What Jobs Mean to Us — and the U.S.

Who looks for a job in August? Who’s around to interview candidates anyway? August is a popular month for end-of-summer vacations before the school year starts. This trend showed up in the latest jobs report, which revealed a slump of only 142,000 jobs added after six straight months of payroll gains exceeding 200,000. 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Miss in Job Growth a Usual August Aberration, Economists Say,” from Bloomberg, Sept. 5, 2014.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “How to Read the Jobs Report Like a Pro,” from CNN Money, accessed Sept. 5, 2014.]

However, there are some interesting recent trends where the job market is concerned. For one thing, a new survey discovered that freelancers (53 million strong) make up 34 percent of the U.S. workforce. That’s not a trend that is expected to slow down, even as the job market grows stronger. Another study predicts that these “contingent workers” will exceed 40 percent of the workforce by 2020.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “5 Big Trends Shaking Up the Job Market,” from CNN Money, Sept. 5, 2014.]

Workers under 35 are more likely to freelance, and no wonder, since today’s young adults have been among those hardest hit by the slow-moving job market. A new report from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York reveals that while the unemployment rate for recent college graduates is at 5 percent — below that of the overall population — nearly half of those college grads are “underemployed.” But the news isn’t all bad. The report found that many of them are working career-oriented jobs such as dental hygienist, electrician and mechanic. Furthermore, 40 percent of recent college graduates working in non-college jobs are earning a full-time average salary of $45,000 or more a year.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “New York Fed Says Nearly Half of College Grads are Underemployed,” from MarketWatch, Sept. 5, 2014.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Are the Job Prospects of Recent College Graduates Improving?” from Liberty Street Economics, Sept. 4, 2014.]

Another demographic that has had an impact on the job market is recent retirees. Nearly 50 percent report that they left the workforce earlier than planned for negative reasons, such as a health problem or disability. Regardless, another survey found that 90 percent of recently retired households say they are very or somewhat satisfied with retirement. But even among relatively wealthy retirees, Social Security represents the largest single source of their retirement income, averaging 43 percent of the total.

What are some of the lessons recent retirees have learned about Social Security? Twenty-seven percent say their benefits are less than expected, and 23 percent of those who started drawing Social Security early wish they could change the age they started.

[CLICK HERE to access the 2013 RCS fact sheet #2, “Changing Expectations about Retirement,” from EBRI, March 19, 2013.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Surprise: Retirement is Better than Expected,” from Fox Business, Aug. 25, 2014.]

[CLICK HERE to access the survey, “What They’re Saying about Social Security,” from Nationwide Financial, June 2014.]

When you add it all up to the big picture, the United States has improved its competitiveness on the global landscape in recent years. This year it took the No. 3 spot behind Switzerland and Singapore, according to recent rankings by the World Economic Forum. That’s up from last year, when the U.S. ranked fifth. The forum said U.S. companies benefit from an excellent university system that works well with the private sector in research and development.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “U.S. Economy is No. 3 in Competitiveness,” from CNN Money, Sept. 4, 2014.]

Wherever you land in the employment spectrum, contact us to discuss how we can help you evaluate your retirement assets as well as your retirement income needs and help you create a strategy for an independent retirement you can feel confident about.

Our firm assists retirees and pre-retirees in the creation of retirement strategies utilizing insurance products. Our firm is not affiliated with the US government or any governmental agency.

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