Monday, May 24, 2010

The Class of 2010: Deep Trouble And No Way Out

(h/t Mish's Global Economic Analysis)

It's not easy being a new college graduate these days.

Just as most graduates of the Class of 2009 are resigning
themselves to more-or-less permanent unemployment
or underemployment, along comes another cohort of
new graduates to add to the competition.

According to the Wall Street Journal, these graduates:

"Will enter a labor force that neither wants nor needs them.
They will enter an economy where roughly 17% of people
aged 20-24 do not have a job, and where two million college
graduates are unemployed. They will enter a world where
they will compete tooth and nail for jobs as waitresses,
pizza delivery men, file clerks, bouncers, trainee busboys,
assistant baristas, interns at bodegas."

You can read the original article here.

Oh well, you might say. It's just what you'd expect of
sheltered, middle-and upper-class kids who went to
an expensive private college or Ivy League school,
who graduate with a "useless" Liberal Arts degree.

But, it's the kids with useful degrees (Science, Technology,
Engineering, Mathematics, Business and Finance) who
may be having the toughest time of all.

As my colleague Mish tells it:

"Ten months after graduating from Ohio State University
with a degree in civil engineering and three internships,
Matt Grant finally has a job - as a banquet waiter at a
Clarion Inn near Akron, Ohio.

" "It's discouraging right now" says, the 24-year-old,
who sent out nearly 100 applications for engineering
positions. "it's getting closer to the Class of 2010, their
graduation date. I'm starting to worry more".

And worry he should. Colleges from Harvard University
to Ohio State and everywhere in between are sending
almost two million young men and women a year into an
economy with almost 9.9% unemployment, up from
9.7% a few months ago.

And the problems don't end there. While the economy
is slowly "recovering", it has yet to create any meaningful
gains in employment. And, according to experts, this means
that those unfortunate enough to graduate in this recession
are likely blighted for life, as successive cohorts of graduates
compete with each other in an economy that is producing
progressively fewer and fewer entry-level jobs each year.

And then there's another problem. And that has to do with
the clash of values and perceptions between the new graduates
and those who would employ them.

For starters, let's take a look at the "typical" employing
manager at a company likely to have "professional
entry-level" openings. First of all, he's likely older - in
his 40's to his middle 50's. He doesn't "Facebook" or
"Twitter". If he "texts" at all, it's on one of those oversize
smartphones with a mini-keyboard. If he has a degree,
it probably took him more than four years to get it -
and his graduate degree (if he has one), is from night school.

The one thing he doesn't have is a sense of entitlement -
because when he graduated, between 1977 and 1982, the
economy from an employment standpoint was even
worse than it is today.

He bitterly remembers coming out of college in the
days of Jimmy Carter, with 10% unemployment,
18% inflation, and 21% interest rates. It probably
took him three to five years of trying before he
finally landed the professional-level career
position that gave him his start.

And now he's sitting across the table from
Mr. or Ms. Entitled College Graduate, wondering
just how he could be wasting his time talking
to this inhabitant of another planet, who has
nothing but expectations and no relevant
skills or experience to offer his organization,
regardless of the degree.

And, as he considers your application, he's
thinking of how his own college-graduate son's job
was outsourced to India and how his younger
kids can't find part-time jobs, having to compete
against adult illegal immigrants.

And then he remembers how it was "the college kids"
as much as anyone else that brought us The
Great Kenyan as President and the plethora of
job-destroying laws and regulations spewing forth
from Congress. And he knows all too well that The
Kenyan and his Congressional minions, while destroying
the real economy of Main Street, have given a free pass
to Wall Street and the large multinational corporations
who caused the current economic mess.

And, finally, he remembers the "informal" conversation
he had with his boss, hinting that the few positions they
might create this year should go to his family friends and
relatives, provided they have the right skills and

Translation: That means no job for you.

But, here's what you can do in the meantime. Take any job
you can find. Move back home if you have to. Keep applying
for jobs, even if you don't expect a reply right away. Try to
develop a new skill unrelated to what you studied in college;
it just might land you that job. And get politically active.

No, I don't mean join the Democrat or Republican parties.
The Democrats are socialists in sheep's clothing - and if
you'd like to see where their policies lead, just look at
Europe - street battles between the masses of private-sector
unemployed and "protected classes" of government employees,
and both of them fighting weak, feckless governments
that can deliver neither a social safety net nor social order.

And the Republicans are just as bad - hiding behind the
mantra of "free enterprise" and "property rights", they
conspired with Wall Street and the great Corporations
to outsource our production base and destroy the
real economy. In its place, they created a Ponzi Scheme
of Debt and Entitlements that we cannot afford and will
never be able to repay.

Outsourcing, job exportation, unchecked illegal
immigration, skyrocketing debt and a destroyed
real economy didn't just happen - they were deliberately
created by a Congress utterly and completely in hock
to the banksters, oligarchs and kleptocrats who profited
from them.

So, when you come home at the end of the day, after
another fruitless day of job hunting or doing your
shift at Starbucks or McDonalds, consider your
political options. Don't be afraid to go extreme -
at this point, you have nothing to lose.

If you are a "liberal" - that is, if you have "progressive"
views on the environment, race relations, class
and gender equity and so forth, you need to take
a good hard look at how those views impact you and
your future. If you look hard, you'll see that future
playing out in Europe right now - with street battles,
skyrocketing unemployment, and weak, indecisive
governments too bound up by "Political Correctness"
to take the bold, draconian, even undemocratic measures
necessary to restore order and a reasonable prosperity.

I'm not talking Hitler here - but a De Gaulle, a Franco, an
Adenauer or a Churchill would not shrink in an instant
from imposing whatever drastic measures might be needed.

And if you don't know who those gentlemen were, then
your education was seriously deficient.

And if you are by some chance a conservative, then you
need to abandon the Republican Party right now, as it
has become nothing more than a club of craven apologists
for Wall Street, the outsourcers, the unfree and unfair
traders, and large-corporation America, none of whom have
a place for you in their scheme of things.

And if the Tea Party isn't exactly your cup of tea (although
Tea is gaining more and more fans with each passing day),
you still have the ultimate weapon in your hands -The Vote.

And all you need to remember is one thing - the fate an
incumbent fears most is being turned out of office at
the next election. So just remember - this November,
if your Senator or Representative voted for the
bailouts, voted for the mess that is "healthcare reform",
voted against financial reform - indeed, if he voted for
anything that benefits the "big boys" rather than you,
your job is simple - regardless of party or ideology,
You Vote For The Other Guy.

It's that simple. Really. And if enough of us put enough
"other guys" (and gals) in office this fall, we just might
get change we can believe in - for a change.

No comments:

Post a Comment