Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Things are getting better...again.

Things are improving so fast I just can't stand it. The BLS keeps trotting out these amazing job gains and the Street reacts with big gains that will probably be lost (or maybe not) down the road. Not that gains in the DOW piss me off- I still have money there. The thing about the jobs report, at least as I see it, is that for I don't know how long we were told that we needed  +250,000 per month to stabilize the unemployment rate. Now we hear it's 200,000. Next we will be told that as long as we get 100,000 new jobs a month it will signal good times. Well as I said before I'm betting that a whole lot of those jobs are temp jobs for the holidays. Better than not having a job? Of course it is. The thing is, many if not most of those seasonal jobs will go away after Christmas. What will be left? Lots of retail jobs. The jobs report indicates that a large number of retail jobs were created. Good news to be sure except that many of those jobs holders will still require assistance to make ends meet. Probably a lot of jobs will be created in our ponzi financial sector for those that are qualified. Well, that takes care of upper and lower income jobs I guess. Now what about the rest of us? 

As I have said before and am sure it is apparent to anyone reading this, I am a doomer. Here's the thing. I am a skilled labor, decent income earning type of guy. At least I was until the end of last September. I've been unemployed for 2 months without really even a sniff at a job. Am I just lazy?  Not hardly. Am I any good at what I do? Damn right I am. I am excellent at what I do. Any jobs available for me? Very few that don't include leaving my family behind and working in BFE. That comes next. You might think that having specialized skills would necessarily improve your employment outlook. Maybe if you're young. What about folks like me that are north of 50 and should supervising the kind of work they have mastered rather than hoping to find an entry level job in the field they have worked in all their adult lives? For people like us, the future doesn't look quite so rosy. In fact, my future pretty much sucks.

I will be interviewing soon for a job that is some 300 miles from home. I have a good chance of being hired. What will that mean for me and my family. Well for starters, I will once again have health insurance. That is a BIG deal, especially when you are older. The pay? Similar to what I earned at my last gig. A 600 mile daily commute? Nope. Ain't gonna happen. So now, to earn a living and have health insurance, I have to earn enough to live elsewhere, while sending my family enough money to make this move make sense. Why not move? The other half of the financial equation (my wife) has a job here which can't be easily replaced there. We have a house that fits our needs, great neighbors, and a great community. Maybe I can find some other kind of job so that I can stay here? Been trying that for 2 fricken months with no success. Either over qualified or not qualified enough for a different kind of work.

So, when I hear about the drastic improvements in the labor market, I have to wonder how many people are in same leaky boat I am. Maybe millions. That's why I view these job numbers as a feel good stat intended to drive the Market up despite seeming indicators (at least to me) to the contrary. The much talked about destruction of the middle class. Coming soon to someone you know.

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