Where do Jobs Go, When they don’t come back?

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Is it just me, or is the face of American Employment Opportunities, subtly changing?

Has the Dignity of an Honest Day’s Work — suddenly become a “Luxury”, that as a country, we can no longer afford?

Or is it simply that the Toothpaste of “Cheap Labor”, has been squeezed out of the Tube — and it’s such a mess now, there is no easy way to put it back to where it used to be.

Is the Job Market going through a permanent “structural change” — one where the employment landscape will look totally different, after the all the Great Recession dust has cleared?

Economies, Job Markets, Shops, and Trade, are Living Organic systems.

They grow and expand.  They shrink and contract.

They thrive and give life.  The wither and take that life away.

And sometimes there are “radical shifts” in those dynamic systems — where the entire Landscape changes. And individual Life-giving Employment opportunities are lucky to survive, when such a major structural change strikes.  

Being ready to adapt helps — but not always.

Mississippi River Basin

Water: Science and Issues, (2003) by Christopher J. Woltemade

Preventing Natural Channel Change.

Like all rivers, the Mississippi naturally changes course over time. As lower reaches of the river flow through the delta, sediment deposition slowly reduces the river’s slope until the channel breaches (breaks) its banks and establishes a shorter, steeper route to the Gulf of Mexico.

Shifting Like A Snake: Ancient Mississippi Courses

Frank Jacobs on November 21, 2007

When looking at this map and seeing the jumble of ancient riverbeds — imagine all those shifts sped up: the Mississippi is like a shifting snake, twisting to find its easiest way down to the Gulf.

Sometimes Employment Markets shift like the mighty Mississippi — When the Levee breaks, it’s usually best to get out of its way.

Quietly waiting, clinging to hope, that the River will soon return to previous course, can be a difficult experience.  If your livelihood depends on that River, you may need to move yourself, instead.


Pining away for what used to be — won’t make it happen, if the Change is Structural in nature, and not just the “seasonal flood” — soon to recede.

Structural Changes: The Economy, Unemployment and Inflation

John Mason, SeekingAlpha — May 04, 2009

A new concern about the economy has surfaced recently.

[…] that of the world, is currently going through a transitional change that only occurs once or twice every century. This is the transition that takes place in the productive structure of the economy — a sort of “tipping point“.

There is no doubt that the structure of automobile production is going to be different in the next ten years from what it was over the past fifty years or so. This shift will affect dealers, suppliers, and many other companies that are peripheral to the car-making process. But, changes are also taking place in the way that different forms of energy are going to be provided. Information technology continues to change and we still don’t know what the future looks like in this area. And, these are just a start.

The point is that the world has changed. People that are facing unemployment due to the collapse of the auto industry are not going to find the same employment opportunities in the future that existed in the past, even if the stimulus and bailout packages work. There will be a different focus in energy with new types of jobs becoming available and the old types being less plentiful.


The bottom line is that the changes that have taken place in the United States economy are structural in nature and must be dealt with as such.


Getting New marketable Skills is usually a good idea — but they have to be NEW Skills that are actually IN DEMAND.

And if the Profit-munching Organism, has moved on to Greener Cheaper Pastures — getting the 2.0 version of the “same old skills” probably won’t help much, to reverse the Landslide of Global Outsourcing … that has been shuttering shops across the country … for a while now.

It may be a flat world now, for the Profiteers, but that doesn’t make it a “fair” world for the workers, left behind.

So, Where have are those Jobs Going?  Where will they crop up next?

Sometimes, if you know where the River’s heading next, it can help you be ready you launch your next life-line raft — in hopes of catching that next employment wavelet, when and if it arrives:

Overview of the 2008-18 Projections

Bureau of Labor Statistics

Table 2. Occupations with the largest numerical growth

Occupations Number of new jobs (in thousands) Percent change $ Wages (May 2008 median) Education/training category
Registered nurses 581.5 22 62,450 Associate degree
Home health aides 460.9 50 20,460 Short-term on-the-job training
Customer service representatives 399.5 18 29,860 Moderate-term on-the-job training
Combined food preparation and serving workers, including fast food 394.3 15 16,430 Short-term on-the-job training
Personal and home care aides 375.8 46 19,180 Short-term on-the-job training
Retail salespersons 374.7 8 20,510 Short-term on-the-job training
Office clerks, general 358.7 12 25,320 Short-term on-the-job training
Accountants and auditors 279.4 22 59,430 Bachelor’s degree
Nursing aides, orderlies, and attendants 276.0 19 23,850 Postsecondary vocational award
Postsecondary teachers 256.9 15 58,830 Doctoral degree
Construction laborers 255.9 20 28,520 Moderate-term on-the-job training
Elementary school teachers, except special education 244.2 16 49,330 Bachelor’s degree
Truck drivers, heavy and tractor-trailer 232.9 13 37,270 Short-term on-the-job training
Landscaping and groundskeeping workers 217.1 18 23,150 Short-term on-the-job training
Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks 212.4 10 32,510 Moderate-term on-the-job training
Executive secretaries and administrative assistants 204.4 13 40,030 Work experience in a related occupation
Management analysts 178.3 24 73,570 Bachelor’s or higher degree, plus work experience
Computer software engineers, applications 175.1 34 85,430 Bachelor’s degree
Receptionists and information clerks 172.9 15 24,550 Short-term on-the-job training
Carpenters 165.4 13 38,940 Long-term on-the-job training

SOURCE: BLS Occupational Employment Statistics and Division of Occupational Outlook

Sometimes, even that’s not enough. Knowledge.

Sometimes, the Toothpaste is just too big a big mess.  


Without some luck, and some NEW over-arching PLANNED Structural Changeslike a serious push for a Clean Green Economy — that Living Organic system, otherwise known as the Economy, can continue to wither hope away … until only the husks remain.

We may actually need a life-giving New River, especially when the Old River — or even the 100-year Deluge — with a mind of its own, has struck, without mercy, without compassion.   Wiping out Opportunity.  Wiping out lives.


… as heartless, dynamic mechanical systems, on occasion, have a nasty habit of doing …

Hmmmm?  Maybe the Economy ISN’T a Living Organism, after all?


Skip to comment form

    • jamess on July 30, 2010 at 05:07

    if they provide a handle …

    if they point to a solution.

    Otherwise, they are just exercises in irony.

    Ironic, isn’t it?

  1. …. McClatchy just reported what they’re planning on doing.


    • banger on July 30, 2010 at 14:15

    Are unreliable and outdated. But they give an idea of what sort of work seems to be needed in society using conventional methods.

    The issue is that economic growth will slow and stagnate for as far as the eye can see since the model of consumers driving economic growth is done since the class-are has been won by the wealthy class. I think we are headed for austerity and should plan for that by becoming less reliant on the “economy” to provide us with what we need in the long-term. This will be a hard and painful transition–more hard emotionally and psychologically than physically. This country is still incredibly wealthy and can, if people understand what is going on, adjust. I think the changes will be good as long as we can sweep away the illusions that still dominate our public life.  

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