October 30, 2003

By Michael Strickland

Good GDP, Still No Jobs

The best economic news in a very long time burst across the airwaves today, as GDP numbers for the third quarter of 2003 came out. During that period—encompassing July, August and September—the gross domestic product leapt by over seven percent, the largest such one-quarter gain since the early 1980s. Experts and commentators across the board heralded the news as a strong sign that we're almost out of the woods.

So why am I so skeptical? Because in that same quarter, the economy continued to hemorrhage jobs. Despite such a strong surge in the GDP, more jobs were lost than were created. And that's what has made the past two years so difficult for so many people, and why the economy has taken so long to recover. Companies just aren't hiring. Jobs aren't being created. People can't find work.

I'm no economic expert, but I have two years of firsthand "experience" to back up my contentions. I've gone through some dry spells since graduating from college, but never have I sent out even a fraction of the countless resumes I've shotgunned since Disney laid me off in 2001. I can no longer keep track of the number of jobs for which I was eminently qualified, yet whose HR representatives never once contacted me.

I know the competition out there is fierce, and I'm realistic about what the employment field is like these days. Even a form letter or postcard acknowledging receipt of my resume is a rarity. Long gone, dead, buried and forgotten are the days when there was even the slightest trace of personal touch in the hiring process. It's now a rarefied, fine-tuned, slick machine run largely by robots.

Yet I still can't help but feel bitter. I know my abilities, I'm aware of how much I can contribute to a company's operations, I'm eager to once again exercise my full potential. I'm not the world's best employee; there are certainly more experienced people out there. But I do have a lot of talent to offer—all I need is the chance.

My chief consolation is that many unfortunate people share the same challenges. It's tough out there right now, it's been hard over the past two years, but hopefully things will turn around soon. In the meantime, if you're hiring, check out my resume.


©2003 Michael Strickland ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

What is "The Daily Strick"?

I have long called myself a writer, but too often I don't do what a writer must do daily: write. So you, dear reader, are the beneficiary of my resolution to make a positive change in at least one area of my life. Every single day of this new year (almost), I will write something, anything, and post it here. It is my intention to use this daily exercise to jump-start my too-long-dormant creative energies, and perhaps generate some worthwhile material this year. Hopefully you will find at least an occasional amusement or insight in my daily musings.

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October Columns:

10/31: Halloween's History
10/30: Good GDP, Still No Jobs
10/29: Disaster
10/27: Ash Monday
10/26: En Fuego
10/25: Diving in the Desert
10/24: Dead Car Canyon
10/23: Reflections
10/21: Le Métro
10/20: Pain
10/17: Jury Duty
10/15: Labor Pains
10/14: The Business of Losing
10/13: Owls and Jobs
10/12: Hooked
10/11: The "S" in SUV
10/9: Flee the City
10/8: Sore Losers
10/5: Turkeys
10/4: It's Not the Economy, Stupid
10/2: Focus
10/1: Twenty Years
Previous months in The Archive

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