Monday, May 2, 2011

Rock stars and superheroes made the news this week

As much as I love being an economist, I read an article last week that made me wonder if I should have gone for a computer-related degree back when I was in college. Apparently some of the nation's biggest tech companies are hiring, but there's a bit of a shortage in some of the skilled IT occupations. Job applicants with the right creds are being treated like rock stars or pro athletes -- and that level of pampering sounds fun to me!

In addition to tech companies, a handful of other service industries have also increased hiring this year. According to data from payroll company ADP (as reported by the Wall Street Journal), positions include sales and engineering. Much of the growth is at small companies.

I was surprised when recently I read an economic phrase that was new to me: "two-speed economy". Apparently this phrase is appropriate when changes in the global economy are bifurcated; the division often occurs between developed and developing countries. An article in the Wall Street Journal talks about the two "speeds" right now in the global financial system and in the housing market.

Speaking of the housing market, what's the latest with housing and construction in the United States? USA Today reported that home sales in March ticked up, although housing prices are still fairly low. According to the BBC, the number of new home permits also increased in March.

Bringing us nearly full circle, I have to share a story that made me chuckle: One of the workforce agencies in central Florida recently proposed a new campaign to promote their services to job seekers. Promotional activities included giving unemployed people "red super-hero capes" and letting them take their picture with -- wait for it -- "Dr. Evil Unemployment". The campaign was scrapped, however, due to negative public feedback.

Now if only I could figure out how to get one of those capes...

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