Jobs, jobs, jobs. This week we’re reading about job statistics, job disappointments and the future of jobs. At this point I’ve said jobs so many times that it doesn’t even feel like a word anymore, but- jobs!
Here is your Friday Five:
The Wall Street journal reports that joblessness in America has fallen to a four decade low. They’re careful to caution that low unemployment doesn’t necessarily mean an economic boom is on the way, and remind us that these numbers exclude discouraged job seekers. This statistic is not an update on the most recent BLS report, but a different measure:
“A low level of layoffs typically coincides with solid hiring. Employers added 215,000 jobs in March, a healthy increase. The unemployment rate ticked up to 5%, but the increase in part reflected more workers entering the labor force.”
Discouraged workers. Let’s talk a little bit more about them. Over at Quartz, Sarah Kendzior writes about the still low labour participation rate and the growth of the freelance and causal economy. What freelancers and casual workers don’t have is stability, and while there are certainly freelancers who enjoy the flexibility and ever-changing nature of that kind of employment, many are stuck freelancers or in casual, low paying work, against their will.
Although I write about the US job market month to month on B4J, I don’t often write about international markets or the international economy. But these are subjects that strategic HR people should always have an eye on. Recruiting is, like so many other businesses, increasingly international. The Economist reports that the slow-and-steady-on of world economies isn’t necessarily bad for business – like the US, many large markets are basically ok, neither good nor bad – but it could be bad for politics. And the International Monetary Fund is a bit concerned:
“The scenario the fund seems most concerned about is a steady slide in global GDP growth that feeds on itself by discouraging investment, thereby exacerbating political tensions, which in turn make fixing the economy even harder.”
Shifting gears to the tech world, educational startup CareerFoundry has raised an initial $5 million. The startup is a Berlin-based online learning platform focused on web development, iOS development, UX and UI design. CareerFoundry doesn’t just do lessons though, it also focuses on connecting learners with mentors and finding them good placements. “The idea is that it works with employers worldwide to place its alumni into paid jobs.”
Ah, the coming robot apocalypse and the promised land of a deep and healthy creative economy. My favourite topic! TechCrunch looks at the state of automation today and how we might find employment succour in creative work:
“While machines may be able to match us in logic, when it comes to creativity, they are woefully inadequate.
There are really only two human enterprises: creation and implementation. We design things, come up with interesting strategies and ideas and then we execute them. Whether that means building a physical product, writing code or organizing a global supply chain, all are channels for expressing our creative ideas and manifesting those ideas in the physical world.
We build technology to help us on the implementation side (for the most part). We haven’t yet managed to automate our creativity and critical thinking.”