As part of my charter in providing IT career and certification information and advice, I follow general economic trends, especially as they relate to IT employment, hiring and job opportunities, and so forth. Perhaps it’s a sign of the times — or just my own belief that good news will almost always (and quickly) be offset by bad news — that the recent spate of good news is making me nervous.
What’s up in the past month or so includes the following:
- The Dow not only hit ten straight days of gains as of Pi Day (3/14/2013), it also did so in the form of ten straight record highs. Can a market correction be too far off, in the wake of such gains? (The market did close down 25 points, to 14514.11 on Friday, March 15.)
- The latest Employment Situation Summary from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, release March 8, almost doubled the expert forecast of 150-170K jobs for February with a number of 236,000, and unemployment dropped from 7.9 percent in January to 7.7 percent in February. (With the sequester starting to take effect, how soon will those gains be erased?)
- IT employment numbers are edging up cautiously, and hiring managers are expressing some optimism about activity for the rest of 2013 and beyond. Overall unemployment in IT is below six percent (5.2 percent, in fact) significantly down from 8.4 percent for the same month in 2012. (Will the sequester hit IT in democratic fashion as it presumably hits other sectors, or is IT even more vulnerable than other sectors?)
The old saying goes “If you look for trouble, you will always find it.” I’m not sure if I’m looking for a black cloud to smother this glimmer of a silver lining, or if we’ve all been burned enough times over the past 13 years or so that I can’t help but look at good news somewhat askance out of fear and bad habit. I find myself in the curious position of wishing to have my instincts disproved and my concerns obliterated by more and more good news in the weeks and months ahead. Bring it on: I’ll do my best to take it, and make something good of it for as long as it lasts. Perhaps we should all strive to do our part, and help find more reasons to celebrate and enjoy what good the moment can hand us. As I often tell my 9-year-old son: “Be positive! You will see more good in your world, and more good things will happen to you, if you stay positive about yourself and life.” For the moment, I will try to follow my own advice…
[Note added 3/18/2013 early morning: The markets are all aflap and aflutter this morning about a bank tax on depositors in Cypriot banks, which the Germans have apparently mandated as the price for an EU zone bailout of that tiny country's banks, on the presumption that they're awash in cash from Russian oligarchs. Pundits and prognosticators fear a run on other troubled EU zone banks in Portugal, Spain, and Ireland, as other depositors will probably seek to withdraw funds in anticipation of such rulings being charged against their deposits, too. Markets are down 1-2% around the globe, and American stock market futures are down in the 0.5 - 1.0% range. Here we go! ;-)]