The Sadness and Hope of the Future Job Market and Minorities

By Seattle Slim

First of all, I wanted to take this time out to say, truly, happy Labor Day.  Please take the time out to thank God for being employed, because millions upon millions of Americans currently are not, and some have not been for two years.  I know I’m grateful.  I remember what it felt like to be unemployed and not knowing what was going to happen as far as work was concerned.  I don’t wish that feeling on anyone. 

If you are currently without work, my heart and my prayers go out to you.  Been there and it’s a tough place.  It’s the uncertainty of rent payments, bills and groceries that cannot be afforded and when they ever will be.  Sometimes as humans we get big heads, but this entire week has been very sobering for me, reading about all of these people without work.  Luckily, I’ve found solace in my Sociology course, as it explains so many things, but it’s also disheartening because the type of change needed to get us out of this mess is something Americans aren’t really interested in dealing with.  I’m talking about action.  I’m talking about massive protests, lobbying, the whole nine yards.  Instead, people are easily swayed by two parties who don’t really give a damn: they either throw money at the problem or want to give tax cuts to add insult to injury. 

Unfortunately, things don’t look like they will be getting better until about 2014, and even then, the world as we know it, could be turned upside down.  Sometimes I wonder if this is the fall to our Roman empire…

Whenever companies start hiring freely again, job-seekers with specialized skills and education will have plenty of good opportunities. Others will face a choice: Take a job with low pay — or none at all.

Job creation likely will remain weak for months or even years. But once employers do step up hiring, some economists expect job openings to fall mainly into two categories of roughly equal numbers:

• Professional fields with higher pay. Think lawyers, research scientists and software engineers.

• Lower-skill and lower-paying jobs, such as home health-care aides and store clerks.

Those in between? Their outlook is bleaker. Economists foresee fewer moderately paid factory supervisors, postal workers and office administrators.

That’s the sobering message American workers face as they celebrate Labor Day at a time of high unemployment, scant hiring and a widespread loss of job security. Not until 2014 or later is the nation expected to have regained all, or nearly all, the 8.4 million jobs lost to the recession. Millions of lost jobs in real estate, for example, aren’t likely to be restored this decade, if ever. (Source)

We’re not strangers here to how bad the situation is, and we know that when it rains for the majority, it pours for minorities, who are suffering more from the effects of this recession and crisis we are in.  Those factory/manufacturing jobs that so many minorities relied upon have been disappearing for years–I saw this happening as early as 2006 when I used to be a Staffing Coordinator–and things appear to be getting worse.

If the middle class as we know it vanishes, thereby possibly expelling anything such as a “lower middle class” and landing people squarely into “haves” and “have nots” (shudders…. For some reason, I think of the ugliest parts of American and world history during and after industrialization), then this render minorities less competitive and we all know what this means. 

Just like Americans as a whole have to be more competitive, minorities have to be extremely competitive because of the barriers or obstacles that affect us more than any other group in this country.

I am hopeful though.  This is the time for us to look forward and start preparing the “future” for the future.  This is the time to make that change because our lives (and livelihoods) depend on it.  We need to be able to make it across the finish line just as quickly (if not quicker) than that majority because we cannot afford to come out of this fiasco losing in 2014 (or 2018 as I’ve seen in other reports). 

All of those changes that we’ve talked about, all of those tenets of advancement we’ve admired from people like Martin Luther King Jr. to Malcolm X to Marcus Garvey to Fannie Lou Hamer need to be put into action now.  Now is the time to act.  Now is the time to begin rising from ashes.  This is a perfect opportunity for minority owned businesses, and a good opportunity to support each other and to build wealth slowly.  This is a good time to encourage our children to work towards higher education so that they can end up on the higher end of the spectrum, as mentioned in the article.  This is the time to create and to rebuild.

We see what happens when we fall and do not move together.  We have seen what happens when we stay silent and “toe the line” hoping that somehow as a unit we will surpass and reach the level of the majority.  The goal doesn’t even have to be to acquire what the majority has, but to build our own infrastructure so that we too can survive in this increasingly hound of hell eat dog world.

I fear that if we do not invest in each other, be it financially, through mentorship, through building and creating, etc. that we will be at an even greater disadvantage.  And if that happens, if we find ourselves not competing and not crossing that finish line, what then?  What will happen to us?