Tom’s Opinion: Where Jobs Will Come From In 2014
At the turn of the twentieth century there were five great advances that changed the world. Electricity, automobile, telephone, flight, radio and TV, changed the way we live our everyday lives. The question to think about is this, “Did these advances cost people their jobs?” I believe the obvious answer is yes.
Electricity eliminated the need for whale oil in oil lamps. The automobile probably cost a lot of carriage makers their jobs. The telephone, along with radio and TV, informed and educated the consumers of the day. I’m pretty sure those advances eliminated some jobs as well.
How Are Jobs Created and Lost?
On January 1, 2014 a group of people who used to make incandescent light bulbs lost their jobs. The government outlawed the future manufacture of 40-60 watt bulbs in favor of more energy saving models. Will the losing of one part of an industry increase the demand for another part of the industry?
Since there are more components in the energy saving bulb it should require more bodies in the creation process. Laptop computers are slowly replacing the old desktop models. Will this create more or less jobs in the future? I believe it will increase jobs because the demand for more and better laptops, workbooks, and tablets will require more people.
Technology Will Be The New Manufacturing
The loss of 8-track cassettes didn’t kill jobs. Companies evolved into mini-cassettes that evolved into the CD’s and DVD’s we enjoy today. In the future music, movies and other entertainment will be on-demand and there will be no need to purchase a physical copy.
In the early 1900’s workers moved off the farms and into the cities to manufacture things. Cars, washing machines, steel production, refinery work all created new opportunities to live the American dream for the lower economic classes.
The same will be true in 2014 as people move out of the manufacturing sector and into the technology sector. Cell phones, tablets, laptops and other electronic advances will spawn the future employment choices of the current and future generations.
Technology As A Job Killer?
Many see technology as a job killer. Fewer people are needed to manufacture an automobile than ever before. In my opinion that’s a good thing. Here’s why. If I can start and build a business with one or two employees rather than five or six I have a better chance of success.
If I can start that type of business so can others and that’s where the power lies. The more businesses will eventually result in more need for people. The skillsets of those people will be different than what was needed in a factory. But people can be taught to run a computerized program just as easily as they can be taught to weld or frame a wall.
Trends Business Owners Need To Know
Every consumer that walks through your doors in 2014 is probably going to know your products as well or better than you do. I can pull up the specifications, customer reviews, and comparisons of any product made. I am able to pinpoint exactly what I want based on my needs.
For example, my wife and I wanted an upright freezer. The challenge was the size of the door opening where it would be housed. Instead of driving all over town with a tape measure I was able to find a brand name model online that not only fit our needs but also would fit through the door. We called our locally owned dealer with the model we needed and made the purchase.
Some Final Thoughts
If the loss of manufacturing jobs were so serious wouldn’t our unemployment be much higher? Those people had to go somewhere. It would appear they learned to do something else. The unemployment rate, though higher than we would currently like, shows that manufacturing jobs moving elsewhere has not affected unemployment that much.
No matter what the future holds there will always be a need for people to create and move goods and services. There will always be jobs as long as business can create demand for those goods and services in the minds of consumers.
I can’t even begin to imagine the amazing products and services we’ll be seeing in the coming years. The beginning of the 21st century is not that much different than the beginning of the 20th century. Great advances are changing our lives almost daily.