Economics 101: If you are not trained for a real world job, you shouldn’t be surprised if you can’t find a job in the real world

A couple of stories about economic reality:

Two Texas Cities Lead the US in Income Growth
by Kristin Tate | 30 April 2014

Fresh government statistics reveal that two west Texas cities, Odessa and Midland, are leading the nation in income growth. The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis found between 2008 and 2012, while many cities saw significant decreases in personal income–Odessa and Midland led the nation with increases of 10.2 percent and 9.6 percent, respectively.

According to the data, traditional leading markets like Los Angeles see roughly 10 percent of the population often unable to find a job. Odessa and Midland have the opposite problem.

“We have issues filling our jobs,” Sara Higgins, a spokeswoman with the City of Midland, told Breitbart Texas.

Higgins mentioned that although the city saw a huge population growth rate of 4.6 percent between 2011 and 2012, help wanted ads continue to outpace new residents.

Higgins said, “The low unemployment has made it hard to find workers in the service sector. To remain competitive, the starting wages are incredibly high for retail and restaurants here, but we see more people going into oil because it’s more lucrative. Some restaurants have had to reduce hours because they cannot hire enough staff to keep it open full time.”

She laughed, “It’s kind of become an urban legend, but a few years ago Subway, the sandwich shop, was offering a $1,000 bonus for signing on as an employee.”

“It’s ultimately oil and gas that is driving the income growth,” Higgins continued. “In the past, the price of oil has driven whether or not we’re in a boom or a bust. People will tell you this boom will last longer is because this boom is technology driven…What we’re trying to do here in Midland is diversify, but oil and gas has been the backbone of our economy for decades.”

More at the link.1

It’s not all about oil and gas: Midland is diversifying its economic presence, as XCOR Aerospace, a private rocket engine and spaceflight development company, announced that it will build its new headquarters in Midland.2

And the second article comes from Robert Stacey Stacy McCain:

Majoring in Minimum Wage
Posted on | May 1, 2014 |

You may not remember “Hard Times for Gender Studies Major,” a post last August featuring the lament of @Andria_XX, who had an “Honors BA in Social Justice and Peace Studies” and was pursuing a Master’s degree in Gender Studies:

“I have a honors BA and I’m defending my MA thesis in two weeks. I am also apply[ing] for jobs and I can only find stuff in the service industry. I applied for a Hotel Front Desk Clerk job today. My degrees mean NOTHING. I am at the end of my rope.”

That was absolutely one of the most popular posts in the six-year history of the blog. Her advanced degrees in trendy “studies” are worthless? Gosh, maybe she should have asked somebody. That came to mind when I saw this post today at Money Runner:

The Wall Street Journal has an article bemoaning the well educated barista economy. Of course they don’t put it quite that way in their article, the subhead if which is: A new study offers an unsettling explanation of why young adults have been hit so hard.

But in the spirit of those who hailed the benefits of losing your job. Not only can you get a chance to do your own thing, but according to Nancy Pelosi, those unemployment benefits you get create more jobs.  And if you lost your job because of ObamaCare, it’s really not a loss, but an “escape.”

With that view in mind, I want to explain why college educated baristas are a net plus for the American people.

More at the link. But I was reminded of our own story, Reality and the Occupiers.

But this story caught my eye due to El Marco’s pictures of the Occupy Denver rally, three of which caught my attention. (Hat tip to Sister Toldjah.)


Joe Sacco has a degree in film making. I asked him if he would turn down a job with a salary of $74,000, and he said that he would consider it, depending on the benefits package. He made it clear that his sign is totally serious. Note the high quality, expensive astroturf signs stacked in the background.


Many college grads voiced their grievances about the fact that they didn’t immediately get high paying jobs right out of school. Choosing fields of study that are not in high demand, or racking up debt rather than working and saving, were their choices. The consequences of getting a degree in art history or an advanced degree in basket weaving, like Stanley Ann Dunham, can be living on food stamps when one is unwilling to take a job below one’s qualifications. Boo Hoo.


Yadda yadda yadda. To whom is his sign addressed? The job fairy!

Now, when I look at these pictures, what I’m seeing is the complaint that these new grads can’t find the jobs that they want. Mr Sacco, the gentleman in the top picture, got his degree in film making, apparently without considering that there might not be all that many jobs available in his major. He wants $75,000 to work for somebody, and while El Marco might have been being a bit snarky when he asked Mr Sacco if he’d turn down a job offer of $74,000, what I would have asked him is whether he’d turn down a job paying $50,000. The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that the mean annual wage for all occupations in the United States is $44,410. Mr Sacco is asking for a wage 68.9% higher than the national mean. Will he work for less, or is he too good for that?

The gentleman in the second picture, the one who looks like he stole Yassir Arafat’s hijab scarf to hide part of his face, stated with his sign that he’s 50 grand in student loan debt, and has zero prospects of getting a job. If his prospects truly are near zero, one ought to ask: in what did he major? If he had majored in electrical engineering or nursing or pharmacy, he’d probably be employed today. If he majored in English literature, yeah, I can see where it might be more difficult to find a job.

But the third picture ties it all together. The semi-masked sign holder wants to see Better Jobs 4 College Grads. While El Marco snarked about the “job fairy” providing such, I’d ask the question more seriously: just what better jobs does he believe ought to exist?

And the answer is: apparently, whatever they are, there aren’t many of them! The Bureau of Labor Statistics released the monthly unemployment numbers today, and, of course, the Big News is that the official unemployment rate dropped to 6.3%. But the reason is because so many people quit looking for work; perhaps some of them would be the people like the Occupiers, who are finding that their degrees in film making are not helping them get the jobs they wanted. Could it be possible that, in an economy which is producing too few new jobs, the idea that a college student could major in something which doesn’t have much relationship to jobs in the real world yet not have that negatively impact his job search seems foolish.

Unemployment4 Your Editor, in an effort to provide full service, ran the numbers, comparing them to January 2009, when Barack Obama took office. Since then, we have 3.5 million more jobs! Trouble is, our work-eligible population grew by 12.7 million. If the participation rate had remained the same as it was in that horrible recession month, our official unemployment rate would be 10.4%.

Look at the numbers: with population growth of 12.7 million people since Mr Obama took office, we should have had roughly 8.343 million of them join the labor force; instead only 1.211 million did. There are 7.132 million people who ought to be in the work force who aren’t. Consider that fact along with the multitude of stories noting that recent college graduates are moving back into their parents’ home, and one has to suspect that it’s the recent graduates who are having the greater problems finding jobs.

And in considering that, I’d note the story about former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice withdrawing as the commencement speaker at Rutgers University. Mr McCain noted The Left’s Mob Rule on Campushow the left routinely shout down anything which in an way challenges leftist orthodoxy. Would I be the only person who suspects that a university system full of majors which have no relation to future careers3 is directly related to the fact that so much of it is dominated by the left?

They don’t realize it yet, and probably never will realize it, but the left are eating their own. They persist in “educating” college students for things in which the students are prepared to become well-educated fast-food workers, thus saddling their own students with crushing debts for which they have little hope of finding the career which will enable them to pay off those debts, and then turn campuses into places in which contrary opinions are not allowed. Yet, when you get to the non-politicized majors — the sciences, engineering, computers, mathematics and health care — there are real career opportunities, because these are the students who are being prepared to go out into the real world and actually produce something.
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  1. Suggestions that the Editor selected this photograph just to tweak the supporters of President Barack Hussein Obama, whose economic policies have led to a whopping 0.1% GDP growth last quarter, and a five-year-long economic malaise are completely unfounded. :)
  2. XCOR’s “Company Overview” page notes that:

    XCOR Aerospace is a small, privately-held California C Corporation founded in 1999. The company has evolved from its original four founders, working out of our chief engineer’s tiny hangar, to a team of 50 plus highly-skilled, experienced and talented employees housed in a 10,375 square foot hangar on the Mojave Air & Space Port in Mojave, California.

    Looks like yet another California company is expanding its operations away from the Pyrite State!

  3. For what careers does a major in Gender Studies or French Literature prepare a student other than university professorships in those areas? If that is the case, then the universities are doing students a disservice by teaching more than the number of students required to replace the current professors when they retire, but if the current professors do not have many more students in those disciplines than their own replacement rate, they won’t have enough students to justify keeping the professors.

2 Comments

  1. Joe Sacco has a degree in film making.

    Actually, this isn’t a bad idea per se, there’s a lot of money to be made in the movie business. It’s certainly a more useful degree than a Masters in Gender Studies! Still, is this young snot prepared to pay his dues, or does he think he’s going to get a prestigious job with a film studio right out of college? Is he prepared to get work in the decidedly less glamorous field of filming TV commercials first, perhaps only later moving in to actual TV shows and later films?

  2. Pingback: FMJRA 2.0: Every Picture Tells A Story : The Other McCain

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