Is Your Job Getting Phased Out?

Is Your Job Getting Phased Out?

The economy will recover. The job market will improve. (In fact, the number of people filing for first-time unemployment benefits has gone down for four straight weeks.) But is your job coming back? According to The New York Times, many of the jobs lost during theĀ recessionĀ are not coming back.

The recession spurred every company to trim budgets and take stock of what was really necessary, what could be consolidated, and what could be improved upon. Some of the cuts were minor, like less glitzy Christmas parties or discounted office supplies. But some supervisors realized that entire jobs could be eliminated, either by consolidation, outsourcing or new technologies.

One example is clerical work. 1.7 million Americans who were employed in clerical and administrative positions when the recession began, but were no longer working in that occupation by the end of last year. There have also been outsize job losses in other occupation categories that seem unlikely to be revived during the economic recovery. The number of printing machine operators, for example, was nearly halved from the fourth quarter of 2007 to the fourth quarter of 2009. The number of people employed as travel agents fell by 40 percent.

There is no easy policy solution for helping the people left behind. Extended unemployment benefits can help people temporarily, but they cannot make outdated skills relevant again. To succeed in a competitive job market, you have to be willing to adapt and learn. Look toward growing industries, and focus on skills that can’t be performed by computers or people across the globe. Consider going back to school – it might not be as expensive as you think.