Categorized | Business


So Where Are the Jobs?

By Tom Irmen

I think each of us reaches a time in our lives when we think we’ve seen it all. For me it was when my life’s odometer turned over to 60.

I was raised in one of the nation’s largest cities, had a union job with a Fortune 100 company, graduated from a mid-western university, spent two years in the military, lived in Europe, worked for three different Fortune 500 companies, traveled extensively, have been self-employed for 26+ years, and as I stated earlier, turned 60.

What else could life show me? Nothing, right? Wrong!

Hopefully, by the time you read this article, the issue of the great debt-ceiling debate will have been resolved, conveniently, until after the next election. With our debt-crisis, and not its consequences, averted until after the 2012 election, the nation’s attention will likely refocus on our stagnating economy and growing unemployment problem.

It seems that D.C.’s response to our nation’s unemployment crisis is to invite a handful of small business owners to Washington for an hour-long meeting, a photo-op and press conference. Problem solved.

Is it likely that we will continue to experience a “jobless” recovery? Here are some thoughts worth considering.

Over the last decade, according to the U.S. Commerce Department, U.S. multinational corporations shed 2.9 million jobs in the U.S., while increasing their overseas workforce by 2.4 million. That means that 2.4 million U.S. jobs weren’t lost, but rather were outsourced.

What possible incentive do these companies have to bring these jobs back home? They’re likely gone forever.

And within the small business community, often touted as “the engine that drives our nation,” extraordinary changes have occurred. Going largely ignored during this recession, America’s small business leaders have done what they do best, they’ve reinvented themselves.

Untethered to government bailouts, small business owners have relied on their own resourcefulness and resiliency to recreate themselves. In less than five year’s time, small business has and continues to employ new business models, strategies and the latest technology to significantly improve their productivity and bottom lines.

During this time, small business has deleveraged by shedding marginal and duplicate goods and services, shrinking infrastructure and eliminating jobs. And many of these job losses will likely be long-term despite an economic upturn, as small business is likely to return to the status quo.

While small business will continue to create new jobs as the economy struggles to recover, these opportunities will likely be at a slower pace from that experienced from other post recession recoveries. Ironically, what has been a crisis for the nation may have turned out to be good for American small businesses. Leaving the nation’s small business community to fend for itself may have been a blessing in disguise, as entrepreneurs across the country, once again, demonstrated their resourcefulness and resiliency to overcome adversity and reemerge on top.

With many former U.S. jobs having been permanently exported overseas, and with small business employing new strategies that require fewer employees, unemployment will likely remain high for the unforeseeable future.

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