Debt Ceiling + US Jobs = Red Herring

Tough to avoid the two topics. So let’s address it head on. Its likely that a changing debt ceiling in the United States will have some kind of impact to the economy. That is not a big stretch 🙂

But will it impact jobs directly? Not significantly…but it makes great headlines.

Flustered Anchor people...

It sounds like a story Ron - but you don't understand you?

There has been some statistical analysis that a US GDP swing of 0.01% equates to a monthly job growth of 5000. Some say the debt ceiling being raised could slow GDP growth by 0.06% over the next three years, so that’s 1 million less jobs during that time. But that is pretty hard to track or quantify directly – always has been.

Then there is the credit degradation of the US if the debt ceiling is raised, which can equate into complex economic factors that are way beyond me – but I am pretty sure that CEOs may be a little tighter with borrowing money if the credit markets are tighter, which can disable growth. This equates to some phantom number that is subjective based on a company’s tolerance for investment. It will probably mean a stricter control on government jobs, but again that’s speculation.

What we are avoiding (thereby the Red Herring)
I still stand behind the fact that we if we are not adding at least 200,000 jobs a month consistently, we are not getting it done. Yep – 200k per month. We still are down about 8MM jobs from 2008, and at 200k added a month, it will take us 3+ years to get back to “normal”. Over the last nine months, we are about at an average of 125,000 new jobs each month, 
so I am more concerned about the missing 75,000 x 9 months (675,000 jobs). That adds up. Quick. Last couple months I think we were all on vacation – 18000 adds last month? We need to do better.

We need a plan AND an emergency response. I don’t really see either being talked about, and I think that is why this debt ceiling + jobs discussion is a red herring.

Any economic crisis tends to get linked to jobs in the short term, but rarely does it impact the long term planning of businesses and their overall need for people who want to work hard and effectively.

The belt got pretty tight before the debt ceiling conversation happened, so I’ll go on a limb and say that its tough to squeeze more, so I don’t think that we are in for a longer term strain on job growth because of the debt ceiling. There are too many factors that are already impending it plenty, and we are lacking in this department so much, that I think any additional poor performance will be tough to really ferret out.

I think I will let MSNBC, CNN, and Fox News get their ratings and keeping talking about it though. I love it when anchors get flustered…

So Harry Potter is Out of Work…now what?

Well I think the cast and crew knew this day would come probably before we did, but we all knew that the series would come to a close. I am sure you all can appreciate how hundreds of people who were specialists in creating goblin masks, animations, and so on are not longer working on Harry Potter films, and have had to move on to other projects. And they did so many months ago.

But many people are not in the position of 1) knowing that they are in a job that will last for several years and 2) they actually know when it will end.

Employers and employee can talk about this. Really – you can. Its not illegal, immoral, or a bad practice. The relationship between employer and employee should be open enough to be able to talk about expectations, future, and stability.

Here are a few practices for employees and employers can use to open up the dialogue about future employment and stability:


  1. Have a performance review process that discusses past performance, and then communicates what development needs to happen for either improvement or increase productivity. Once a year or twice a year is good. This is pretty standard. I would also recommend you have one about 60 days after the start of a new project, initiative, or job. Dig into how people are doing early on new things.
  2. Avoid using weekly meetings where you review status and everyday stuff as a time to review the future. Have separate meetings and agendas that talk specifically about performance, training, and future. Have an open dialogue about problems, successes and so on. Make those “weekly meetings” into briefings, where you can review operations, every day activity and status.
  3. Communicate to teams about rumors and realities involving your group, the business, and its future. Your teams are probably freaked about their job security. Sometimes you may be in the know, and sometime you are not. Communicate what you can with direction from leadership and control the unnecessary and likely inaccurate spin that is developing by the water cooler.


  1. Practice talking with your boss and be prepared when having these discussions. There is no harm in preparing questions, practicing in the mirror about what you want to ask, or even talking to a mentor, close friend, parent, etc about what you want to talk with your boss about when it comes to your job stability or career or future – especially when a major change is on the horizon.
  2. Ask for permission to talk about the pending change or event and its effect on you personally – but PLEASE set an appointment. Even if that means “boss, can I talk to you tomorrow about some stuff I heard about the business” – give them a heads up. You don’t want a reaction or an on the fly answer to your serious questions, so try and avoid soliciting that type of response.
  3. Think carefully about what is important to you, and what is important to them, and figure out which is critical to a conversations. What you think is important to your life may not be critical to your employer. That does not mean you should or should not be emotional or sharing. You make the call on sharing based on your boss and your culture. There are no rules anymore, except maybe this one – be germane. It means be relevant to the theme or be closely or significantly related. So indicate you have concerns about how a future merger and new team dynamics may effect work/life balance and productivity for you and you want to get ahead of it…don’t talk about how you are concerned how you can’t pick up Johnny after school.

In the meantime, check out Daniel Radcliffe in the broadway play – How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying – he was thinking ahead 🙂