Thursday, February 14, 2013

Recovery is not supporting middle class incomes; job market keeps getting more competitive

Jim Tankersley gives a perspective on what’s happening with the job market in the Washington Post on Thursday, February 14, 2013, “Economic growth is no longer enough: For middle class today, recovery isn’t translating into higher-paying jobs”, link here.

In the late 1980s, jobs started to be lost to hostile takeovers.  There was a major recession after the savings and loan collapse followed by the drawdown after the Persian Gulf War, and even then there was advise to professionals to do “grunt work”. 
With mergers, some associates would benefit tremendously, whereas others would be laid off.   If left Chilton in 1988 before TRW took it over, and the entire operation was eventually laid off, but some people went to TRW and benefitted.  Now the company is resurrected in the Dallas area as Experian.  When NWNL bought USLICO in 1995 and became ReliaStar, I benefited from a transfer to Minneapolis in 1997.  Other people left behind in Arlington started getting laid off in 2000.  But when ING bought ReliaStar in 2000, and had a layoff at the end of 2001, it was “my turn” to sacrifice.  Some others benefitted by working with the acquiring company, often being willing to travel to Hartford. 
But gradually, recessions and mergers have tended to weed weaker people out of the market (as the article notes).  These tend to be people who are not flexible enough to learn new skills quickly. It’s become a “Darwinian” world.  And the IT market in the mainframe area seems to have fragmented into rotating short-term contracts, not very hospitable to families.  Yet, some government operations (like the IRS) will soon be hurting because the skillset in the old mainframe area has been allowed to deteriorate so much.  

Throw into all of this the effect of social media, and the haphazard way employers look at associates' profiles.  But with manufacturing and even "coding" so outsourced, no wonder we've become a nation of hucksters.  And nobody wants telemarketing calls or excessive sales pitches by email either.  
Note: the takeovers of Chilton, USLICO and ReliaStar were "friendly".  However, Chilton (as part of Borg-Warner) was nearly taken over "with hostility" by Irwin Jacobs and sold to Equifax first.  

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