Monday, January 3, 2011

Companion to Perma-Temp Futures - Part Time Retail

Saturday I wrote a post on the Perma-Temp Future for many people who are among the long term un and underemployed from the Great Recession. This is the future reality for many people who have considered themselves professionals in a chosen field. People like myself and the field of Software Quality Assurance for example.

Today (1/3/11) there are a couple of articles from Reuters and CNN on hiring for 2011. The titles probably say as much about what 2011 hiring will look like as the articles themselves. The Reuters title:

Jobs trickle in. Whither workers?
The CNN title:
2011: A hiring boom, even at 9% unemployment
Though it might seem counter-intuitive, both titles are probably accurate.

From the Reuters piece:
(Reuters) - U.S. private employers have recorded 11 consecutive months of job gains, yet the number of people who are so discouraged that they have given up searching for work stands at an all-time high.

Friday's employment report is expected to show the pace of payroll growth accelerated last month after a disappointing showing in November. However, consumers' assessment of the job market deteriorated in December, according to the Conference Board's latest consumer confidence survey.

This disconnect is symptomatic of the state of the labor market. Yes, it is recovering, but at a pace that can hardly keep up with population growth, let alone quickly bring down the 9.8 percent unemployment rate.

From the CNN piece:
Economists surveyed by CNNMoney are forecasting an average of 2.5 million jobs added to the U.S. economy this year, which would be the best one-year gain in hiring since the white-hot labor market of 1999.

Of the dozen economists who responded, several of the more bullish are predicting more than 3 million jobs added -- about 250,000 jobs a month. Even the most pessimistic of those surveyed, David Wyss of Standard & Poor's, expects 1.8 million jobs to be added this year, roughly double the pace of hiring in 2010.

The key question now becomes "What type of jobs will be added?" I think this article from the AP via MSNBC offers at least a partial answer. Dollar General Stores is planning on opening 625 new stores and hiring 6K new workers. The good news/bad news effect. The good news is jobs in locations all over the country; the bad news being most of these will be part time minimum wage positions. The part time retail positions paying minimum wage is the companion to the Perma-Temp Future for the professional staff. Neither employment track will afford the workers the chance to save for a retirement or pay for any catastrophic health care costs. They will, at best, allow people to maybe survive albeit without thriving.

When I was in high school and college I worked a couple of minimum wage, part time jobs. I was a stock/sales clerk at a men's clothing store in my hometown through high school and the first part of college and I worked in a liquor store my last couple of years of college. I also worked as a minimum wage janitor for a few months at an elementary school before I joined the USAF. We'll just say that none of these jobs actually required me to perform any great feats of thought.

And because I can:

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