Generation Jobless

The Wall Street Journal has been focusing on youth unemployment and other economic issues pertaining to 20-somethings.

This video segment, called “Generation Jobless: Major or Money?” does a good job of breaking down some of the increasingly important decisions students have to make when choosing their major.

It seems like there are, of course, a lot of reasons for getting a major in the hard sciences like math and engineering. However, the lack of a good primary school education and competition makes a degree in the hard sciences difficult for many American students.

Take a look at the video.

 

 

 


Unemployment creeps down, but barely

The Labor Department released unemployment and job growth numbers Friday morning.

The unemployment rate crept down to 9 percent in October, after staying at 9.1 percent for the past three consecutive months. However, despite that small bit of good news,  the country added a less-than-expected 80,000 jobs last moth, according to the Labor Department on Friday.

The unemployment rate hasn’t been below 9 percent since March 2011.
How do you guys feel about this latest news? Is it a good sign of things to come or further proof of our stagnant economy?


Staying Put

One of the results of a down economy is that people are often reluctant to pull up stakes and move, the Associated Press reported this trend to be true in the current economy.

 

The report confirmed that young Americans that are staying close to home, unwilling or unable to bear the cost.

 

That Americans aren’t moving just ads to the evidence that the country is stagnating. Businesses aren’t hiring, banks aren’t lending, young adults can’t find career building work, and people aren’t leaving their hometown.

 

What was also interesting from the AP report is that young college graduates are staying in those college towns that they got a degree in. To a certain extent this makes sense because they stay in a place more comfortable and familiar with many close contacts. At the same time, being stuck in an environment that is already highly competitive and oversaturated with talent may be holding many graduates back.

 

What do you think? Do you find it easier right now to stay in your home town to find employment, or would you branch out if you could?


Starbucks works to create jobs, small business loans

So I walked into Starbucks this morning to discover a ton of signs and bracelets filling the store. Everything read, “This Country Needs Jobs.”

Starting today, Starbucks has teamed up with a network of community-based financial institutions to help create jobs. Anyone can make a tax-deductable contribution at a Starbucks store or online to the Create Jobs for USA Fund. The money will go to companies so they can hire or retain American workers.

The Starbucks Foundation is putting up $5 million for the campaign and is encouraging others to chip in. All the funds collected are slated for the Community Development Financial Institution, firms that can add jobs or help stem job losses.

People were so pleased by the idea that a group has mentioned nominating Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz as a third party candidate for president.

“I have no interest in politics, Matt,” Schultz told TODAY’s Matt Lauer. “I run a coffee business and I’m trying to recognize that our business can help small businesses raise money to create jobs that unfortunately Washington and the banks are not doing.”
You can watch the clip here.

I don’t know how much good it will do, but I’m excited about the initiative. And to think, before these job creation flyers, I was most excited about the return of the red holiday cups!


New Books Highlight the Value of Education Outside of School

It may seem counterintuitive to think that the most successful people are the ones that chose to forgo a formal education, but this has often been proved to be the case. Clearly after Steve Jobs died there was an increased interest in how he lived his life and became one of the most successful and innovative people in the world.

 

The new Steve Jobs biography by Walter Isaacson has clearly gained a lot of attention. People just want to know the secret to this innovator’s success.

 

How is it that a man who dropped out of college after only one semester could achieve such spectacular success? The answer wasn’t that he ditched educating himself, he just ditched the institution.

 

What many students who enter institutions of higher learning often fail to do is understand that the education received in school is incomplete. To take advantage of an education one must go above and beyond what is learned in a classroom.

 

That is what makes the college dropouts turned billionaires successful. It’s not dropping out of school to have more leisure time and less work, but to work harder and pursue a passion beyond what can be taught in any school. You also can’t be afraid to fail.

 

A new book by Michael Ellsberg called, “The Education of Millionaires: It’s Not What You Think and It’s Not Too Late,” talks about how current college students are not getting enough out of their degrees and shoveling out money for an education that won’t serve their interests down the line.

 

The book talks about how schools train students for middle management jobs that are simply disappearing. The skills that are most important for a highly successful career in the future are in creating a small business, but how many people learn about that as an undergraduate in college?

 

While clearly colleges provide many opportunities for success, they rarely push students to take risks or be truly innovative. This task falls mostly on the individual. In a time of great economic stress and stagnation, it’s the risk-takers and the innovative that are most likely to pull the country out of it.


Halloween: The perfect holiday for the unemployed

Happy Halloween! In the spirit of the holiday I decided to blog today about why Halloween should be a favorite holiday of the unemployed. I love creative costumes and that is why I love the holiday, but there are an assortment of reasons why anyone who is unemployed should love it as well.

The List:
– FREE Candy
– Cheap DIY Costumes
– Seasonal employment (yes I will dress like a zombie and get paid to “work” a party!)
– FREE Candy (so great it should definitely be on this list twice)

This year there is another reason why I am loving this holiday so much. Today, on Oct. 31, the Occupy Wall St. Movement is becoming Occupy Halloween.

This sign is not a joke. It is the slogan on the website promoting the “movement.” They are asking people to dress up as superheroes and take on the “Corporate evil villains.” I may be alone in this, but I think that might be one of the funniest things I have seen in regards to Halloween.

I am also loving all of the ridiculous costumes based on the Occupy movement.

 Hilarious! Happy Halloween!


The Student Loan Crisis on the Big Stage

Just last week I wrote on Pick Your Future about the growing and out of control student loan industry, and it seems like the issue has reached the highest levels of government.

The Obama Administration released a plan to deal with this problem and to set things right, but is it truly a solution? As with all contentious policy proposals by presidential administrations, there is always a deeply political element to every plan endorsed.

The politics behind the plan are far less important to regular people than what will actually happen with the policy.

All the way back in 2010, there was a massive federal intervention into the student loan industry. This was intended to get costs under control and ensure that the next generation has easy access to the highest levels of education in this country. Banks were given huge subsidies to lend money to students across the United States, even in situations where there is a high risk of default. The intent was to ensure access to education for student from low and middle income families.

There were certainly people who were critical of that plan at the time, but the opposition was only mild because it wasn’t seen to be the critical issue of the day.

Essentially the banks have no financial risk because the government will simply step in if a large amount of loan recipients default. In many regards the situation sounds similar to the housing bubble that burst in 2008, nearly bringing down the American economy. Obviously, nobody wants that to happen.

So the latest plan will cap student loan payment to give students a little more leeway and cash in their pockets. But an Atlantic article peeked into the numbers and showed that the money staying in student’s pockets remains rather miniscule. The savings would be around $10 a month. That’s not exactly a bonanza.

Simply pushing the loan industry to forgive unpaid student loans could make student debtors happy in the short term, but would be financially ruinous in the long term. An education requires money and someone, somewhere will have to pay for it.

The problem with what amounts to a bailout of students and the student loan industry, is that it merely tries to cure a symptom to a much larger and deeper problem. Unfortunately the “cure” might make the problem even worse than what we had before.

If there is a comparison it would be like how doctors in the 18th century used to bleed their patients and give them mercury to clear their system when they became sick. The result was usually that the patient became more sick or even died.

The costs of education for either students or other members of society are becoming prohibitive and that is the huge problem the nation is facing. The reason that so many students can’t pay back their loans right now is because they can’t find a job even after receiving a high priced degree.

There is sure to be much more information to come as the situation develops.


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