With end of year economics reports coming out and pundits predicting possibilities for 2010, job seekers are finding multiple reasons both to cheer and jeer.
In a recent interview on ABC's This Week, White House economic adviser Lawrence Summers said he believes Spring will see a marked increase in jobs created throughout the US. That's when the country will stop losing jobs every month, and start gaining them. He points to November's falling unemployment rate (it fell by 10%) and the fact that only 11,000 jobs were lost last month, the fewest losses in 23 months.
Summers also said he believes the firm hand president Obama is taking with bankers should loosen up credit for the small businesses that make up the bulk of the US economy, allowing them to rehire employees who were laid off over the last two years. Summers claims job creation is the administration's top priority right now.
Add to that the fact that the House just approved a $155 billion jobs bill aimed at spending on "shovel ready" construction projects, plus saving public jobs for teachers, police, firefighters and the like. The Senate still has to approve the bill, but given the fact that $75 billion of those funds will come from leftover bank bailout money, it's chances are good.
Of course not everyone agrees with Summer's rosy outlook. Some economists point to the trend of businesses being been forced to become more efficient, and therefore hire fewer employees, will continue into 2010, and unemployment will, in fact, increase, or decrease very little.
And then there are the economic experts like Mikka Pineda who look back to the Great Depression, stating that the same valid concerns over excessive bank reserves and huge budget deficits slowed down the recovery. We hear those same concerns today, about banks holding back too much money without lending it out, and the government spending far more than it could ever possibly afford. Inflation is also a concern. Economic policy passed to assuage those fears could throw a recovering economy back into a recession, as it did in 1937.
And certain sectors of the unemployed population continue to rise. The number of workers without jobs in the 55-64 age group has just reached 1.6 million, and rose in November. It's hard to gauge how many chose to give up the job search and take early retirement, but those decisions can weigh heavily on the economy. And the number of students who return to school after unsuccessful job searches is rising as well.
The ugly isn't so negative for most of us, in that it affects those who can best afford it: the country's top CEOs. Pink slips are expected to proliferate their ranks before year end. Executive leadership expert Matt Stoddard points out that December is traditionally the most dangerous month for "fat cat" CEO's, as more are fired in this month than in any other. And with new regulations, scrutiny of bonuses and the desire to make a fresh start in the new year, this December looks to be partularly bleak for those top execs in the multi-million dollar salary club. Of course the firings make way for new execs in the corner offices, so we might see a game of executive musical chairs being played.
All in all, 2010 looks more promising for those of us in the rank and file, and less optimistic for those at the top. It could well be a very happy new year for the majority of American workers.