This is a reprint of my article that appears in the Chicago edition of Examiner.com. To comment online, follow this link: http://www.examiner.com/x-2951-Chicago-Jobs-Examiner
The timing couldn’t be better! My inaugural ‘Chicago Careers’ column is launching within the first 100 days of the new presidency. Because my specialty is Career Advancement, I thought I would take a look at how this new administration will affect our battered job market. Right now, millions of Americans are worrying and wondering if the job market could get any worse. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the national unemployment rate is 7.2%. But here in Chicago…well, we’re overachievers. We measure in at a whopping 7.6%. So I turned to the Usual Suspects (a few of my business colleagues who are always eloquent and brilliant) and asked what they think the new Prez will do in regards to employment vs. unemployment.
Recruiting expert Dave Dudzinski shared with me that his concerns are primarily homegrown. He’s the point-of-contact for many major employers here in Illinois and has a firsthand view of their struggles. He points to government corruption in Illinois, rising taxes in Cook County and the inevitable increase in minimum wage as being three main reasons why companies are choosing to move out of state or are shutting down completely. On the optimistic side, he expects a strong bounce-back within two years. In the meantime, he says the current state of things makes us all work harder and smarter.
Financial advisor, Susan Ahlfeld of Ahlfeld and Associates is putting faith in the stimulus package. She believes it will create jobs and keep current jobs from disappearing. Working people spend money, which positively affects the GDP (Gross Domestic Product, or a measurement of income to expenditures, in very laymen’s terminology).
Brian Reinke, an expert in large-scale utility and telecomm programs is all about the green. By that, I mean energy initiatives. He’s keeping a close eye on how the new administration is poised to create many new jobs in field of energy and energy efficiency. With the expansion of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, he expects construction and real estate will experience tremendous growth, which will impact hundreds of vertical industries. Heat Engineering Company owner, Lyle Mikolajewski agrees with Brian. He states that nuclear programs in Japan, France and Great Britain are abundantly more efficient than what we have here, and hopes this will be a priority for the new administration.
So where do I stand on this? I’d like to see more government benefits going towards corporations who keep their jobs within the United States and better training for our workers in engineering and technology. Simply put, I’m not a fan of global outsourcing. It became very attractive about 15-20 years ago, and now we’re seeing the results – a huge backlash. Outsourcing has led to millions of jobs lost and a downturn of technology training (while other countries have far surpassed us). And hey – let’s not forget an overall breakdown in communications. About a year ago, I had to call my health insurance company and actually had to spell out my diagnosis, because the person on the other end was not able to understand my impenetrable midwestern accent. That was a fun day.
So speak up! I’d love to her more thoughts and insights on what to expect from the new administration, in terms of our employment market. Will it get worse before it gets better or are good times right around the corner? Time will tell…