Is Higher Unemployment the Real Norm?

Economists debate – endlessly, it would appear – the notion of unemployment and what rate is to be considered “normal.” While most sane observers would suggest that “normal” is a word best left to discussions of other things (outside the context of the current U.S. and world economies), the conversation is still worth having.

During the “bubble years” as they’re now affectionately (or derisively) known, economists often suggested that unemployment hovering around 5.5% was normal. And perhaps it was in that context. But it bears repeating that that “context” was decidedly abnormal. Those processing loan requests, building houses, selling mortgages, etc. during the bubble years were employed by a phenomenon that was created by the easy money policies of the Federal Reserve.

Unfortunately, fake economic booms can’t last forever, so everyone tied to the bubble that was created and then exacerbated by Alan Greenspan and Ben Bernanke, respectively, had to lose their jobs at some point. Now, the questions are – do those formerly employed folks possess the skills to compete in the modern employment market (sans all those fake jobs) and what is the new “normal” as it pertains to the unemployment rate.

Of course, that latter question simply begs another, i.e. – even though the U.S. government, via the Bureau of Labor Statistics, reports unemployment in the 8-9% range, the methodology used to arrive at that number is, in itself, flawed. The percentage of people out there who don’t have jobs (but want them) is over 15% at present, but that number is simply too ugly for politicians, so it’s largely ignored by those politicians, as well as the media and the masses.

At the end of the day, however, it might just be that 8.5% unemployment is the new normal. Or, if you’re a stickler for accuracy far beyond those at BLS, 15-16% is the new normal as it pertains to the true jobless rate.

Tags: , ,

Veterans Leading Revitalization of Baltimore Neighborhood

Operation Oliver is a project of the 6th Branch, a Veteran-led nonprofit that is taking an entirely new approach to Veteran employment in Oliver,  a notoriously blighted section of Baltimore City.  With Operation Oliver, the 6th Branch has created a new phenomenon in urban renewal – the Veteran Sponsored Community (VSC). In a VSC, military Veterans apply their leadership training and resourcefulness to aggressively tackle persistent problems that have crippled neighborhoods around the U.S. for decades.

Thus far, Operation Oliver has been a resounding success, albeit with some bumps in the road along the way. Residents, long-accustomed to empty promises from civic leaders and community organizations, were taken aback by the immediacy and the forcefulness with which the 6th Branch Vets got to work. In the first months after the project officially launched in July 2011, some citizens were concerned that the proper channels and procedures were not being followed. Many of those concerns have been put to rest, however, and the 6th Branch, local civic and religious leaders – and the citizens themselves – have banded together to resurrect a once-proud Baltimore neighborhood.

Of all the stories I’ve come across about the employment difficulties faced by Veterans returning from duty in Iraq and Afghanistan – and these are very real challenges that must continue to be addressed – this story is probably the most optimistic in that it connects very obvious dots that hadn’t occurred to me previously. Anyone who is familiar with the blighted areas of Baltimore – or any American city for that matter – knows that there are very real and visible needs that are not being met. Veterans bring a level of courage and resourcefulness to these areas that most civilians simply do not have. After serving in an active combat zone in the War on Terror, these Veterans are not afraid of drug dealers, street crime and abandoned buildings.

In fact, the Veterans of the 6th Branch saw those things in Oliver as obvious problems that should be solved immediately. And instead of studying the various perspectives involved, creating committees and holding meetings, the Vets simply got to work solving problems. The result of their efforts and their resolve is a community reborn – and legitimate hope that perhaps this model can be duplicated to the benefit of all Americans, both Veterans and civilians.

Tags: , , , , , ,

Telemetry Employment Opportunities

The field of telemetry has advanced in leaps and bounds over the past several years, as have opportunities for employment in the field. A look at employment trends in the market indicate an uptick that began in the beginning of 2006 that has not yet slowed down, even as overall unemployment has remained high during the same time frame.

In a very general sense, telemetry is a technology that allows for the remote manipulation and/or measurement of information. It is used to remotely collect or send data, especially in instances when it is not feasible for a human to be present to collect or monitor such data. Basic examples of telemetry include the sending and receiving of data to remote space stations or satellites, guided missile systems and heart monitoring devices.

For those seeking telemetry jobs, positions tend to be available with government agencies, healthcare institutions and private companies, and opportunities are frequently posted to technology-related job boards and and healthcare job boards. Among the many applications of telemetry are meteorology, space science (NASA frequently uses telemetry in space programs), defense, flight testing, agriculture, energy monitoring, water management and especially the medical field, to name just a few.

Tags: ,

Next Page →