If anyone thinks the current recession is just a hiccup in consumer spending and employment figures, I’ve got news. This steamroller has been creeping down this hill since 2001. That was the year I got laid off. But I was employed again the following year. That’s the difference. But I saw the signs.
This week the Labor Department released the September unemployment figures – 9.8%. Might as well say 10%. 263,000 jobs were cut, and last week it was reported that there were 6 candidates for every one job opening. Even the old faithful backup, temporary or temp services, have cut back.
The President’s weekly message focuses not so much on employees but small business employers including wanna-be-employers, people who want to make the leap into entrepreneurship but are held back because it means losing their healthcare benefits. I took that leap in 2005. I’m still out here with an “okay” health care plan I pay for myself. The monthly goes up 30% each year. I pray every day not to have a major illness.
Would I make the leap today if I was fully and securely employed by a company? Only if I had laid out some serious groundwork, safety nets and fall back plans. I did that in 2005. I have to say in the current economic environment those alternative plans are scarce, but not totally unachievable. What I’m sensing is a need for innovation. The old business and industrial models are obsolete. Employment will depend on new ideas, new inventions, and meeting 21st century needs. The new economy cannot be shopped back into shape.
I’m taking even my wildest dreams a little more seriously. I wish I was a little more adept at tinkering. I’d like to grow my business. I haven’t given up.