I don’t care what “they” say: Things are NOT getting better.
A number of things have happened recently that lead me to the conclusion that, despite what the federal government wants us to think, the economy – at least when it comes to jobs – is not improving.
I base this belief on admittedly anecdotal observations, but taken as a whole, my sense is that there’s little light at the end of the tunnel not only for me, but for many millions of my fellow formerly productive U.S. citizens who are still losing jobs or who can’t find new jobs.
For example: Yesterday I heard from a friend of mine who’s had high-level marketing and communications jobs with big New York City corporations for years. His job’s being eliminated now; not two or three years ago, but now. That doesn’t sound like change to me.
Or this: I saw a job posted the other day that sounded perfect for me. Even better, I know someone who knows someone who works there. I contacted my friend and she contacted her friend at the company. The response? Although my friend was told to have me submit my application (which I did), she was warned, “…I have received so many resumés, it will be impossible to interview/consider all qualified candidates.” In other words, my application will be a needle in a haystack – as usual. No change there.
As an aside, it’s starting to make me wonder about something. We’re always told to network because having connections is supposed to help you get jobs. But how valuable is it to have connections at the place you’re applying to when, among the scores of other applicants, chances are that many of those people have connections too? Is my connection better than your connection?
Maybe now you shouldn’t apply for a job unless you have multiple connections to that company. Or maybe the swamped employers discount connections entirely because so many people have them. How helpful are they really, at least in this abnormally bad job market? I’m becoming somewhat skeptical as to their ability to make much difference.
Another reason I doubt that the job market is improving is the fact that I’ve been receiving more nibbles lately about temporary or contract or part-time work. Employers do this when they don’t want to risk the expense of a full-time hire or are so uncertain about the future that they aren’t committing to additional full-time employees. Again, no change.
You might say that these are only one person’s experiences and that’s true; but I’m hearing these same kinds of stories from lots of other people, both employed and unemployed. I do not hear anyone saying, as I heard Vice President Biden say today in a speech in Ohio:
There are signs of life and hope in the heartland. Jobs are starting to come back…the kind of jobs you can build a middle-class family on. They're manufacturing jobs, decent paying jobs so you can live in a safe neighborhood, own your home, not rent your home. If the kid wants to, be able to send your kid to college, or send 'em to trade school.
This sounds great, and the March 2012 unemployment rate in Ohio was 7.5 percent; much better than here in New Jersey, where the unemployment rate has been stuck at 9 percent or above for the past 12 months.
I’m not feeling the hope, and I’m not seeing it either. How about you? Do you think the job situation is improving in the Garden State? Let me know.