As noted in our previous installment, U.S. workers are not happy campers. (We don’t like camping either. No fridge? No football? But we digress.) The point here is that a series of national surveys shows the majority of Americans hate everything about their jobs, from the boss to the nondairy coffee creamer. The other point is that employers don’t care. For example, a study by management consultant Deloitte says companies aren’t all that worried about the feelings of their staff. Yes, they’ve seen the dire predictions of exodus maximus when (if) the economy turns around. But they figure they’ll burn that bridge when they come to it. Right now, keeping costs down is job number one. “Some seem to believe key employees have nowhere to go in a weak economy,” Deloitte observes. And some seem to be right. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the current “quit rate” is half what it was in 2000. (After all, it’s not like any old employee can just dump their job and start writing a hugely successful blog.)
Women now rule the workforce. Coupled with the news of rising employee dissatisfaction comes the news that women will soon make up half the American workforce. Coincidence? (C’mon! We’re kidding. Some of our best friends are women. There’s our moms and…oh never mind.)
But you know who should be really unhappy? Teenagers. Turns out that, these days, they can’t even hold onto that job down at Arby’s. “The numbers are incredible,” says Andrew Sum, Northeastern University expert on teen employment, quoted in a Time magazine story on the topic. “Proportionally, more kids have lost jobs in the past few years than the entire country lost in the Great Depression.” Unemployment among teenagers is hovering around 28 percent, almost three times the national rate, and this might be a real problem if teens weren’t the type who inherently believe a brilliant future is just around the corner. (We were once so naive ourselves.)
Where you can go to find a job. Or, better, where you can go to start your own business. The Small Business Survival Index, which ranks states (and Washington D.C.) according to entrepreneur-friendliness, suggests the five states with the best policy environment for small businesses are South Dakota, Nevada, Texas, Wyoming and Washington. The index rates states according to factors like taxes, regulatory costs, government spending, and the cost of healthcare and energy. It says the five worst places for small business are Vermont, New York, California, New Jersey and D.C. (unless you’re into graft, fraud and that sort of thing).
When banks get charged fees. That’ll be the day, right? Well, the day has come. You may be cheered to hear that the Obama administration is planning to smack big banks with $117 billion in charges to recover costs associated with the bailout. We were cheered too, till we realized banks will inevitably pass along the fees to us customers.