- Created on 14 January 2013
(CNNMoney) -- Since the recession, health care has been the single biggest sector for job growth, but that doesn't mean it's easy to get hired.
Registered nurses fresh out of school are coming across thousands of job postings with an impossible requirement: "no new grads."
It's a problem well documented by the nursing industry. About 43% of newly licensed RNs still do not have jobs within 18 months after graduation, according to a survey conducted by the American Society of Registered Nurses.
"The process has become more and more discouraging, especially since hospitals want RNs with experience, yet nobody is willing to give us this experience," said Ronak Soliemannjad, 26, who has been searching for a nursing job since she graduated in June.
New grads have taken to posting their frustrations on allnurses.com, a social network for nurses.
"It is a tough market for a new grad RN. A 'year experience required' or 'not considering new grads at this time' is pretty much the norm," wrote one.
"It's like new grads have a disease or something," said another.
How can this be, at a time when health care jobs are booming and a supposed shortage of RNs sent many career seekers running to nursing school?
The recession is to blame, says Peter Buerhaus, a registered nurse and economist who teaches at the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing. In a paper he co-authored in the New England Journal of Medicine last year, he shows an interesting phenomenon happens in the demographics of the nursing workforce when the economy is weak.
About 90% of nurses are women, 60% are married, and roughly a quarter are over 50 years old. It's typical for many nurses to take time off to raise children in their 30s, and given the long days spent working on their feet, many often retire in their late 50s.
Prior to the recession, about 73,000 nurses left the profession each year due to childbearing, retirement, burning out or death.
But when the recession hit, spouses lost jobs, 401(k)s lost money, and facing financial uncertainty, fewer nurses chose to leave work, Buerhaus said.
"Many of those nurses are still in the workforce, and they're not leaving because we don't see a convincing jobs recovery yet," Buerhaus said. "They're clogging the market and making it harder for these new RNs to get a job."
At the same time, enrollment in nursing colleges has exploded in recent years. In the 2010-2011 school year, 169,000 people were enrolled in entry-level baccalaureate nursing programs. That's more than double the 78,000 students from a decade earlier, according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.
There just aren't enough jobs to go around for all these new grads.
Annah Karam heads recruiting for six hospitals in the Daughters of Charity Health System in Los Angeles. Each hospital has a program in place aimed at hiring at least 10 new grads a year, but the competition is fierce. Karam often receives more than 1,000 applications for each post. For other positions, the hospitals prefer experienced nurses.
"We're new grad friendly but with the challenges we face in the hospital world, we often need seasoned nurses," Karam said. "We hire thousands of nurses across the whole system, yet a very small percentage are new grads."
Eventually, nursing grads should have great job prospects.
Demand for health care services is expected to climb as more baby boomers retire and health care reform makes medical care accessible to more people. As older nurses start retiring, economists predict a massive nursing shortage will reemerge in the United States.
"We've been really worried about the future workforce because we've got almost 900,000 nurses over the age of 50 who will probably retire this decade, and we'll have to replace them," Buerhaus said.
But for recent grads like Soliemannjad, that's not particularly encouraging.
"It just seems that when the experts talk about the economy getting better, they're not talking about it improving in two or three months. They're talking about years," she said. "You have new grads with student loans to pay off. We simply can't not work for another year and half."
- Created on 11 January 2013
(AP) — President Barack Obama is putting a symbolic twist on a time-honored tradition, taking the oath of office for his second term with his hand placed not on a single Bible but on two — one owned by Martin Luther King Jr. and one by Abraham Lincoln.
The inclusion of King's Bible is particularly significant since the inauguration comes on Jan. 21, the federal holiday in honor of the civil rights leader, who delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech 50 years ago at the Lincoln Memorial. Obama will be facing the memorial as he takes the oath. King's Bible, which his children say he used early in his career as a preacher, has never been part of a presidential inauguration.
The selection of the pair of Bibles announced Thursday is richly symbolic of the struggle for equality in America, beginning with Lincoln's emancipation of slaves 150 years ago this month, through King's leadership of the civil rights movement, and ultimately to Obama becoming the nation's first black president.
Inaugural planners say Obama plans to place his left hand on the stacked Bibles held by first lady Michelle Obama as he raises his right hand to repeat the oath administered by Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts. It hasn't been determined which will be on top, with Obama's hand actually resting on it, but King's is larger, so it may need to be on the bottom.
Obama used the Lincoln Bible while taking the oath four years ago — the first time it had been used since the 16th president's inauguration in 1861. Obama's inaugural committee says that the president plans to use the first lady's family's Bible for a private swearing-in at the White House on Sunday, Jan. 20. Public presidential inaugurations traditionally aren't held on Sundays, even though the Constitution states that a president's new term begins automatically at noon on the 20th.
King's children describe their father's King James version as his "traveling Bible" that he took as part of a collection of books he carried with him while constantly on the road and used for inspiration and preparing sermons and speeches. His daughter Bernice King says her father marked the pages with several dates from May 1954, the same month he delivered his first sermon at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Ala.
"We know our father would be deeply moved to see President Obama take the oath of office using his Bible," King's children said in a statement provided by the inaugural committee. "His traveling Bible inspired him as he fought for freedom, justice and equality, and we hope it can be a source of strength for the president as he begins his second term."
Obama also plans to honor King throughout his inaugural weekend, beginning by asking Americans to volunteer in their communities on Saturday, Jan. 19, to honor the civil right leader's legacy of service. The King family plans to participate. Inaugural planners also say there will be a float honoring King in the parade to the White House after the swearing-in ceremony.
Though there is no constitutional requirement for the use of a Bible while taking the oath, George Washington began the tradition with a Bible hastily grabbed from St. John's Masonic Lodge No. 1 for his swearing-in on April 30, 1789, in New York. Since then, presidents have typically chosen Bibles with historical or personal significance, many using family heirlooms. Obama is not the first president to select two Bibles — Harry Truman did so in 1949, Dwight Eisenhower in 1953 and Richard Nixon in 1969.
Some presidents kiss the book after completing the oath. Sometimes the Bible is open to meaningful passages, such as President George W. Bush's choice of Isaiah 40:31 — "Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint."
The Lincoln Bible is part of the Library of Congress collections. The Supreme Court clerk bought the Bible, bound in burgundy velvet with a gold-washed white metal rim and heavily gilded edges, especially for Lincoln's swearing-in.
The first lady's Robinson family Bible was a gift from her late father, Fraser Robinson III, to his mother, LaVaughn Delores Robinson, on Mother's Day 1958. The first lady's grandmother was the first black female manager of a Moody Bible Institute's bookstore, and her son's present was her favorite, inaugural planners say.
They also say Vice President Joe Biden will use a Bible with a Celtic cross on the cover that has been in his family for 120 years. Biden has used the Bible every time he's been sworn into federal office, back to his entry in the Senate 40 years ago.
- Created on 04 January 2013
(CNNMoney) -- Employers may be hiring, but there's another big problem with the job market that isn't being tracked as closely: the hopelessly unemployed.
An often overlooked number calculated by the Labor Department shows millions of Americans want a job but haven't searched for one in at least a year. They've simply given up hope.
They're not counted as part of the labor force, the official unemployment rate, or the category the Labor Department refers to as "discouraged workers" -- those who haven't bothered to look for work in the last four weeks.
These hopelessly unemployed workers have just been jobless so long, they've fallen off the main government measures altogether.
"The way we're measuring the long-term unemployed has a lot of holes in it," said Stephen Bronars, senior economist for Welch Consulting. "A person can be discouraged for a while, but then gets bumped over into this other category."
The Labor Department started tracking this group in 1994, but it doesn't get much attention. Recently, it has started growing more rapidly than usual, even as other job measures have shown improvement.
Five years ago, before the recession began, about 2.5 million people said they wanted a job but hadn't searched for one in at least a year. Now, that number is above 3.3 million.
"We have always had a set of people who want a job but for whatever reason are not looking," said Heidi Shierholz, economist with the Economic Policy Institute. "But this recession was so severe and job opportunities are still so weak, this group is growing because of that."
Who are the hopelessly unemployed?
"It's hard to say exactly who these people might be," Bronars said. That's because they say they want to work, but also say they aren't looking. The questioning doesn't go much deeper than that.
Call them "super discouraged workers," said Erik Hurst, economist at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.
It's likely that they'd prefer to work, but just don't think they can find a job and have other means or responsibilities with which to occupy their time.
One explanation for the growing number of hopelessly unemployed workers could be age. The fastest growing demographic in the category is workers over age 55, who typically have a harder time finding new jobs. That could include older workers who would prefer to remain on the job but were pushed into early retirement because of the recession.
Another part of the problem may be explained by parents who take time off to raise a family, but then postpone their plans to re-enter the job market because of the weak economy.
Others could be students who want jobs, but gave up on the search and decided to go back to school instead, hoping for better job opportunities down the road.
Ignoring the hopeless might make it seem like the long-term unemployment problem in the United States is slowly improving.
The unemployment rate is at its lowest level since 2008, and the number of people unemployed for six months or more has dropped. Plus, the number of so-called "discouraged workers" has also fallen.
But the growing number of hopelessly unemployed is worrisome. Studies widely show the longer a person is unemployed, the weaker his or her chances are of getting a job.
At some point, long-term unemployment can lead workers to become permanently detached from the labor force. That's not good for the economy.
"We know we have this huge pool of missing workers," Shierholz said. "And we are not yet in a labor market that draws people in."
- Created on 09 January 2013
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- Created on 03 January 2013
2013 is the year that Dr. Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech turns 50, reports Ellen Freudenheim on Huffington Post.
A half-century ago, it was a radical notion that a black man in America could have any kind of big dream at all, outside the realms of sports, music and entertainment.
Yet on Monday, January 21, 2013, which is Martin Luther King Day, we will see the second term inauguration of America's first-ever black president. Talk about historical synergy.
Toward the end of this speech, Dr. King envisioned an improbable goal, "to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood."
Now, that's what I call a New Year's resolution.
2013: A Year of Landmark Civil Rights Anniversaries
In fact, this year there are several important civil rights anniversaries. 2013 marks, among others:
- the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation (1863).
- 150th anniversary of the placement of the Statue of Freedom atop the Capitol Dome (1863).
- 50th anniversary of the "I Have a Dream" speech (1963).
- 50th anniversary of the murder of NAACP leader Medgar Evers and riots in Birmingham after the murder of four girls at the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church (1963).
- the inauguration of the first black American president to his second term (2013).
And, as a reminder of the sometimes-terrible costs of change, 2013 is also the 50th anniversary of the assassination of another young president, JFK.
More Than Just History, the "I Have a Dream" Speech Still Resonates
Progressives may be less than thrilled with various policy compromises made by this administration. But the historicity of Obama's second inauguration cannot be denied. Juxtaposed with Dr. King's speech, Obama's presidency proves that in a democracy, progress can be made -- albeit achingly slowly, at great cost and, in the end, with greatly imperfect outcomes.
As we head into January policy battles -- over the unfinished business of the fiscal cliff, over legislation to be introduced by Sen. Feinstein on gun control and assault weapons, and other issues -- the narrative of Dr. King's too-short life is a reminder that when redressing a power imbalance, progress is not given; it must be won.
Standing in Washington, D.C. and addressing the largest civil rights demonstration this nation had ever seen, Dr. King said in his famous 1963 speech:
"In a sense we have come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men would be guaranteed the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check which has come back marked "insufficient funds." But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt."
For Americans old enough to recall the civil rights era -- millions of baby boomers over age 50 or so -- this speech represents one of the iconic struggles of our nation in the second half of the 20th century. Among those watching President Obama forge a path in his second term are many who can personally bear witness to Dr. King's stature. For instance, Dr. King's friend and supporter Harry Belafonte, the singer-activist, will give a keynote address at this year's Brooklyn Academy of Music's 27th annual Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the largest such event in New York City.
2013 New Year's Resolution, Not About the Personal but About the Political
As a soundbite, the title of the "I Have a Dream" speech has passed into the vernacular of American language. We understand the shorthand of the title; it's a call to our better selves, for the dissolution of injustice.
But how many know that Dr. King, with a phraseology reminiscent of the biblical prophets, also said, "This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism?" Or, "There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, 'When will you be satisfied?'"
With a president who sometimes seems to need a caffeine jolt to his inner radical, the "I Have a Dream Speech" speech reads like an activists' wake up alarm. Tens of thousands of grassroots activists worked hard to win this president's reelection. With Obama's inauguration in a few weeks, can we revitalize the profound calling in Kings' speech to really tackle the struggles we face today -- a polarized Congress, a Tea Party-infused Republican right, high unemployment, a regressive attack on women's rights to our own bodies, a decades-long epidemic of gun violence in our inner cities, a fragmented healthcare system? In the second term of our first black presidency, can we not just honor Dr. King's words as history, but infect ourselves with his passion for creating the change we believe in?
Along with losing weight and exercising more, make a political New Year's resolution this year. But first, for inspiration and vision, read Dr. King's speech.