Since this is a week absent any legislative action for the unemployed, I thought I would cover a few issues that seem to pop up when discussing the unemployed. today I’ll spend some time on the relocation myth.
This post may be a little convoluted, but I hope it makes the point I intended.
I often hear the squeal from the unemployment benefits opposition that the long-term unemployed could get a job if they were willing to relocate. While there could be some validity to that for some, it’s not as easy as it sounds. First there are the personal costs of leaving relatives, close friends, houses of worship and schools. While those costs alone are substantial, the true cost of relocation can be staggering for the unemployed:
Fewer Employers Offer Relocation Assistance
The average cost for a family to relocate from one part of the United States to another can vary from $18,355 to $76,600, according to Worldwide ERC, an association dedicated to workforce mobility.
Many long-term unemployed don’t have the financial resources to afford to relocate. While higher management, specialized trades, and DNA scientist may be offered relocation packages or could afford to relocate out-of-pocket, the laid off factory worker, administrative assistant and real estate agent aren’t going to be offered an $20,000 relocation package; they will have to come up with that money out-of-pocket. But they would need to be offered a job first because simply moving to a new town won’t be a guarantee of a new job.
And: Moving for a job? Be prepared to pay the price
Some employers aren’t even looking at out-of-town applicants these days because there are so many great candidates right in their own backyards, recruitment experts said. Others don’t want to have to deal with an employee who might not be able to sell their hometo move, thanks to the dismal housing market.
That’s bad news for job seekers looking to relocate to a region with more job opportunities.
“A lot of people are landlocked because companies want to pay less, not more, to bring in new talent,” said Nancy Keene, director at recruiting firm Stanton Chase. If two candidates have similar credentials, she added, the local guy or gal is likely to get the gig.
And why relocate? Because over 14 million white-collar jobs have been sent to other countries:
The Offshore Outsourcing of American Jobs: A Greater Threat Than Terrorism
In what might be an underestimate, a University of California study concludes that 14 million white-collar jobs are vulnerable to being outsourced offshore. These are not only call-center operators, customer service and back-office jobs, but also information technology, accounting, architecture, advanced engineering design, news reporting, stock analysis, and medical and legal services. The authors note that these are the jobs of the American Dream, the jobs of upward mobility that generate the bulk of the tax revenues that fund our education, health, infrastructure, and social security systems.
The loss of these jobs “is fool’s gold for companies.” Corporate America’s short-term mentality, stemming from bonuses tied to quarterly results, is causing US companies to lose not only their best employees-their human capital-but also the consumers who buy their products. Employees displaced by foreigners and left unemployed or in lower paid work have a reduced presence in the consumer market. They provide fewer retirement savings for new investment.
Nothink economists assume that new, better jobs are on the way for displaced Americans, but no economists can identify these jobs. The authors point out that “the track record for the re-employment of displaced US workers is abysmal: “The Department of Labor reports that more than one in three workers who are displaced remains unemployed, and many of those who are lucky enough to find jobs take major pay cuts. Many former manufacturing workers who were displaced a decade ago because of manufacturing that went offshore took training courses and found jobs in the information technology sector. They are now facing the unenviable situation of having their second career disappear overseas.”
So where would be a good place to relocate and get a job? The following story tells a tale of jobs being outsourced that were once the jobs of American workers.
U.S. Versus China
Today, manufacturing employment in the U.S. computer industry is about 166,000 — lower than it was before the first personal computer, the MITS Altair 2800, was assembled in 1975. Meanwhile, a very effective computer-manufacturing industry has emerged in Asia, employing about 1.5 million workers — factory employees, engineers and managers.
The largest of these companies is Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., also known as Foxconn. The company has grown at an astounding rate, first in Taiwan and later in China. Its revenue last year was $62 billion, larger than Apple Inc., Microsoft Corp., Dell Inc. or Intel. Foxconn employs more than 800,000 people, more than the combined worldwide head count of Apple, Dell, Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard Co., Intel and Sony Corp.
Until a recent spate of suicides at Foxconn’s giant factory complex in Shenzhen, China, few Americans had heard of the company. But most know the products it makes: computers for Dell and HP, Nokia Oyj cell phones, Microsoft Xbox 360 consoles, Intel motherboards, and countless other familiar gadgets. Some 250,000 Foxconn employees in southern China produce Apple’s products. Apple, meanwhile, has about 25,000 employees in the U.S. — that means for everyApple worker in the U.S. there are 10 people in China working on iMacs, iPods and iPhones. The same roughly 10-to-1 relationship holds for Dell, disk-drive maker Seagate Technology, and other U.S. tech companies.
You could say, as many do, that shipping jobs overseas is no big deal because the high-value work — and much of the profits — remain in the U.S. That may well be so. But what kind of a society are we going to have if it consists of highly paid people doing high-value-added work — and masses of unemployed?
That final sentence is probably one that many of you have asked repeatedly as you see good jobs disappear to overseas locations. Sure, you think you are buying a fine American made Apple iPhone or Dell computer, but those jobs left American shores years ago and now that Americans are looking for decent jobs they are not available.
Corporate executives and company centric government regulation have been the catalyst behind sending jobs offshore, but the results have not been positive to the worker, as the following story illustrates:
The story comes to mind of an engineer who was to be executed by guillotine. The guillotine was stuck, and custom required that if the blade didn’t drop, the condemned man was set free. Before this could happen, the engineer pointed with excitement to a rusty pulley, and told the executioner to apply some oil there. Off went his head.
We got to our current state as a consequence of many of us taking actions focused on our own companies’ next milestones. An example: Five years ago, a friend joined a large VC firm as a partner. His responsibility was to make sure that all the startups they funded had a “China strategy,” meaning a plan to move what jobs they could to China. He was going around with an oil can, applying drops to the guillotine in case it was stuck. We should put away our oil cans. VCs should have a partner in charge of every startup’s “U.S. strategy.”
The piece ends with the following:
Yet the imperative for change is real and the choice is simple. If we want to remain a leading economy, we change on our own, or change will continue to be forced upon us.
When leading executives see the problem of off-shoring so many jobs, it’s a step in the right direction, but until these same executives take that matter seriously and government tax breaks for off-shoring jobs are eliminated, you may need to relocate to China in order to get the job you need.
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Congress.org has a great media contact list:http://www.congress.org/congressorg/dbq/media/
Another media contact list is located at:http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_oet&address=358×1903
Keeping the Tier 5 and extended unemployment issues alive is going to be up to you, so be sure to contact your congressional representatives as often as you can. You need to continue to pressure Congress to act responsibly and to extend benefits for those unable to find work. Send your representative a fax using FaxZero.com. As has been mentioned in the comments section, you can send up to two free faxes a day.
Here’s a great site where you can find both state and federal contact information: http://conservativeusa.org/mega-cong.htm
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