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Three Jobs For Every Unemployed Person in Jacksonville?

Three jobs per unemployed person.

That’s an impressive statistic, isn’t it?

The online job aggregator Indeed.com has determined that, based on the job listings for Jacksonville, there are three job postings available for every unemployed person in the city.

That’s the second highest in the nation.

So, you might ask, why are we not at full employment? Why is anyone out of a job? Why aren’t employers clamoring for employees, paying way over market value for any warm body to fill positions?

The question becomes, are they real jobs?

Some are. But many are things like “franchise opportunities.” Sure, it’s a job, but what is the buy in? And not everyone is suited to run their own business. Others are posted by military recruiters. “Music, Art, and Writing opportunities in the U.S. Army”, was one that I saw. I’m sure that’s really helpful for the middle-aged engineers and managers who are looking for work or woefully underemployed.

The key to this story seems to be in the wording. Just because there is a posting doesn’t necessarily mean there’s an actual job. Between the number of management trainee postings for Blockbuster, which make it seem that every Blockbuster manager in the city was let go all at once, to the number of mortgage processors that apparently are needed for all those mortgages that are being processed … well you get the idea.

I know many people who are actively looking for work here in Jacksonville. Some are on the unemployment rolls, some are not. Most have multiple stories to tell about applying for phantom jobs that don’t really exist. They apply for jobs for which they are never interviewed, or get any response, and they learn later are never filled.

On the other side of that ledger are the positions that require such a specific set of skills that if you don’t have 10 years experience supervising electromechanical engineers who are former NFL starters that the computer screening the resumes will never let you get past the first level of elimination.

There are literally hundreds of commission-only sales positions, which, given the rate at which people are not spending money (if they have any to spend), might make it a little difficult to manage to pay the mortgage that way. Commission only jobs rarely come with anything like benefits, and we all know a salesperson or two who has worked mostly for free trying to make a go of a very tough business going broke trying to buy health insurance.

I don’t doubt for a moment that there are three postings on Indeed.com for every officially unemployed person in Jacksonville. But when those postings included dozens for “Seasonal Part-Time Customer Service Reps” at Blockbuster, and no, I’m not busting on them but they are over-represented, to Plasma Donors, well it just doesn’t seem like it’s a fair picture of the employment situation here.

Then, too, Indeed.com is an aggregator. Actual employers who have posted jobs to multiple sites can show up multiple times on Indeed. Federal jobs are also posted, but if you don’t meet a certain number of status qualifications, such as veterans status or already employed by the federal government, it is exceedingly difficult to break into that kind of work in this kind of an economy.

If there were truly three actual jobs for every job seeker in Jacksonville, the Worksource meetings wouldn’t be full to overflowing. It’s easy to go online and post a job to an service. But if you eliminate all the duplications, the franchise or multi-level marketing “opportunities”, and the ridiculous things like “Plasma Donor”, you might have much better picture of the actual opportunities that are available. For those, applicants might need a high level of specialized education for things like RN, LPN or other medical fields, or some very specific experience.

But perhaps the biggest concern is that Indeed used the same criteria for every market it measured in the country. Jacksonville was 2nd in the nation out of 50 markets. If, with all that, there are three postings for every job seeker in this market, what must the true employment picture be like in a place like Detroit, where there is one posting listed for every 18 people looking for work?


NOTE: Tom Patton is currently traveling outside of the state. This column originally ran on the Jacksonville Observer on August 19, 2009. Tom will return next week with a brand new column, so please stay tuned!

4 Responses »

  1. Just another example of someone "torturing the statistics until they confess".

  2. Here's a hint: Before you show up to an interview, ask the name of the company. Then ask if they hav a web-site. If it looks like a "MLM opportunity", you know it's someone else after your money at a time when you can't afford to spend it on risky endeavors.

  3. Thanks, Tom Patton. Yours is the best "There ain't no jobs out-there" article I've read.

    The NBC/MSNBC/CNN news continually show us lines and lines of Mexican nationals walking into the USA willing to work at jobs Americans won't do. What B.S. that is. Just about every house on my street has at least one adult who's been out of work for several months and can't find a job mowing grass, working at a Walmart or flipping burgers at a BurgerKing, McDonalds or Hardees.

    I've a friend who had a $70,000 job at the local paper mill which employed 900+ workers with average pay of $38-$42,000. The mill made a profit every year, but the owners could make more profit closing it down and moved South of the border. My neighbor friend was out of work and couldn't find employment so he used his "retirement savings" to go into the lawn mowing business which he did up to the Bush/Obama crash. Now there's so many out of work, his yard customers have lost their jobs and have stopped having my neighbor mow their lawns.

    The yard man used up his retirement money on a truck, trailer and lawn mowers... he's out of work... no unemployment checks... and no prospects for a job... anywhere. But hold on... I turn on the TV and there on MSNBC Morning Joe is showing us another long line of Mexican nationals crossing the border to fill jobs my neighbors won't do... Hello!!!!!!!!!

    In November 2010 vote every Democrat and every RINO like Juan McCain and Lindsey 'the queen' Graham and CINO like Suntan Charlie Crist out of office at every level: city, county, state and federal.

  4. http://takeourjobs.org/
    Live in whatever dilusion you want, but please do your voting there as well.