The competition for jobs in the United States is absolutely brutal right now, and it is about to get worse. A new wave of layoffs is sweeping across America. During tough economic times, Wall Street favors companies that are able to cut costs, and the fastest way to "cut costs" is to eliminate employees. After a period of relative stability, the employment picture in the U.S. is starting to get bleaker again. New applications for unemployment benefits have now been above 400,000 for 15 straight weeks. Finding a good job is kind of like winning the lottery in this economy. Our federal government and the state governments have made it incredibly complicated and extremely expensive to have employees on the payroll. It is getting harder and harder to get a large enough return to justify the time and expense that hiring employees requires. So many firms now find themselves trying to do more with the employees that they already have. Other companies are turning to temp agencies as a way to reduce costs and increase workplace flexibility. A lot of the big corporations are sending as much work as they can overseas where the wages are far lower and where the regulatory environment is much simpler. All of this is really bad news for American workers that just want good jobs that will enable them to provide for their families.
When we first started seeing huge numbers of layoffs a few years ago, I encouraged people to look into government jobs because I thought that they would be a lot more stable in this economic environment.
But today that is no longer true. In fact, state and local governments all over the United States are responding to massive budget problems by slashing payrolls in an unprecedented fashion.
Sadly, the reality is that the number of "secure jobs" is rapidly declining in America. If you have a "job" ("just over broke") right now, you might not have it for long. That is one reason why everyone should be trying to become more independent of the system.
Once upon a time the U.S. economy produced a seemingly endless supply of good jobs. This helped us develop the largest and most vibrant middle class in modern world history.
But now employees are regarded as "costly liabilities", and businesses and governments alike are trying to reduce those "liabilities" as much as they can.
This summer the pace of layoffs seems to be accelerating all over the nation. Just check out what has been happening over the past few weeks....
-Lockheed Martin has made "voluntary layoff offers" to 6,500 employees.
-Detroit is losing even more jobs. American Axle & Manufacturing Holdings has told the remaining 300 workers at its manufacturing facility in Detroit that their jobs will be ending in early 2012.
-Layoff notices have been sent to 519 employees of Milwaukee Public Schools, and more than 400 open positions are going to go unfilled.
-The Gap has announced that up to 200 stores will be closed over the next two years.
-Cisco has announced plans to lay off 9 percent of their total workforce.
-Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel says that 625 city employees will be losing their jobs as a result of cutbacks.
-Pharmaceutical giant Merck recently dumped 51 workers from an office in Raleigh, North Carolina.
-Perkins has revealed that they will be closing 58 restaurants.
-This week, Goldman Sachs announced that they will be eliminating 1,000 jobs.
-Cracker Barrel is rapidly reducing staff at its headquarters.
-Telecommunications and web marketing firm Crexendo has announced that it will be laying off about 30 percent of its workforce.
-Borders has announced that they will be shutting down their remaining 399 stores and that 10,700 employees will lose their jobs.
-Now that the space shuttle program has ended, thousands of NASA employees will be losing their jobs.
Sadly, there are hundreds of more examples of recent layoffs and job losses. One website that tracks these layoffs daily is Daily Job Cuts. It is pretty sad when there are entire websites that are devoted to chronicling how fast our economy is bleeding jobs.
What is worse is that it looks like the pace of layoffs is going to keep increasing.
One report that was recently released found that the number of job cuts being planned by U.S. employers increased by 11.6% in June.
That is not good news.
Things don't look good for employees of state and local governments either.
State and local governments have eliminated approximately 142,000 jobs so far this year.
That is bad, but this is just the beginning.
UBS Investment Research is projecting that state and local governments in the U.S. will combine to slash a whopping 450,000 jobs by the end of next year.
Barack Obama and Ben Bernanke keep trying to tell us that the economy is improving, but that simply is not the case. Yes, some of the largest corporations have announced big earnings, but that is not translating into lots of jobs for American workers.
Today, most large corporations only want to have as many U.S. workers as absolutely necessary. In a world where labor has been globalized, it just doesn't make sense for corporations to shell out massive amounts of money to American workers when they can legally get away with paying slave labor wages to workers on the other side of the globe.
So if it seems like it is far harder to get a good job in America today than it used to be, the truth is that you are not imagining things.
Our entire system discourages job creation inside the United States. Every single year, even more ridiculous job-killing regulations are being passed on the federal and state levels. It has become extremely expensive and ridiculously complicated to hire people.
So how are American families surviving? Those that still do have jobs are finding that wages are not going up but the cost of living rapidly is. Many American families are making up the difference by using their credit cards more.
In June, credit card purchases in the U.S. increased by 10.7 percent compared to the same month a year ago.
It looks like a whole lot of people have not learned their lessons about how bad credit card debt is.
Millions of other American families have fallen out of the middle class completely. Today, one out of every six Americans is enrolled in at least one government anti-poverty program. The level of economic suffering in this country continues to soar.
In fact, the number of Americans that are now sleeping in their cars or living in tent cities remains at staggering levels.
What we are witnessing in this country is not just a "recession" or an "economic downturn". What we are witnessing are fundamental economic changes.
Until there are fundamental policy changes in the United States, there will continue to be huge waves of layoffs and millions of jobs will continue to be shipped out of the country.
In the old days, one could go to college, get a good job with one company for 30 years and retire with a big, fat pension.
Now, that way of doing things is completely and totally dead.
Today, there is virtually no loyalty out there. It doesn't matter how long you have been working at a particular job. When it becomes financially expedient to get rid of you, that is exactly what is going to happen.
It is a cold, cruel world out there right now. Don't assume that you will always have a good job. The world is rapidly changing.
Don't get caught in the trap of believing that the way that things were is the way that things are always going to be in the future.