pulling in their green-horns. Second, established companies in various industries (think oil and gas companies for one critical example) are working industriously against green despite their TV ads. But the most serious deficiency is in manufacturing. A Booz + Allen book on manufacturing, Make or Break, delineates some of the most vicious problems quite well. And the list provided above by Projunior, coincides closely with Booz + Allen book’s most salient points. I leave the final word to another Room for Debate commenter.

“ The US has tried to get by through just being the retailer/personal service supplier – the only ones in the economic chain who really don’t add any value to the finished goods. Not one of the 3 growth areas of (1) retail (2) leisure and hospitality and (3) medical add value to a good. They are all service and end consumption enterprises. If national wealth is defined as the amount of goods produced, the US is broke. ” — AnnS, Preparing for the Next Job Market

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