US free trade agreement to support 70,000 jobs

The term “Made in America” could soon take on a new level of importance with new free trade deals passed last week. The US Congress approved three new agreements with South Korea, Columbia and Panama on Oct. 12 that could help to preserve and create tens of thousands of American jobs.

By decreasing and removing tariffs on certain American products exported to the three foreign countries, 95 percent of US goods could become duty-free within the next five years. In what is considered to be the most groundbreaking deal since the North American Free Trade Agreement with Mexico and Canada in 1994, it could account for a $10 billion to $12 billion annual boost in US exports.

The trade agreement was originally drafted in 2007 while President George W. Bush was still in office, but it has been delayed by widespread Democratic objection. Touted by President Obama over the past few years, the deal is expected to benefit the economies of all countries involved.

Although criticized by many that are skeptical of any increase in jobs from exported US goods being eliminated by layoffs due to more competition from imported goods, the deal could benefit American workers in multiple industries, including automakers, farmers, ranchers, manufacturers and various small businesses.

The new agreement was backed by many different US organizations such as Ace, Citigroup, Pfizer, Caterpillar, General Electric, Whirlpool, General Motors, Ford and Chrysler.

The US auto industry is expected to profit substantially from the new deal with South Korea, where tariffs on imported American vehicles will be initially cut in half and eventually lifted entirely over the next five years. The agreement was promoted by both the UAW and Ford, which supported the cause through newspaper ads and a website.

The city of Detroit and the rest of Southeastern Michigan play an important role in the new pact with South Korea. Both President Obama and South Korean President Lee Myung-bak toured the Orion Township GM plant north of Detroit on Oct. 14, announcing their agreement and pushing its potential to boost the hard-hit area’s economy by creating jobs and increasing production.

The GM plant in Orion Township was reopened earlier this year to manufacture the Korean-developed Chevrolet Sonic subcompact, currently the smallest vehicle produced in the US.

Production of the Sonic was moved to the US from countries such as South Korea and Mexico. The new free trade deal includes a provision that will allow 40 percent of GM workers involved in manufacturing the vehicle at the Orion Township plant to earn more than the standard first-tier rate of $28 per hour.

General Motors currently exports the Chevrolet Camaro, the Cadillac CTS, SRX and Escalade to South Korea. Plans to export the Chevrolet Corvette are also in the works for the end of the year.

Detroit and the auto industry could benefit greatly from the free-trade pact with South Korea, and it is a welcome change for many in the area who have suffered from high unemployment rates and a depressed economy.

The new deal has been widely criticized because of its decrease on tariffs of goods imported to the US from other countries. Many Democrats believe that more imported goods will ultimately lead to fewer American jobs.

But the main advantage of the new pact is the fact that more US goods will be exported. In the long run, more products and services that America can sell overseas means more jobs created right here in the US.

 

WORKS CITED:

Abrams, Jim. “Congress passes 3 free trade agreements” Yahoo! News http://news.yahoo.com/congress-passes-3-free-trade-agreements-003629553.html  Accessed 10/15/11

Martin, Eric and McQuillen, William. SFGate http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/g/a/2011/10/14/bloomberg_articlesLSZD6X6S9728.DTL  Accessed 10/15/11

Thompson, Chrissie. “Obama: New trade deal with Korea to support 70,000 American jobs” Detroit Free Press http://www.freep.com/article/20111014/NEWS15/111014037/Obama-New-trade-deal-Korea-create-70-000-American-jobs  Accessed 10/14/11

Rise of elderly persons in the workforce

The Great Recession wrought havoc upon the labor market: Unemployment rates increased, overall hours worked decreased, and more people over the age of retirement were forced to remain in the workforce.

According to a US Census Bureau report from June 2011, 14 percent of the civilian work force in the United States was aged 65 or older. Of that number, 58 percent were men and 42 percent were women.

Of the many reasons the older individuals are choosing to work longer, increased financial stability and the creation of a sense of community are usually the most prominent reasons.

As science and medicine have progressed over the years, so has life expectancy. With fewer disabled persons over the age of 65, this population is ready and willing to work. The nature of employment has progressed, as well. Jobs that the elderly take on usually aren’t as physically taxing as they once used to be.

The majority of jobs that employ people over the age of 65 include professional, managerial, technical and administrative support positions.

With the US minimum wage increases of 2007, 2008 and 2009, people everywhere are able to earn a few dollars more per hour than several years ago. This is an incentive for the elderly to stay in the workforce, as they are guaranteed to make more money and bolster their savings.

Another element that contributes to the aging workforce is the fact that baby boomers are beginning to come of retirement age.

A baby boomer is someone who was born during the post-World War II era that saw a dramatic increase in the number of US births. According to US Census Bureau estimates, by the year 2030, one in five US citizens will be of age 65 or older. This will undoubtedly result in an influx of older individuals in the everyday workforce.

Hours worked by the elderly were greater after the recession than before it began, although for the entire population hours worked post-recession were fewer than before. When the stock and housing markets crashed, some of the hardest hit individuals were the elderly.

The need to make money because of the recession has stimulated much of the elderly population to get back out there and find a job. Retirement is no longer an option for some, and the only way to achieve financial security is to keep working.

In some cases, employers are much more willing to hire an older person than someone at entry level; generally, they have more experience and don’t always demand high salaries.

While it may be reassuring for retirement-age persons that they can remain in the workforce if they need or choose to do so, this poses a problem for the younger population. If the 65 and older crowd take all the jobs, where will all the greenhorns and young bucks go for work?

 

WORKS CITED:

Mulligan, Casey B. “When Times Get Tough, the Elderly Work” Economix – The New York Times http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/10/05/when-times-get-tough-the-elderly-work/ Accessed 10/6/11.

“Rates of elderly Americans in workforce climbs” CNN U.S.http://articles.cnn.com/2001-06-01/us/census.elderly_1_elderly-workers-elderly-women-older-men?_s=PM:US Accessed 10/6/11.

Jobs in social media

Wouldn’t it be nice to get paid for something that you already do in your free time?

For many, this dream job is quickly becoming a reality. Businesses across the nation have gone on a hiring spree for social media jobs, and the trend is likely to continue.

There are hundreds of new social media jobs posted every week on job boards everywhere. Monster.com reported that the number of these positions increased 75 percent from last year.

As companies are beginning to realize how important the use of social media can be in promoting and growing a business, they are investing more into the technology and employees to work it.

Job titles, descriptions, requirements and compensation are quite varied as this is a relatively new field and has only seen major growth in the past few years. Some of the different titles for these positions include social media specialist, social media expert, social media manager and online communities manager.

Unlike many other jobs out there, social media positions are actually geared toward a much younger applicant base. Companies typically prefer to hire fresh college grads that have a strong knowledge of the Internet and sites Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Job candidates at this age have grown up with the Internet and can be much more tech savvy than older applicants. Social networking sites have become an integral part of this generation and for many companies, they value social media experience over an impressive employment history.

One of the most important qualifications that one can possess when going for a career in social media is to already have a solid following online. Businesses use these sites to promote their company and bring in more clients. If they hire someone who already has 1,000 followers on Twitter and 2,000 friends on Facebook, that pans out to 3,000 potential new customers for them just by hiring one new employee.

Most social media positions usually require a bachelor’s in marketing, communications, journalism or other related fields. Marketing experience is also helpful, along with a working knowledge of social networking sites and tools. Excellent written and verbal communication skills and basic computer proficiency are also common requirements for this field.

Job duties do include more than just updating a Facebook status here and composing a random tweet there. Maintaining and developing content on web pages and blogs, monitoring fan and follower growth and editing are also common responsibilities of a social media specialist.

All qualifications and requirements aside, what’s most important for a social media worker is how well they can interact with an Internet audience on various platforms. The main objective in utilizing different sites is to build relationships and interact with potential customers via social media. This includes paying attention to customer feedback and responding to negative web attention before it becomes a major issue.

Since these types of jobs are pretty new and responsibilities are varied, salaries can range anywhere from $30,000 to $100,000 per year. This can also depend upon how large a company is and the size of their client base and Internet audience.

For many, this growing trend may be the ideal job. For others, spending all day online surfing various social networking sites might sound like a headache. But, with 800 million people on Facebook and 200 million on Twitter, the social media market is so vast that companies would be hurting themselves by not tapping into it.

 

WORKS CITED:

Li, Shan. “Employers are liking – and hiring – social media workers” Los Angeles Times http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-social-media-jobs-20110929,0,6158114.story Accessed 9/29/11

Waugh, Danielle. “Social Media Jobs: Are They For You?” abcNEWS http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/jobs-social-media-strategists/story?id=13246140 Accessed 9/29/11

Community college programs prepare students for the workforce

As the United States approaches its fourth year of economic confusion, economists are still undecided as to whether or not the nation will slip back into recession. With the national unemployment rate hovering around 10 percent, feelings of uncertainty are saturated within the American public.

Even with the current air of insecurity about America’s future, there are signs of hope in the persistent job openings for highly-skilled workers. As technology develops, the skill level needed for specialized positions can prop up many industries.

To prepare the American population for in-demand jobs, community colleges are a vital factor in economic development. Two-year programs can prepare students for specialized jobs and partner with employers that are hiring to create programs designed to train specifically for new openings.

Community colleges can be flexible to the needs of employers by focusing on preparing students and teaching them the skills that are relevant to certain specialized and highly-skilled positions. During the slow economic recovery, two-year institutions have seen increased enrollment as people are studying in programs that will retrain them to meet the demands of employers.

A 2010 Federal Reserve report indicated that about one-third of students enrolled in post-secondary institutions were attending two-year colleges. Not only do community colleges prove to be important in retraining the workforce, but they also contribute significantly to the education industry in the US.

The importance of community colleges in the US economic recovery isn’t lost on the government. In October 2010, President Obama announced the Skills for America’s Future initiative, which encouraged public-private partnerships to create new retraining programs at two-year colleges.

The initiative aimed to increase the number of employers that partner with community colleges and create a stronger curriculum in order to match the skills needed for specialized jobs.

In the American Jobs Act proposal, delivered to Congress in September 2011, President Obama called for $5 billion to be spent on modernizing community colleges across the nation. If passed, the legislation would allow for upgrades to education facilities in order to better meet the demands of the 21st century workforce.

Sectors of the workforce that continue to be in demand for skilled workers include health care and manufacturing. Both of these areas continue to grow and require highly-trained workers to perform the new jobs.

According to the National Skills Coalition, middle-skill jobs make up the largest segment of the US workforce. Middle-skill positions are defined as those that require more than a high-school education but less than a four-year degree.

As the demand for skilled workers increases as the US emerges from the Great Recession, there may be a transformation in the ideals of the education system. No longer will high school students be pressured to enroll in a four-year university so they can figure out what they want to do with their lives.

There are plenty of highly-educated individuals out there with bachelor’s degrees working part-time or collecting unemployment. The future of the American workforce may be in the two-year programs designed to train students specifically for jobs in demand. Lower cost of education, higher return of employment; this may be the deciding factor in pulling America out of its economic slump once and for all.

 

WORKS CITED:

Evercloud, Debbie. “Community colleges assist in economic recovery” ourColoradonews.com http://www.ourcoloradonews.com/business/growth/community-colleges-assist-in-economic-recovery/article_ae4b39a4-de80-11e0-9d0c-001cc4c002e0.html

Smith, Diane. “Jobs plan would modernize community colleges” Star-Telegram http://www.star-telegram.com/2011/09/21/3386717/jobs-plan-would-modernize-community.html

Spencer, Katie. “Community colleges work to fill huge demand for ‘middle-skill’ workers” MEDILL REPORTS CHICAGO http://news.medill.northwestern.edu/chicago/news.aspx?id=181511

Obama’s American Jobs Act

On Sep. 8, President Obama unveiled his $447 billion American Jobs Act before a joint session of Congress. Obama spoke for more than thirty minutes, discussing his ideas for payroll tax cuts, long-term unemployment benefits, and infrastructure spending.

This week, economists have been analyzing the President’s proposal and how it will ultimately affect the economy.

Theoretically, the plans would put hundreds of thousands back in the workforce by next year, reduce unemployment rates and boost economic growth. One of the main initiatives discussed was a substantial Social Security tax cut aimed at providing an increase in direct income.

An extension of a tax cut implemented this year that reduced Social Security taxes from 6.2 percent to 4.2 percent would be extended to a new version that would drop the rate to 3.1 percent. This savings will theoretically result in more spending, temporarily spurring the economy.

The potential hurdle is that a Social Security cut would expire by the end of 2012, providing only a temporary boost in spending. In addition, there are few guarantees that Americans would use the extra money from their paychecks for goods and services, and even if they did, the US economy is largely dependent on foreign products.

The Buy American provision of Obama’s plan attempts to compensate for the potential consumer spending on foreign goods. The directive states that none of the money created by the American Jobs Act can be used for spending on infrastructure improvements unless all of the goods used in the project were produced in the US.

With at least $80 billion of the American Jobs Act proposed for spending on infrastructure improvements and the modernization of schools, the Buy American provision may keep the money spent on goods within the US. The White House also hopes that the increase in construction employment will further spur the economy.

In resolving the long-term unemployment dilemma (which includes 43 percent of out-of-work Americans), the act calls for a $4,000 tax break for businesses that hire applicants who have been unemployed for six months or more.

Additional provisions of the act include extending emergency unemployment benefits and providing aid to keep state and local governments from laying off teachers.

Political pundits predict that President Obama’s new plan will not likely be met with open arms in Congress. Republicans have criticized the act of basically re-hashing the old ideas that failed with Obama’s $825 billion economic stimulus plan in February of 2009.

Failing to provide substantial economic growth or tame the unemployment rate, that act was mainly successful in keeping the US out of a full-blown depression. Although the previous plan did manage to save or create millions of jobs, it could not compete with the rising unemployment rates across the country.

A common sentiment among those who oppose President Obama’s new ideas is that the top priority of the president is to preserve his own position. With the 2012 elections just 14 months away, holding his position in office may be on the top of Obama’s list, and some believe that his new plan is merely an attempt to gain the support of voters.

As temporary as the American Jobs Act will ultimately be, it’s a stepping stone in the right direction. It proposes ideas that both parties can hopefully agree on, but it still doesn’t address the larger concern: Spending doesn’t save an economy, so what will save America’s?

That question, at least for now, has gone unanswered by most politicians and economists.

WORKS CITED:

“Many economists say Obama jobs plan will help” Associated Press http://www.usatoday.com/money/economy/story/2011-09-09/obama-jobs-plan-economists/50336434/1

“Obama unveils $447B jobs package” USAToday http://www.usatoday.com/money/economy/story/2011-09-08/Obama-unveils-447B-jobs-package/50327464/1

“House Passes $819B Stimulus Package” FOXNEWS.com http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/01/28/house-passes-b-stimulus-package/

Part-Time Rock Star

In trying to get ahead in this world, one thing that you can do is take on extra work. During the trying times of a recession and its lasting effects, you have to use every opportunity to its full advantage and never shun a chance to make some extra cash.

Harder, better, faster, stronger; these are not just novelty ideas taken from the title of a Daft Punk song. To make it in today’s economic climate, one has to do just that; work harder, do better, make it faster and perform it stronger.

One easy way to perform all the aforementioned tasks and stay ahead of the competition is to get a part-time gig. A full-time job may leave you spent and confused at times. After a hard day’s work, the last thing on your mind is probably doing more work. But sometimes you just have to swallow your pride and do it up.

A part-time job might not always seem like the ideal solution, but sometimes you have just got to do what you got to do. Extra income is almost always a welcomed idea. Although taking on a part-time may just cut into your personal time, at least you will have more money coming in.

Part-time jobs can come in many different forms. Restaurant gigs are easy to come by, as are convenience store cashier jobs or even bank teller posts. Whatever the position may be, an additional influx of cash flow is always a good thing, so take it as it comes.

Whatever the case may be, one should always keep doors open. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket, you what I’m saying?

If you have a job plus a side gig to fall back on, you are automatically ahead of the game.

The job market is still tough, and if you have one, I am happy for you. In fact not only I, but my leagues of followers are also happy for you. Go ahead and feel privileged; I do.

 

 

Career Fairs

Although attending a career fair sometimes may sound as enjoyable as a trip to the dentist, they can be extremely helpful in not only attaining a new job but also for developing new contacts and getting your resume out there.

One of the most common mistakes that job seekers make when attending a career fair is not doing enough background work. It pays to research which companies will be there and what jobs they will be hiring for. With this information, you can plan out how you are going to promote your skills and education to potential employers in regards to the jobs at hand.

In addition to finding out which jobs to prepare for, you can also take a look at who works there, and you never know, you may already have an old colleague in place and waiting to open the door for you. Overall, it’s simply a much better idea to walk into a career fair with plenty of ways to carry on a conversation and not just telling them that you want a job.

And as always, wear something nice! Business professional or even business casual attire is the way to go. First impressions cannot be undone.

Keeping all that in mind, check out the following National Career Fairs that will be held soon around the country in a city near you;

  • Atlanta Career Fair: Monday October 3, 2011 from 11am to 2pm @ Holiday Inn Atlanta Capitol Conference; 450 Capitol Avenue SW, Atlanta, GA 30312
  • New York Career Fair: Monday, October 24, 2011 from 11am to 3pm @ Holiday Inn Midtown 57 Street; 440 West 57th Street, New York, NY 10019
  • Houston Career Fair: Tuesday, September 13, 2011 from 11am to 2pm @ Crowne Plaza Houston – River Oaks – Near the Galleria; 2712 Southwest Freeway; Houston, TX 77098
  • Detroit Career Fair: Wednesday March 7, 2012 from 11am to 2pm @ Holiday Inn Southgate (Detroit South); 17201 Northline Road, Southgate, MI 48195
  • Dallas Career Fair: Wednesday, September 14, 2011 from 11am to 2pm @ Radisson Hotel & Suites – Dallas Love Field; 1241 West Mockingbird Lane, Dallas, TX 75247
  • Philadelphia Career Fair: Monday December 5, 2011 from 11am to 2pm @ Crowne Plaza; 4100 Presidential Blvd, Philadelphia, PA 19131
  • Charlotte Career Fair: Tuesday, September 6, 2011 from 11am to 2pm @ Renaissance Charlotte Suites Hotel; 2800 Coliseum Drive, Charlotte, BC 28217
  • Phoenix Career Fair: Monday, September 26, 2011 from 11am to 2pm @ Phoenix Airport Marriott; 1101 North 44th Street, Phoenix, AZ 85008
  • Chicago Career Fair: Thursday, October 13, 2011 from 11am to 2pm @ The Congress Plaza Hotel; 520 South Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60605
  • Los Angeles Career Fair: Wednesday, October 19, 2011 from 11am to 2pm @ Holiday Inn Los Angeles – International Airport; 9901 West Cienega Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90045
  • San Diego Career Fair: Tuesday, September 20, 2011 from 11am to 2pm @ San Diego Marriott Hotel and Marina, 333 West Harbor Drive, San Diego, CA 92101
  • Boston Career Fair: Monday, October 17, 2011 from 11am to 2pm @ Radisson Hotel Boston; 200 Stuart Street, Boston, MA 02116