The current political buzz is about jobs — or lack thereof – in the U.S. economy. Economists at the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that unemployment at the end of August is at a seasonally adjusted rate of 9.1%. This is a sad figure, since the number represents 14 million unemployed Americans and struggling families.
I applaud plans to stimulate hiring and get Americans working — who would not? Discussion of the problem is important, but such aggregate figures not only give little direction to job seekers as to where gaps exist or areas of opportunity, but also leave all Americans feeling powerless. Digging deeper, however, the news is not completely dire. For example, the health care industry added 35,000 jobs in August.
My suggestion is that Economists include incorporate market segmentation, a fundamental principle of marketing, into these macroeconomic reports. Knowing more about what is happening in various segments of the economy will serve to direct and encourage job seekers, those who are re-training and re-positioning themselves. In addition, those of us in colleges and universities who formulate programs and write curriculum would be given guidance and could become an effective part of the solution to this knotty and complex economic problem.