Sunday, September 26, 2010

Recipe for a cheerful Labor Day

As America celebrates Labor Day to pay tribute to the contributions of its workforce, the mood is anything but festive for millions of Americans. While shifts in the labor system has been occurring for years, the recent global recession has taken a far greater toll on the American worker than workers in any other developed nation. Since the beginning of 2007, unemployment in the US has increased by 5 percent compared to only 1 percent increase in France and Japan, and a 2 percent rise in Britain. In the same period unemployment rate remained mostly unchanged or even went down in the economies of China, India and Germany. American employers have responded to the recession with far more layoffs and staff reduction than those in other countries.
For those fortunate to be employed, wages remained mostly flat or lower while counterparts in the economies of China and India have seen double digit growth, especially in the manufacturing and technology sectors. As the demand for goods and services have declined, requiring lower supply of labor in America, availability of substitute labor in lower cost countries have created unparalleled competition for the American worker and diminished leverage wage negotiations.
Indeed, job loss and wage stagnation has hit almost every corner of the American labor force. However, the impact is more profound among minorities and several specific disadvantage communities. While the national unemployment rate is at a dismal 9.5 percent in August 2010, unemployment rate among African Americans is at a disproportionately high 16.3 percent and among the Hispanics at 12.0 percent. Unemployment among Veterans remains close to 15% and reached a record 16.4 percent in August among people with disabilities.
Whether such high unemployment rates are here to stay due to permanent structural shifts in the labor market, or they are simply short term events in the wake of the turmoil of the financial market and housing bubble are unclear. The implications for the America workforce, however, are clear. This Labor Day is the time to take control of your career. You can’t rely on the policymakers in Washington to take care of the situation soon, and you can’t live with the elusive hope that employers are going to pick up the pace of hiring in the US anytime soon.
While we at America’s Job Exchange (AJE) can’t control the economy, we can help you be prepared. We have created search technology and partnered with employers and job sites so that you can search and find a job. Simply go to and use our search features to find a job, and our web tools to build a resume, and apply for a job. We have assembled the experts in the career ecosystem so that you can get a professionally written resume and distribute to recruiters. You can read through expert advice and articles, and sign up for job scouts to receive additional similar jobs directly to your email box. You can also check out the salary center to learn what other people are earning in positions that you want, take a career test to see where you stand and visit our education center to see if signing up for training and education is the right solution for you.

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