by Lynn Reaser, Ph.D.
Following two years of devastating job losses, 2010 should see companies starting to again add to payrolls. In many cases, firms may have cut back staffs too severely because of fears that the recession might persist for a protracted period. A stabilizing housing market, higher stock prices, and stronger orders are beginning to restore business confidence.
For most of last year, firms relied on productivity gains from shrunken work forces to meet their requirements. More recently, they have asked their employees to work longer hours and tapped temporary staffing agencies. Now they need to start hiring.
Do not expect the unemployment rate to drop quickly even as job growth resumes. We will need to find jobs not only for the people who are currently looking for work but also for first-time job seekers and those returning to the workforce.
Is there anything that can be done to improve prospects for job seekers? Our educational system will be the most important factor affecting the American labor market as we move forward. This applies not only true to our K-12 system, but our colleges and universities as well. Business schools are beginning to rethink their curricula. All educational institutions need to reevaluate their programs to assure that graduates are true assets to employers.