Jobs with Upward Mobility
YankeeJim | November 11, 2009 at 08:14 amby
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By Peter S. Goodman
Published: Sunday, March 2, 2008
But others say the sluggish job market reflects long-term, systemic forces reshaping the U.S. economy. It represents, they say, the underbelly of the so-called new moderation that has made recession less frequent and less severe.
Some economists say many companies are so lean that the unemployment rate may not increase much. Nationally, the U.S. jobless rate remains at a historically low level of 4.9 percent, though this does not include people who have given up looking for work.
But the same trend suggests that the impacts of the slowdown are likely to be felt deeply for several years, even after the economy resumes a swift expansion, said Jared Bernstein, senior economist at the Economic Policy Institute, a labor-oriented research group in Washington.
Oakland is typical of the lean hiring that has accompanied the winnowing of jobs, with its once-formidable manufacturing base hollowed out as the city has lost auto plants and warehouses.
Yet the Port of Oakland is booming, benefiting from a surge in U.S. exports. A planned $800 million expansion would add 7,000 jobs, said James Kwon, director of the port's maritime division. Yet so far, the growth at the port has not been enough to compensate for steady erosion of work elsewhere in the city.
For public officials grappling with the impact of long-term joblessness, training has become a mantra. "The jobs are there, but the people to fill the jobs are not," said John Garamendi, the lieutenant governor of California. "The current demand for skilled individuals in medical fields, in biotech, for people capable of welding - there's a demand for these people."
YankeeJim Commentary: Here is a story that touches on something that I think should be of paramount importance to Americans--Jobs with Upward Mobility --jobs with a future -- jobs with a long career life cycle. In my experience, such jobs are in the manufacturing industries sector which fuels engineering, professional, and vocational careers. Creating jobs in the government sector is the wrong answer. Creating jobs in public works is a stop-gap at best. Needed is investment in industries that invent, produce, and support consumer products of all kinds. It is time to rebuild America and Obama has the right priority in addressing how we can energize a new economy with new fuel and modes of power and transportation. That is a start. But, virtually every aspect of how people live need to be redesigned based on a green economy. That should be a top priority.
The example story is a year old, but it talks about Oakland California, a place that is as typical as our new America is becoming. Solve the problems for Oakland, and you have solutions for a nation.
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