July 19th, 2012
02:35 PM ET

Is America falling behind in the skilled worker race?

By Neil Ruiz and Shyamali Choudhury, Special to CNN

Neil G. Ruiz is a senior policy analyst and Shyamali Choudhury is a researcher at the Brookings Institution Metropolitan Policy Program. The views expressed are solely those of the authors.

The search for skills has been a daunting task for U.S. companies trying to find the right person to fill well paying and highly skilled jobs. A high-skilled workforce is an essential input to economic growth in the fast-growing knowledge economy, and specialized skills – often requiring education or experience in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics – are critical to supporting innovation in fields as diverse as computers, medicine, and communication.

Instead of relying on classified sections of newspapers or local networks to find the perfect match, companies have to search far and wide for skills in high demand. Yet despite high unemployment rates, many employers report they’re struggling in the job matching process, frequently complaining that there’s a mismatch between the available domestic workforce and the skills they are demanding.

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Topics: Economy • Jobs • United States
Starbucks, charity and U.S. job creation
May 4th, 2012
08:21 AM ET

Starbucks, charity and U.S. job creation

Editor's Note: Edward Alden is a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, where he writes the blog Renewing America. The following is reprinted with the permission of CFR.org.

By Edward Alden, CFR.org

I am rarely surprised when I go to Starbucks. The coffee is always about the same (good), and the menu of pastry items is thoroughly predictable (and not so good). But the other day, amidst the CDs and other miscellany at checkout, I noticed a small badge asking for a $5 donation. “Let’s Create JOBS forUSA” it implored, offering a snazzy red, white, and blue wristband in return.

I was taken aback.  I have donated to help poor children, to end famines,  to cure and prevent diseases, to help the homeless, to build bike trails, to save wild animals and wild places, and dozens of other causes. But it had never occurred to me to make a charitable contribution to “create JOBS.” Have we as a country really sunk this far? Must we now rely on charity to employ Americans? FULL POST

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Topics: Business • Jobs • United States
April 28th, 2012
01:00 PM ET

Zakaria: Buffett Rule is bad politics for Obama

Editor's Note: Tune in Sunday at 10a.m. or 1p.m. ET for Fareed Zakaria GPS on CNN.

By Fareed Zakaria, CNN

After months of meandering, it seems President Barack Obama's re-election campaign has settled on a theme. The problem is - it's the wrong one.

The "Buffett Rule" tax on millionaires has become Obama's bumper sticker. The proposal is reasonable - but it does not deserve the attention Obama is showering on it. It raises a trivial sum of money - $47 billion over the next 10 years - during which period the federal government will spend $45 trillion. It adds one more layer to a tax code that is already the most complex and corrupt in the industrialized world.

The focus on the Buffett Rule is also bad politics in the long run for Obama. While polls might momentarily show that it works, Americans are generally aspirational, not envious. Over the years voters tend to support a government that focuses on creating opportunity rather than one that tries to reduce inequality. Bill Clinton and Tony Blair's great feat was to position themselves as pro-market, pro-growth, pro-opportunity progressives. Obama should not fritter away that asset. FULL POST

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Topics: 2012 Election • Economy • Jobs • President Obama
Lumberjack worst job of 2012; computer programmer best
April 12th, 2012
11:21 AM ET

Lumberjack worst job of 2012; computer programmer best

Editor's Note: The following text is from GlobalPost, which provides excellent coverage of world news – importantmoving and just odd.

By David Trifunov, GlobalPost

Obviously, ax throwing and logrolling are not part of the selection criteria.

CareerCast.com suggests lumberjack is the worst job you could have in 2012, while computer programmer ranks at the top.

“The top-rated jobs have few physical demands, minimal stress, a good working environment and a strong hiring outlook,” said Tony Lee, publisher of CareerCast.com's 2012 Jobs Rated Report. “Conversely, lumberjacks and dairy farmers, two of the worst jobs in the nation, work in physically demanding, precarious, low-paying professions with a weak hiring outlook.”

The website ranks occupations based on five areas: environment (physical and emotional), income, outlook, physical demands and stress.

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Topics: Jobs
The global youth unemployment crisis
March 9th, 2012
12:09 PM ET

The global youth unemployment crisis

Editor’s Note: This is an edited version of an article from the ‘Oxford Analytica Daily Brief’. Oxford Analytica is a global analysis and advisory firm that draws on a worldwide network of experts to advise its clients on their strategy and performance.

From the ‘Occupy’ phenomenon to last year’s ‘Arab Spring’ uprisings, young people have been at the forefront of recent social protest trends. There is nothing new in youth-led protest; but since the 2008-2009 global financial crisis, youth unemployment levels have remained persistently high across the world. Especially in countries facing budget austerity, high youth unemployment levels could stoke significant social unrest.

In addition to stability questions, there’s the obvious economic impact: Young workers facing prolonged unemployment are at risk of years of low compensation once they eventually re-join the workforce. They are even at risk of permanent exclusion from job markets. FULL POST

Topics: Jobs • Youth
February 26th, 2012
08:50 AM ET

Zakaria: Obama's oil problem

Editor's Note: Be sure to catch GPS every Sunday at 10a.m. and 1p.m. EST. If you miss it, you can buy episodes on iTunes.

By Fareed Zakaria, CNN

The American economy seems to have picked up. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is hovering around 13,000 - the highest since the financial crisis began in May 2008. The NASDAQ is actually at its highest level since the technology bubble burst more than a decade ago. Stock prices aren't everything but data from the economy on the ground is also slowly getting better. Jobless claims are down; housing starts are up. Things do seem to be getting better, slowly but surely.

This is all good news for President Obama because there is a very strong correlation between economic growth and a president's prospects for reelection. The unemployment numbers are still pretty high but they are falling. Also, many models suggest that unemployment is not the crucial statistic to determine whether a President will win reelection.

Most people are employed. It's the rise in per capita GDP - the average person's income rise - that determines whether they feel things are getting better and thus whether they will vote for the incumbent or seek a change.

So does that mean the economy - and the president - are in good shape?

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Topics: 2012 Election • Economy • Fareed's Take • Iran • Jobs • Oil • United States
Lindsay: What should you major in?
February 3rd, 2012
07:13 PM ET

Lindsay: What should you major in?

Editor's Note: Dr. James M. Lindsay is a Senior Vice President at the Council on Foreign Relations and co-author of America Unbound: The Bush Revolution in Foreign Policy. Visit his blog here and follow him on Twitter.

By James M. LindsayCFR.org

The United States is now moving into the time of year when colleges begin sending out their admissions offers. So what subject should you major in?

(Or in the case of most people reading this post, what should you have majored in?)

No great surprises here. Engineering majors get paid the best coming out of college, and they can expect to earn the highest median mid-career salaries. (Of course, being an engineer requires taking engineering courses. Three cheers for differential equations, anyone?)

Conversely, elementary school teachers can expect to be at the bottom of the salary list in both the near term and the long term.

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Topics: Education • Jobs
Inside the jobs report
February 3rd, 2012
03:57 PM ET

Inside the jobs report

By John Cookson, CNN

The headline numbers in the January jobs report look positive: Employment rose by 243,000 jobs and the unemployment rate edged down to 8.3%. Here are details that did not make the headlines:

The education advantage. A college degree means an unemployment rate at half the national average. Not having a high school diploma means an unemployment rate at three times the rate of those who finished college.

Government cuts. While overall payrolls are up by more than 1.9 million jobs since January 2011, government has shed 276,000 jobs over the same period. Of these lost public sector jobs, 84 percent are at the state and local level.

A “healthy” economy. Employment in health care has increased by 312,500 jobs since January 2011, including 30,900 jobs since December 2011 alone. Health and personal care stores have added another 14,500 jobs over the last year.

Stop pirating movies and music. The motion picture and sound recording industries shed 7,900 jobs between December 2011 and January 2012.

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Topics: Jobs
January jobs report: Hiring ramps up, unemployment falls
February 3rd, 2012
02:49 PM ET

January jobs report: Hiring ramps up, unemployment falls

American employers substantially stepped up their hiring in January, bringing the unemployment rate down for the fifth month in a row.

Employers added 243,000 jobs in January, the Labor Department reported Friday, marking a pick-up in hiring from December, when the economy added 203,000 jobs.

Meanwhile, the unemployment rate fell to 8.3%. That is the lowest since February 2009. FULL POST

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Topics: Jobs
January 29th, 2012
08:00 AM ET

Zakaria: Does America need an industrial policy?

Editor's Note: Be sure to catch GPS every Sunday at 10a.m. and 1p.m. EST. If you miss it, you can buy episodes on iTunes.

By Fareed Zakaria, CNN

President Obama spoke forcefully in his State of the Union about the importance of reviving manufacturing in America. If you talk with economists they will tell you it's a very complex problem, involving tax, trade regulatory policy, exchange rates, and educational skills. It is all those things.

But when you move from high-level policy to specific cases, you will often find one element that is rarely talked about: a foreign government’s role in boosting its domestic manufacturers with specific loans, subsidies, streamlined regulations and benefits. In effect, these governments - many in Asia, though some in Europe as well - have a national industrial policy to help manufacturers.

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Topics: Fareed's Take • From Fareed • Jobs • United States
Lindsay: America's lost decade
January 28th, 2012
12:50 PM ET

Lindsay: America's lost decade

Editor's Note: Dr. James M. Lindsay is a Senior Vice President at the Council on Foreign Relations and co-author of America Unbound: The Bush Revolution in Foreign Policy. Visit his blog here and follow him on Twitter.

By James M. LindsayCFR.org

Economists and journalists like to refer to Japan’s woeful economic performance in the 1990s as the “lost decade.” Have the past ten years been a lost decade for the United States? That’s a reasonable conclusion to draw when you look at the growth—or to be more accurate, the lack of growth—in payroll jobs in the United States in recent years. In 2011, the U.S. economy generated 131.9 million jobs, that’s not only below the peak number of 138 million jobs reached just before the 2008-2009 financial crisis, it’s below the 132.5 million jobs that the economy generated in 2000. These numbers explain a good part of the dissatisfaction currently roiling American politics.

Read more from Lindsay's blog here.

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Topics: Jobs • United States
Zakaria: The case for making it in the USA
Illustration by Oliver Munday for TIME.
January 26th, 2012
12:40 PM ET

Zakaria: The case for making it in the USA

Here's an excerpt from my latest column in TIME Magazine:

In theory, I am deeply skeptical of government industrial policy. Government doesn’t know how to pick winners and losers, it will make mistakes, and the process will get politicized. All this is true. And yet when I look at China and South Korea and also Germany and Japan, I see governments playing a crucial role. They do make mistakes - their versions of Solyndra - but they seem to view them the way venture capitalists would. Their role is to seed many companies, only a few of which will succeed. Once these companies are identified, government helps them compete against big U.S. multi nationals.

There used to be a joke about Marxist economists who would say of a deviation from pure communist economics: “It might work in practice, comrade, but it doesn’t work in theory.” That’s what industrial policy looks like these days. The theory doesn’t make sense, but it’s hard to argue with the result.

Read more here.

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Topics: From Fareed • Jobs • United States
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