Employment was high last year. So were layoffs. Huh?

Thanks to uneven economic growth, unemployment hit a historic low while layoffs hit a historic high.


January 6, 2020

At the start of this month, the Wall Street Journal reported that 62k US workers lost their jobs due to bankruptcies in the previous year — the most bankruptcy-related layoffs in a year since 2005.

But on the other hand… 

Unemployment ALSO hit a 50-year low in November when the economy added 266k jobs. 

So, how can unemployment hit a half-century low while layoffs also hit a decade-plus high? 

It’s a tale of 2 economies

This apparent contradiction stems from uneven economic growth. First, economic gains in the economy differed widely by industry:

  • Healthcare, hospitality, and professional industries made up the majority of the job gains; 
  • Mining, retail, and utilities all suffered big losses.

But they also differed widely by geography:

  • “Silicon” states like Washington, California, Massachusetts, and Utah all flourished
  • But 9 state economies are expected to shrink

So what fields have the brightest future?

If you were downsized last year, you should look to cybersecurity, where there will be an estimated 3.5m job openings by 2021. Other jobs that are in high demand:

  • Blockchain developer 
  • Physical therapist
  • Digital/video marketer
  • Commercial drone pilot*
  • Security, fire, and service technicians*

* No college degree required

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