The economy is a moving target. What you knew ten or twenty years ago might not apply today. Added to that is the fact that financial news shows tend to specialize in gloom and doom, because good news doesn’t sell.
For the last ten years we’ve been suffering through one of the worst labor markets in financial history. In 2008 and 2009 we were seeing hundreds of thousands of people losing their jobs every month. Millions of households were totally unprepared for that eventuality and were forced to walk away from homes they could no longer afford. An entire generation of kids remember losing their big room and moving into a small, cramped apartment or maybe being forced to share limited space with relatives. That kind of financial trauma leaves an indelible mark. But the situation is much different today.
What a Difference a Decade Makes
Today we’re eight years of steady job creation away from the greatest economic collapse of our generation. Jobless claims have reached a generational low and employers are scrambling to find enough help. Not only has job creation exceeded expectations; it's surpassed population growth through all of 2015 and so far in 2016.
Not All the News is Great
While the situation is better for low wage jobs, higher-paying positions in fields like finance ares till hurting. But though there were fewer new jobs offering high wages,, there were increased openings for positions requiring professional training or certification. Once again the job market numbers are signaling the value of training and education.
The Quits Rate
Another bit of good news in the numbers is called the quits rate. Of all the people who lost jobs, two-thirds voluntarily left those positions. When people are quitting jobs, instead of getting fired or laid off, it’s usually because they’re either confident of getting a new job or they already have a better one. The higher the quits rate, the better it is for the economy, because most people are leaving for jobs that pay better.
We’re coming up on the holidays and companies are really sweating finding enough workers to get it all done. Retailers like Target, Walmart and Amazon are hiring thousands of extra workers for the holidays. Amazon is bringing in 120,000 all by itself. Starting wages for seasonal workers are over a dollar an hour higher this year, as companies are sweating being able to find enough seasonal labor.
Make Some Extra Money
If you want to pull in some extra cash now’s the time to do it. There are, literally, tens of thousands of seasonal jobs out there available to almost anyone with a pulse. Companies are encouraging people to apply, even if they don’t have specific experience in that industry. The retail industry needs bodies, with some even offering signing bonuses and employee parties as perks.
For a decade we suffered through a lousy job market and it became a frame of mind for many people. Today the situation is different and employers actually have to be nice to you, in fact they really need you to apply for a holiday job. So get out there and cash in. In my experience this kind of job market is very rare and temporary; enjoy it while it lasts.