The United States’ job climate is far from ideal at the moment, with high unemployment rates and low minimum wages continuing to make life difficult for many people. History suggests that the U.S. will eventually emerge from this difficult period, primarily because struggles in the job market have occurred in the past before fading. Still, it’s worth noting that it’s difficult to pinpoint an accurate historical reference point for this, largely because the current U.S. job climate consists of many job functions that did not exist a decade or two ago.
The emerging of contemporary job functions — from professional bloggers and social media strategists to app developers and data miners — is one reason why the current U.S. job climate is a unique one, history-wise. Technology has paved the way for an abundance of new job types that have provided a breath of relief for certain technologically-inclined specialists within a landscape of widespread unemployment.
The history of career trends in the U.S. is worth looking at because it can provide career ideas for many seeking employment. By being aware of how outdated or modernistic a certain job function is, one can better estimate their future job stability if they plan to pursue that field. It can also prove beneficial for business owners as they aim for their business to remain relevant.
Higher Population = Higher Unemployment
It goes without saying that there are more eligible workers today than in the 1970s. The problem is that, despite there being more workers today, there are more people unemployed as well. Combine that with the fact that minimum wage has not adjusted appropriately with inflation; it’s easy to see why the country’s employment-population ratio continues to worsen.
The New York Times touched on the employment-population ratio, mentioning that prior to the recession 63% of people age 16 and over were employed. Today, that number is around 58%. Whereas the unemployment rate was only 5% in 2005, it was 7.8% in 2012. The unemployment has dipped as of late, but most of the newly added jobs are part-time.
A worsening unemployment-population ratio, in addition to the unemployment rate only dropping due to unstable part-time jobs, does not paint a pretty picture of the current state of the U.S. job market.
Cutting-Edge Is More Inviting Than Ever
Recent college graduates find themselves in the unfortunate position of being thrust into an unstable job market. When contemplating career paths within their degree’s niche, many areas of study share a certain component: cutting-edge technology. Whether one is in the medical, science, financial or certified electrician education industries, there is always a technological innovation worth exploring within one’s field today.
As graduates see both a poor job market and the potential to be involved with something cutting-edge, many of them have opted for unconventional approaches to get their foot in the door. By forming a blog or online portfolio, they present themselves to prospective employers in an appropriately tech-savvy light. A major difference in career trends between today and the past is the average college graduate’s gravitation toward cutting-edge innovation, as opposed to conventional cubicle aspirations.
Innovation Provides Hope
The light at the end of any unemployed-filled tunnel is the prospect of innovation, specifically the type that results in job growth and career opportunities. In 2014, job-seekers tend to be more open to alternative job functions than in the past, especially if it aligns with their field of study or previous work experience.
The sheer method of finding a job today is different than in the past as well, with sites like LinkedIn and Craigslist becoming the go-to way to find jobs as opposed to traditional sources like newspapers. Innovation is everywhere in the 2014 job market — from how to find a job, to what one’s actual job function entails. That’s what separates it from past career trends.