Friday, May 6, 2011

When I Grow Up...

“I want to be famous, I want to be a star, I want to be in movies” (a classic ‘oldie but goodie’ by the Pussycat Dolls).  This goal is pretty ambitious and may take some effort (not to be confused with its cousin, talent).  The reality is most of us don’t take the famous route (now we have to be able to “sing” AND “dance”?  That seems unreasonable.).  For some of us, just accepting the fact that we have to grow up is enough to deal with.  But at some point we all come to the realization that it’s time to get a job (even Kendra Wilkinson realized it was time).  Maybe it’s when we open our refrigerators and see an empty oblivion, or maybe it’s when we want to impress someone and realize still “living with the folks” isn’t quite cutting it.  Test: Is your mom still packing your lunch?

The job market is a big place and there are many possibilities to choose from.  Did you know there are over 900 possible occupations in the Government’s classification system?  Not only is it a challenge to figure out what job allows you to make money doing something you like (and is legal), but then you actually need to get yourself out there and get said job.  Unfortunately, there is no ‘easy button’ for this one.

So, of all the economic data on the news, understanding the jobs market is worth your time (don’t worry, its Friday, DWTS isn’t on tonight).  The fact is we all know someone who is looking for work, or looking to switch jobs, (maybe it’s you, I won’t tell your boss).  Information is available that can help you understand what industries are hiring right now, and where the jobs are at (more on the geographical distribution of jobs another time).  Jobs data released today shows the U.S. added 244,000 jobs in April, with the private sector adding 268,000 (that is encouraging news if you are looking for work).  The Federal Government, on the other hand, shed 24,000 jobs (anyone who’s been to USAJobs in the last few months can attest to slim pickings on the Federal level).  Digging a little deeper reveals some insight.  Many of these increases were in “professional & business services” (think legal and finance), retail, “leisure and hospitality” (think hotels), and healthcare.  Leisure and hospitality may be more seasonal for the summer.  Healthcare is not going anywhere any time soon (we have a lot of old people in this country – hey, side note: What do you think the chances of Betty White appearing on DWTS are?). 

There’s no disagreement that it’s work to get work.  Sometimes we even take a few months off from looking for work because we get discouraged (called “exiting the labor force”).  Last month, some of us who had exited the labor force came back (now that jobs are coming back).  This was what was behind the unemployment rate (percent of people in the labor force who have no job and are applying to jobs) rising from 8.8% to 9.0%.  Believe it or not, this is good news in the long-term (unless Cops is your favorite show).  We all grow up one day – though maybe we should at least wait until after the weekend.  Happy Friday!

(Bureau of Labor Statistics)

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