The value of your major in college

This is a very controversial topic. What should you have in mind when choosing a college major?

On the one hand, it’s very important to study something you enjoy. If you do that you will likely excel or at least do better, and then you can think about how to turn that degree into a career. If you love English or History, this thinking says you should pursue these majors.

On the other hand, particularly if you’re taking out big loans, to what extent is it important to study something that will lead to an actual career? Majors like engineering and accounting come to mind.

This article examines the topic from the perspective of turning your major into a career.

The student might say, “English,” “psychology,” “political science” or “engineering.”

And then, in my mind, after factoring in some other information, I say to myself “job” or “no job,” depending on the major.

An English major with no internships or any plan of what she might do with the major to earn a living? No job.

A political science major with no internships that could lead to a specific job opportunity? No job, I think.

Engineering major with three relevant internships in the engineering field? Ding. Ding. We have a winner. Job.

Read the entire article.

In one sense, it tilts too far to the career area. Yet it brings up an important point. Too many college students have no idea how they can earn a living after college, and WAY too many of them are taking out huge loans and then selecting majors that will make it very difficult for them to repay those loans whiles earning a living.

The bottom line is that all factors have to be considered. I think it’s important that college students pursue an education. College has to be much more than just a vocational program.

Yet you have to have common sense. Maybe you can get that English degree at a great public university instead of a small liberal arts school that costs $50,000 per year. This way if you decide that grad school makes sense for your career after you get that English or History degree, you’ll be in a much better position financially to make that decision.


Jobless claims plunge

The news on jobs keeps improving.

Weekly jobless claims moved sharply lower, while inflation remained tame and housing starts unexpectedly weakened in December, according to a set of data painting a mixed picture of the economic recovery.

Weekly unemployment benefit applications dropped to 352,000, the fewest in nearly four years.

The buzz out there is that manufacturing is a big part of the rebound.

It will be interesting to see how the improving job situation will affect the 2012 presidential election.


Economic news keeps improving

It’s time to get back out there. Demand is picking up from everything including consumer products and being reflected in rising used car prices. We just heard that credit card debt spiked at the end of 2011. This is a huge sign that people are getting more optimistic about the economy. When people start feeling better, they spend more. When they spend more, businesses realize they need to ramp up production and supply. This is econ 101, so the job you were looking for last year might now be available this year.

It’s been a rough 3 years since the bottom fell out of the housing market and then the job market. Many people have given up looking for work. But now is the time to get optimistic and aggressive. Don’t sit on your hands. Dust off your resume, go back to all your old contacts and also get creative. There are new fields opening up. Did you know there was a domestic oil and gas boom going on? Read the business sections of newspapers and web sites.

You just might find your self in a great position earning a living wage again. You can finally dump your old car and you’ll be driving a used Porsche 911 that you’ve been dreaming about. Maybe you can put a bid on that cool house that just went through foreclosure. Or get your old house back!

It’s time to think differently. It’s a new year, and the sentiment out there is changing. Take advantage of it!


Unemployment drops to 8.5%

Slowly but surely, we’re starting to see a rebound in the US economy. Manufacturing is picking up, consumers are spending more and companies are starting to hire. The unemployment rate has now dropped to 8.5% after the economy added 200,000 jobs in December.

The jobs report builds on a several new indicators pointing toward an economy on the upswing.

The government reported Thursday that claims for unemployment benefits declined in the final week of December, moving the average over the past four weeks to its lowest level in more than three years.

The Institute for Supply Management reported this week that its employment index for December was 55.1, the highest reading since June. A reading above 50 means that more companies are creating jobs than cutting them.

The nation’s factories have added more than 300,000 jobs since the beginning of 2010 — about 13 percent of what was lost during the recession — marking the first sustained increase in manufacturing employment since 1997, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Auto sales in December were up, continuing their substantial improvement from the summer. And for all of 2011, vehicle sales rose 10 percent.

The auto numbers are critical. For example, Chrysler sales keep increasing and the company is adding jobs.

The economy has added jobs for 15 consecutive months so there is reason for continued optimism.

If you’ve been out of work and have given up, go back and start looking again.


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