From investment vehicles to hiring, nothing is like it was

To paraphrase a popular saying; it’s the stupid economy

By Morf Morford

Tacoma Daily Index

It’s not your imagination.

The world of business is vastly more complicated, precarious and packed with hazards than most of us could have imagined just a few years ago.

This is not your father’s economy

Not only are hazards larger, more intrusive and less predictable than a generation ago, but they are also far more catastrophic.

Here’s just a few.

Anyone imagine supply chain disruptions ever? Especially supply chain disruptions that grind major industries like automobile production to a complete halt?

Welcome to the 2020s.

94% of surveyed companies reported a COVID-19 related supply chain disruption in 2020.

How about the plethora of pandemic related disruptions from shipping to production and more that hammered every industry from travel to hospitality to local restaurants? With cuts in tourism, workforce issues and restrictions on movement who needed supply chain problems to make the proverbial perfect storm?

And then there was cybercrime.

With our increased reliance on our online presence, cyber-crime or related problems had to happen.

From IT failures/outages to data breaches to ransomware, cyber sabotage was inevitable.

Global cyber crime causes a $1 trillion drag on the economy—a 50% jump from just two years ago.

How about erratic markets? Who needs cybercrime or supply chain problems when you have market volatility in just about every sector?

With intensified competition/new entrants, new products, new markets, market stagnation, market fluctuation and evaporating and emerging markets everywhere, you might think that every hazard or possibility had been presented. Nope. We are just getting started.

How about legislation/regulation changes from trade wars and tariffs, economic sanctions, protectionism, Brexit, Euro-zone disintegration to border disputes between Canada and the USA(!)

We in the USA have seen more than our usual share of natural catastrophes from droughts to storms, floods, earthquakes, and wildfires (to name a few) in the past few years.

And we know that more, and worse, are on their way.

And how about monetary policies, austerity programs, commodity price increases, deflation, inflation or that 1970s favorite, stag-flation?

You can see a survey of the greatest business risks here.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

More and more adults are re-asking this question.

It’s been called The Great Resignation and The Great Shuffle, among other things, but whatever we call it, more workers, by the day, are rethinking what they want to be doing with the days and years of their lives.

Way back in 2019, 7 out of 10 people described themselves as being burned out.

And more than 50% of the American workforce is considered “unengaged”.

When the economy laid off about 10 million of us in 2020, lots of us decided that we had no interest in going back to the office – or work at all.

And then there were the boomers

The oldest group of boomers turned 62 and became eligible for early retirement in 2008.

Until 2019 the retired population grew by one million per year. Since then, the retired population has grown by three and a half million over those 3 years.

The boomers decided, it seems, that a few more dollars in their retirement accounts wasn’t worth the extra time away and that quality time enjoying their last years was more important.

On a personal note, I keep hearing of what, just a year or two ago, would have been my dream job. I think about applying – but I don’t. I’m just not interested in using my time that way. Even for a job I might love, the time commitment is too much.

The job market is changing, and who participates and at what cost are suddenly new variables in an ever changing economy. We will soon have more people over 65 than under 18 – for the first time in our history.

To see more on how American demographics are changing, look here. I recommend taking a seat, a deep breath and a long look.

The face of America is changing, and yes, nothing will be as it once was.