Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Lowest level of Americans employed since 1978. "Employment" is being re-defined. Isn't it time for economists to catch up?

Steven Worth
President, Plexus Consulting

"Meanwhile, the unemployment rate fell to 6.7% in December, but the drop came mainly from workers leaving the labor force.

"Only 62.8% of the adult population is participating in the labor market -- meaning they either have a job or are looking for one. That matches the lowest level since 1978.

"In the job market's 2007 heyday, unemployment was under 5%, but in the two years that followed, the recession wiped out 8.7 million jobs. To this day, not all those jobs have returned." (from the BBC News)

In all this economic turmoil I am sure there is ample opportunity for people and organizations that can connect the dots and harness creative impulses to find new ways to address chronic problems.

I rather doubt this change is going to come from our established educational institutions or any classic employer-employee relationships as we have known them for the simple reason that thinking outside the box is hard—like the old saw that generals are always preparing for the last war—the older, wealthier, and more established the institution, the harder it is to change.  I think this is what we may be seeing in these numbers--organizations breaking apart (creative destruction) and people coming together again, formally and informally, according to need and interest.

Technology plays an important role of course--like the fast growing “Linked-in” forum we are increasingly using as a firm. But it seems to me there is a role in all of this for insightful, vision-driven nonprofit organizations that are ideally suited in their fluidity to bring together like-minded brains and talent f
or needs and opportunities wherever they may be found.

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