Business Opportunities and Jobs: Strategies For Finding Work

If you can follow the threads of a mystery story and sometimes even figure out whodunit, you can find work in this economy. You can uncover new business opportunities and/or find the best places to look for a new job. You can tell when it’s time to leave a job too. Economics can help you do this.

Be aware of economic shifts

There are two kinds of shifts that take place in an economy. There are long-term foundational shifts such as the one I wrote about in my three posts on the publishing industry. These shifts result in permanent changes. And then there are short-term shifts which may or may not result in long-term changes. Short-term shifts are the results of “business cycles.”

Whether you are an employee or an entrepreneur, you’ll survive better by “following the trail” of both short and long-term shifts in the economy.

Long-term economic shifts

As I discussed previously, employment in the print publishing industry is unlikely to ever expand again. But it is likely that jobs in media will increase. For example, Hearst, the well-known publisher of newspapers, an industry sector in dire straits these days, is now moving into the apps business, particularly into news-information-type apps for the iPhone. Random House, now a unit of Bertelsmann (a German media conglomerate), is moving into creating stories for video games along with writing books based on those video games.

Short-term economic shifts

On the other hand, if you’re looking at short-term shifts in the economy, any change in your work may be ephemeral, a butterfly that flits and disappears. This is why it’s really important to keep an eye out for short-term shifts. These are your signals to quickly move out of a declining sector and into one that’s expanding.

During cycles of recessions and boom-times, businesses have to make shifts to survive. An example is the U.S. export business sector. Here’s what’s happened and the new opportunities that emerged.

Shipping industry example

Container shipping companies were hit hard by the financial crisis. There was a dramatic decline in demand for shipping worldwide. These businesses sold off some of their fleets. They also put a good percentage of their ships into mothballs. They slowed down engine speed to save on fuel costs. As a result, the time involved in shipping rose, costing their customers a lot more.

Meanwhile the U.S. dollar declined. It fell so far that its low exchange value encouraged more people abroad to purchase our cheaper U.S. goods. But U.S. ports and the container ship industry weren’t ready for this change. All of a sudden exporters from the U.S. couldn’t find a boat to save their goods. Costs of shipping skyrocketed as container shipping companies decided to keep on limiting shipping routes from the U.S. in order to drive prices high enough again to expand.

The consequences of this “short-term” downturn (which has been going on for a few years) didn’t stop there. U.S. manufacturing companies that depended on container shipping to and from their outsourced plants in other countries were suddenly slammed with rising costs for shipping. In addition, the high jobless rate in this county enabled them to negotiate much lower wages for American workers.

Reversal of offshoring

Thus began a short-term trend of “onshoring” or “reshoring.” Companies began closing foreign operations and bringing those jobs back to America. Caterpillar, GE (General Electric), and U.S. Block Windows, Inc. are just three companies who have done this. The U.S. auto industry which had expanded from Detroit into Canada, Mexico, and California found itself needing to shrink its operations located the furthest from Detroit as well.

Offshoring is still the main trend among U.S. companies, but because of increased shipping costs, as well as political instability and problems with copyright and patents abroad, more U.S companies are moving back. They are encouraged by local, state, and federal government inducements for relocating here. This is probably a short-term shift. More container ships will again sail the seas again. But it’s still a place to find a new job, promotion, or business opportunity for at least a few more years.

Use economic shifts to look for new opportunities

Employees and entrepreneurs who can figure out the workings of economic shifts have a better chance to pluck a promotion, extricate themselves from unemployment, or launch a new business. It isn’t hard to do this. By following business news, amateur “economy detectives” can uncover which industries are doing poorly. Then determine which other sectors might be doing well as a result.

For example, the winner from the export and container shipping sector dilemma is the air freight carrier sector. Fed Ex and UPS have ramped up considerable new business and profits by going where container ships won’t go. Railways too have picked up new customers. Some agricultural shippers are paying for rail transport that takes days just to get their goods to a port with a ship that’s going where they need it to go. Air freight and railways are the economic sectors where you may find new opportunities.

Tracking economic shifts and their consequences for particular industries and companies is how successful investors such as Warren Buffett make money. It’s how you can make money too. Do it and find a new job or a service that you can provide to clients.

Copyright © 2010 Nancy K. Humphreys  All rights reserved. You are free to use material from Brucenomics in whole or in part, as long as you include attribution to Nancy K. Humphreys followed by a live link to

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#1 How to Find Job Opportunities or Business Ideas | Brucenomics · Job News on 03.17.10 at 2:01 pm

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