2010 Dog Catcher Predictions – Employment

If you have well defined skills useful in consulting, starting a small business or have skills of value in your community — with low overhead costs — then 2010 may be when you want to consider self-employment. But don’t quit your day job unless you have to. Experiment.

Salaries should remain stable, unless you change your job. Look for new hires to be offered 5-10% less; salaries in these areas should be remain stable and may actually increase 5%in ND, NE, SD, UT, and VA. One analysis shows jobs growing at the rate of 150-200,000 per month between March and June 2010; this is too positive for me, my expectation is that job losses will continue but slow (more on that later).

Professionals going back to school, and able to demonstrate continued growth in skillsets and industry knowledge will be in demand. EDUCATION IS IMPORTANT. Throughout the entire recession, those will BA/BS degrees still enjoy a less than 6% unemployment rate — meaning that most people that want a job can find one within 2-6 weeks.

The Great Recession has been/will be hard on those that are young (under 30) and poorly educated.

The labor market will continue to reward age over youth, except where age thinks too highly of itself and prices itself out of consideration. In highest demand: those with crossover skills in I.T., education, medical and ‘enterprise’ systems.

Jobs and Employment

Jobs – What you see now is what you will generally get through 2Q 2010. Michigan can’t get any worse but look for more bad news in Florida, South Carolina, and Tennessee. Possibly much worse. These states have fairly large populations and nothing of value that the rest of America needs to buy. Look for improving economies in California and Virginia. Virginia will be a bright spot.

!!California? Yes. California is unique in that much of its economic problems are caused by continued reverberations of Proposition 13 from 1978 which limited how the state and municipalities taxes its citizens. California is actually awash in untaxed money. California also has some very interesting green energy projects that would cause its costs to drop but create cash flow into state coffers inasmuch as the state is funding these green energy initiatives.

Nationally – one area of job losses: local and state government. Tax revenues and property taxes will continue to fall. States and municipalities just cannot maintain the status quo.

For fans of Texas, Texas’ future is closely tied to the value of energy. It did fairly well throughout the 2000s, but with a plunge in energy prices Texas took a strong hit in late 2009 (4Q -2.9%). Texas is highly reliant upon national funding for maintenance of much of its infrastructure. With no state income tax Texas relies heavily on high sales taxes (8 1/4 % in many locales) to fund municipal and state operations.

Unemployment will begin to climb in many areas as 3Q 2010 approaches — failure to grow jobs will have the same effect laying people off: increasing unemployment. The economy requires job growth of 100,000 per month just to keep with up population growth.

Tightening credit and tight-fisted consumers will almost strangle the non-essentials marketplace. Stress testing of the banks has shown that many, maybe most, cannot survive sustained 10% unemployment levels (6-9 months). With no safety net of another bailout, banks will just stop lending to maintain reserves capable of cushioning rising mortgage and loan defaults.

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