Tag Archives: job market

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.



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?



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.



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.



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

Persistence is Key in Job Search

Finding a new job can be tough these days. Unemployment rates are dropping, but the job market and the economy have not fully recovered from the lasting effects of the Great Recession. We are nowhere near the state of job stability and prosperity that existed ten years ago.

If you are one of the unfortunate individuals that has had to look for work in our sluggish economic climate, you know all too well about the trials and tribulations of the job search. It’s not enough anymore to simply peruse the classifieds or walk into a business that has a “Help Wanted” sign hanging in the window. Nowadays, it takes ingenuity and perseverance to land a job.

Before you even start looking for a job, think first about what you want to do. Even though it may seem that any job is better than no job at times, you don’t want to be stuck doing something you can’t stand. It’s important to do a self evaluation before putting yourself out there in the job world.

Think about your skills. What are you good at, and what do you like to do? Once you have figured this out, you should then highlight your qualities that will be most useful in your job and your search for work. You might have to spend a few hours revamping your resume, but it will pay off in the long run.

After you have assessed yourself and determined what you are good at, the next step is to figure out where you want to work. Although the easiest method in looking for a job may be to just log on the Internet and check out who has job listings up, this is not always the most effective procedure. Think about how many other people are doing the exact same thing. Why would you want to apply for a job that one hundred other desperate souls have already attempted?

Most positions these days are not filled through online job listings. A lot of companies don’t even post openings online. Many jobs are filled through word of mouth or by people going out of their way to track down work.

One of the best ways to get a job is to pick a company that you want to work for and do your research. What types of jobs do they have there, and who is in charge of hiring? Figure out what position might suit you best, and then track down the higher-ups so you can communicate with them directly. This way, you won’t end up being just another name on an endless stack of resumes.

So if you really want to find a job in today’s economy, you must be persistent and able to single yourself out from the crowd. Businesses want to hire people that are unique and special and capable of performing the task at hand. It’s up to you to convince them that you are the right person for the job.

Service Industry Jobs to Fall Back On

As our economy is in the process of pulling through what has been called the Great Recession, there are still many people out there looking for work. Even though the job market is slowly but surely getting better, unemployment is still about 8-10% (depending on the region), and times are still tough.
Some have resorted to switching career paths to deal with the high unemployment rates. Perhaps they couldn’t find a job in their field so they decided to try their hand at something else. Experts might argue that taking a job that will not advance you in your career path may actually hurt you in the long run.
But not everyone can afford to be out of work until they find the perfect job. Some of us out here actually have bills to pay and no savings account or rich parents to cover them. For those of you in this same boat, you may want to think about taking a part-time or something else that you might be relatively qualified for.
One sector of the workforce that is almost always hiring is the service industry. Most restaurants have a big turnover rate for their waitstaff, so they are always looking for good, solid, dependable servers and bartenders.
These types of jobs may not appeal to everyone. The idea of clearing peoples’ plates and waiting on the public might seem repulsive to some. But a job is a job, and sometimes you just have to make some money.
Contrary to popular belief, there can be many advantages to working in the service industry. One big benefit is the hours. Working in the evening, as most waiters and bartenders do, can free up your day to look for other jobs within your field. Or you can just simply enjoy the day for once. Not being involved in the hustle and bustle of the rat race might actually seem nice for a change. You can go to the bank or grocery store without being a part of the 9-to-5 mob. And you actually get to enjoy the sunlight. Working the normal week usually leaves one’s weekend with a long list of errands they could not accomplish during the week. Now you will have your normal weekdays to make it all happen, leaving you to enjoy stepping out into the day.
Another big advantage is that you get paid in cash. Most of your pay comes from tips, and many restaurants will cash out your credit tips at the end of the night. Although you are technically supposed to claim all your earnings, it’s pretty easy to claim well below what you actually made. This way you end up paying fewer taxes and therefore save some money. Also, it’s nice to have a wad of cash in your pocket at the end of the day.
Unbeknownst to most, working in a restaurant can actually provide you with skills that look good on a resume. First of all, you are gaining customer service skills, useful in almost any field. Second of all, as a server you are multi-tasking. You constantly have to think about and manage about ten different tasks at once, timing when food should go out, when different tables should get their checks or drinks and such. Multi-tasking is a valuable skill that many people do not possess. You also work as a team member when you are part of a waitstaff. Before hiring, most employers want to know that you will function well as part of their team. If this something that you have not done already, working in a restaurant will help you gain this skill.
Of course there are disadvantages to working in the service industry. You can never really count on a steady income. Since you pretty much receive your pay directly from the general public that walks through the doors, you never know how much money you will make and every day is different.
Another disadvantage is the obvious fact that taking a service industry job is not a step in the right direction of your desired career path. But when it comes down to it, any income is better than none. Also, most businesses like to hire people that are already out in the workforce, not those that have been sitting at home twiddling their thumbs and waiting for a job to fall in their lap for the past eight months.
So before you dismiss taking a job out of your field and working in the restaurant industry altogether think about the benefits.