The Future of Jobs in America
By: Tom Chatham – Author of The American Dream Lost
Many people have gone to collage and spent many hours of hard work preparing for a career they expected to be there and provide for them until retirement. Many of those people are now unemployed and cannot find even menial work to support themselves. The whole work paradigm in the U.S. has shifted. Many of the jobs that we used to have in the U.S. are gone and will never return, accept it and move on. Until you do that you will be stuck in a cycle of denial that will suck the determination out of you and set you up for repeated failure.
As stated in a previous article, The West Line and Americas Fading Glory, the domination of the U.S. as the world leader in production has passed and we will not get it back. A lot of the service related jobs that were created to fill in for the loss of manufacturing jobs were not sustainable and the national wealth we used to maintain those jobs is gone. We are shifting into a smaller, slower economy and those that can adapt to it will be able to provide a modest living for their family over the coming years. The standard of living that most Americans are used to is gone along with the jobs. Americans have lived beyond their means for many years and the shock of having to live a more modest standard of living will be difficult for many to adjust to.
There will be a market for high paying jobs in the tech industry and some other specialty careers but these jobs will be few in number and only the best in their field will have a chance to get them. Instead of hundreds vying for these jobs there will be tens of thousands for each one. Most people will be locked out of this high paying job sector so in order to prosper you must think in different terms. Jobs that provide a basic service or product to individuals will be the dominating sector in the future. It will be as it was many years ago where most people will specialize in one area that is needed by people on a local level.
The destruction of the job market will also spell the destruction of the big box stores and all of the products they import. Destruction of the national currency will make the cost of imports prohibitive to all but the richest in society. This will necessitate the return of localized production to supply the needs of society. The theory of economy in volume that created and enriched the multi-national conglomerates has reached a plateau, and the mom and pop operations that helped build and enrich this nation but were later destroyed by multi-nationals, will be to some extent the blueprint for future business operations. The increasing population and the rise of energy prices as our energy resources decline and become harder to extract, will necessitate the local production and distribution methods that once dominated the economy.
For those that have little chance of possessing the high paying jobs of the past, the future will require that you turn your energy and resources inward to embrace the vision of entrepreneurial activities. Creating a small independent business will be the best hope for those caught up in this new paradigm. The best businesses will be those that are labor intensive but require the least amount of equipment and infrastructure and can be shut down and reopened quickly depending on the economic climate. Those that offer products or services in demand by a populace that has little excess money for luxury items will find a strong market. Many of these types of businesses will require knowledge and specialty tools that must be possessed by the businessman in the conduct of daily operations. It is these tools and knowledge that will provide the value that customers seek.
Just to cite some examples to give you a better understanding lets look at four businesses. A butcher requires very little space and equipment. His value is in his ability to butcher many types of meat. A produce stand requires very little infrastructure. Its value is the ability of the owner to grow food that people require so they can eat every day. A mechanic only requires a well stocked tool box and the knowledge to repair cars. A carpenter only requires a well stocked box of carpentry tools and the knowledge to use them. While a butcher is locked into one task a grower can adjust to seasonal demands and produce different food products. A mechanic has the knowledge of mechanical equipment that allows him to repair things other than just cars. The carpenter can not only build a home but has the knowledge to repair and maintain it and to build other types of structures and even furniture depending on his abilities. You must decide what you like doing and acquire tools and skills in that vocation to create your own economic future.
One thing that most people need to seriously consider is the return to family farming. As discussed in the book, The American Dream Lost, about 2% of Americans now operate farms. Given the economic forces acting against us that number needs to increase to 15% – 20%. This will eliminate a large percentage of workers from the urban work force easing unemployment and provide stability for communities and families. A small family farm of 10 to 40 acres can provide employment, shelter, energy, clothing and food for a family no matter what the economic conditions are. For those that are considering sending their children to collage, that money may be better spent by buying 10 acres of farmland and some basic farm equipment and giving it to them to start their own business. No matter what happens in the future one thing is certain. People need to eat. One of the things that must also happen is the elimination of laws and regulations that hinder free enterprise and small businesses in particular. This must be done on a local level to be effective.
As the economy continues to deteriorate, those that foresee a return to local production and prepare to take advantage of it, will position themselves to prosper in the future. Large corporations can only be prosperous if the consumer base has sufficient spendable income to purchase the items it sells. With unemployment increasing and prices rising on many goods, spendable income will soon shrink to insignificant amounts. Those that foresee a major crash of the economy and are preparing for barter type services will most likely be some of the first ones with the ability to take advantage of the situation and prosper from it. Those that prepare for the transition to a new economy will enable an easier transition and help stave off the chaotic conditions that normally accompany these changes.