Updated with more perspective on the job-crashing Internet here and more from Vox Media here. Also, though some think there is a mighty economic transition happening, many readers and friends have pointed that I didn’t properly address the ‘lump labor fallacy‘ here, in which I incorrectly assume there is a static number of jobs that are going away. I still think there is perspective worth sharing below. More comments welcome.
In the next 20 years, the United States and the broader global economy will either dramatically rethink its employment structure or a history-altering societal change will take place.
Of course, unemployment numbers are gamed by those who give up on looking for jobs, but the idea here is that it’s hard to understand why anyone seems to think that the overall unemployment numbers for our country will trend anywhere but upward.
Let me be clear, this is armchair commentary from someone with absolutely no background in economics or geopolitical, socioeconomic trends, so I am writing this hoping for outside insight because I can’t figure this out.
Below, I (a) outline the problem as I see it, (b) look at big economic drivers that seem to be chances for more problems, (c) list all the opportunities I understand that could reverse somewhat this trend and then (d) highlight some of the transformational changes that could lie in wait for the next generation, before offering some more reading and then waiting to get yelled at in the comments.
“So forget about blogs and bloggers and blogging and focus on this – the cost and difficulty of publishing absolutely anything, by anyone, into a global medium, just got a whole lot lower. And the effects of that increased pool of potential producers is going to be vast.”
It’s the seemingly unintentional, passive-aggressive jab that I sometimes get from older or otherwise more established journalists, writers and editors. Most often and in many ways, I’m sure the sentiment is pristine in its accuracy, often abutted by the never-to-be-defended-against “it takes time,” which, of course is always true.
But I can’t help but think what’s happened since, say, 2007 or even later, is something bigger that is changing the value of a lot of once rock solid professional advice for young and otherwise aspiring journalists, and making it awfully hard out there.
For people just starting their careers, the damage may be deep and long-lasting, potentially creating a kind of “lost generation.” Studies suggest that an extended period of youthful joblessness can significantly depress lifetime income as people get stuck in jobs that are beneath their capabilities, or come to be seen by employers as damaged goods.
It’s the latest stylish trend piece at a time when general stories on an economy that might not return for two or three years are already old hat. A lot of the numbers are fuzzy and the effect may be questionable, but there’s no questioning that it’s daunting for many 20-somethings.
We graduated and walked into perhaps the worst economy since before our grandparents were our age. A few more distinctions this author has taken on has made those statistics seem even more frightening, but outside of the occasional sobbing, I try to remind myself that there’s no better time or place in the world than where I am now.
Since October, he also has been without a job, a combination of characteristics that some say comes with distinct disadvantages.
That’s because unemployment affects men differently than women – research shows joblessness often is emotionally harder for men to bear. And with the economy hemorrhaging high numbers of jobs, disproportionately in male-dominated industries, those disparate emotions – shame, anger, fear, vulnerability – are on display more than ever. These feelings often find their way into other parts of a man’s life, affecting relationships with friends, wife and children.
“Historically, men have been in the breadwinner role in families, and so their sense of self is wrapped up in their ability to provide,” said Jerry Jacobs, a University of Pennsylvania sociology professor whose research focuses on labor. “So even today, when men are unemployed, that comes as a different kind of blow than to women.”
Schuler was proud when he landed his job as a facilities engineer at a struggling hotel in Plymouth Meeting. But when his position became a casualty of his company’s struggles, he suffered.