With a record low unemployment rate in the United States the news often reports a fairly rosy picture about the job market. At PeopleReady we are aware of the climate in specific job sectors that contradict this notion, especially in the wake of the recent hurricanes. We’ve previously reported on worker shortages in skilled trades and work the company is doing to help train new workers to fill the gap.
According to a recent report from the Economic Innovation Group examining numbers on a hyper-geographic level paints yet another picture of the economy. Their 2017 Distressed Communities Index finds that 52.3 million Americans live in economically distressed communities while nearly 85 million live in prosperous areas.
An average of 15 percent of the population in each state is living in a distressed Zip code, the concentration being much higher in the south. By contrast, 25 percent of a state’s population lives in a prosperous Zip code. You can begin to see why there’s more emphasis on how well things are going. But it paints a grim picture for the future of business and workers in distressed areas as the report also finds that new jobs are clustered in already prosperous areas.
PeopleReady’s efforts to connect people with work are active in all areas of the country through online recruiting, a mobile app for securing work, and mobile recruiting efforts at job fairs and more. We are also working with trade schools to help increase the skill level of workers likely living in distressed communities. It’s our goal to put more people to work, allowing more people to improve their lifestyle.
Another alarming factor is that, for the first time ever, businesses are closing at a faster rate than they are opening. This has the potential to create a ripple effect on the economy as employees who are let go will have fewer companies to choose from. It also seems to correlate to big companies getting even bigger. Think Amazon. Startups and thriving businesses are setting up shop in markets where workers have more education, potentially leaving unskilled and skilled workers behind.
Startup advocates are pushing back and encouraging companies to open locations in distressed communities to attempt to spread the economic wealth more evenly. This is critically important because the study also points to a correlation between economic and individual health.