The U.S. economy may be suffering, but that doesn’t mean that American corporations are sharing the pain.
Earnings at companies in the S&P 500 are the highest they have been in four years, according to the Wall Street Journal. All except about a quarter of the companies in the index have outperformed analysts’ predictions. Quite impressive and surprising given that this is still just the second quarter.
If U.S. corporations were limited to the confines of their own nation, or even restricted to the developed world, the numbers probably wouldn’t be gleaming, at least not to this degree.
“The gains that corporations are experiencing in many cases have come from international operations, particularly in emerging markets that aren't struggling with the debt problems and other uncertainties that have consumed policy makers in the U.S. and Europe,” the Journal reported.
Some of America’s most well-known and respected companies, such as McDonald’s and General Electric, are finding that for significant growth and profits they need to make the globe their playground.
For example, “each of GE’s international divisions saw double-digit revenue growth for the quarter, led by a 91 percent gain in India.”
While this is great news for those corporations and their investors, U.S. job seekers shouldn’t rush to join the celebration. As the world contributes to a greater portion of the success of U.S. corporations, Americans will have to learn to share the jobs that are created.
Jeffrey Immelt, chief executive of GE, expressed a commitment to American workers, saying that he planned to keep about half of the work force domestic. But he also noted that GE would continue to offer larger numbers of employment opportunities to those in the markets where the company is selling its products.
Caterpillar announced Friday that it would increase its work force by 17,000. But the United States will only see 6,000 of those positions.
The celebration of the growing success of American companies abroad may only benefit a limited number of jobs seekers, but corporations are highly optimistic about their prospects beyond the borders. The forecasts for many is expected to be better during the last two quarters than it has been thus far.
However, U.S. manufacturing has accounted for many of the new jobs created since the Great Recession. It won't survive, however, unless it builds up a skilled labor force, says Mark C. Tomlinson, executive director and chief executive officer of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers.
"Many Americans may think that manufacturing is a dying industry, no longer the backbone of America’s economy," Tomlinson writes in the Christian Science Monitor. " But manufacturing employment has accounted for many of the nonfarm payroll jobs created since December 2009 – almost 15 percent of them."
"Manufacturing remains at the heart of American innovation," says Tomlinson. "But there’s a crisis looming: Manufacturers can only sustain such high productivity figures by continuing to develop the sector’s current and future work force," he wrote.
"It’s getting harder and harder to find qualified recruits for today’s advanced manufacturing jobs."
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