Part 78: We Are Great And Doing Well – How Small & Mid Sized Companies Grow

There has been talk that the country and the economy are doing poorly and we are no longer a great country. With this in mind some facts might be helpful. We entered the so called “new normal” economy a term coined in 2008 after the financial crisis, but preceded by offshoring, the internet, robotics and exacerbated by government gridlock and other factors. The US is no longer an island as Thomas Friedman said in his famous book in 2005, “The World is Flat”. Our GDP growth has been growing 2% over the past 4 years vs. 3% prior to that, during the last half-century. While China and India are the big beneficiaries of globalization we are actually doing quite well. No other major industrialized country is ahead of us. Last year we grew 70% more than EU and Japan, the same as Australia, Canada, México and 5x Russia. We added some 2.6 million jobs/year during the last 4 decades (and well after the impact of the 2009 recovery). Interestingly, this is 1.0 million jobs more/year than in the prior half century. The unemployment rate has fallen 50% from 2008, even though there are many discouraged and unemployable workers left on the sidelines. The real opportunities and what makes the U.S. special is our innovations in areas like IT and Biotech where we remain the world leaders. IT is the big market and thirty seven percent of these jobs are in the US.

For sure many people’s wages have stagnated due to the realities of the new normal economy. One simply can’t compete where manufacturing wages are so low that no amount of increased productivity can make up the gap. Even China can’t compete with the likes of Vietnam. Thailand and the Philippines which is 50% less than even China. Thousands of Northeast US factories closed long before offshoring, during the 1970’s Sunbelt relocation. India’s tech wages are some 20-25% below ours which is where much of the help desk and lower level support have gone. That may be unfortunate but it’s a realty; make a profit or go out of business. Many people who have lost their jobs or stagnated, due to factory closure or technological changes, and have not upgraded their skill set and have been left behind. To give these people a false sense of hope that the happy days of the 1960’s will return is a fable and a cause of unrest in the populace. There are 4 solutions, 2 good ones and 2 bad ones. 1: Get retrained in a viable occupation. 2. Enter the growing workforce as a temp. 3. Stay in a stagnant job and occupation and accept reality. 4. Be angry, blame others and get nowhere.

To get ahead one should get retrained for a higher paying job with a future. Here are just a few jobs not requiring post graduate degrees: Nurse Practitioner $110K: growing 33.7% by 2012 with 37K new openings; Software Developers $93K up 23%, 140K openings; Dental Hygienists $71K up 33%, 66K openings, Physical Therapists; $113K, 33% growth, 44K openings, with many more in the tech and healthcare sector. Outside these areas are substantial opportunities: Market Research Analysts at $114K salary/year, Marketing Managers at $123K, Accountants at $65K, School Psychologists at $68K, Mechanical Engineers at $82K and Operations Researchers at $75K.

Then there are temps job which can provide entry into full time corporate jobs. Temp jobs have grown at a compounded rate of 5½% or almost over 2½ times the general employment rate overall, with a workforce of over 3 million, up 340K over the last decade.

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