Friday, October 24, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Tara Weiner: Don't overlook the mid-market for jobs

Tara Weiner, who heads the Philadelphia office of Deloitte says that the mid-market is overlooked when it comes to creating jobs in the economy.

Tara Weiner: Don't overlook the mid-market for jobs

Tara Weiner
Tara Weiner

Tara Weiner, who heads the Philadelphia office of Deloitte says that the mid-market is overlooked when it comes to creating jobs in the economy.

Weiner has been watching money and analyzing companies for a long time, which is why I asked her to be part of my panel of experts who analyzed the economy and the job situation in Sunday's Inquirer. The story appeared the day after the U.S. Labor Department released its report on the July job situation. You can read my Saturday story on it by clicking here.

We didn't have enough room in the paper for everyone's entire remarks, but that's why we love cyberspace. Thanks to all our experts, I think we've been able to give everyone good perspectives on jobs and the economy. 

Here are Tara Weiner's remarks:

Is this the new normal?

There is an often overlooked growth engine for the U.S. economy that plays an important role in determining job growth – the mid-market. Accounting for more than 24 million working American’s and nearly 40 percent of the national GDP, midsized companies are an important contributor to the economy. 

After years of downsizing and streamlining, many mid-market companies appear to be back to hiring. The recession may have taught them how to deliver high-quality goods and services with a lean staff and limited budget.

There are still fundamental business challenges these midsized companies face that may contribute to the stagnant job market. Access to financing and capital, government debt, and uncertainties related to taxes and health care costs may restrain their optimism as they wait to see how and when the economy will improve. 

Many of these companies are cash rich though and are continuing to spend on internal things like technology and training investments to prepare their business for growth when the economy rebounds. Once these external challenges are less of a threat, there is greater potential for hiring trends to improve as hesitancy to hire new talent and grow their businesses declines.

What would encourage hiring?

The energy and health care industries are top of mind and may be good areas for job creation.

Take the energy sector as an example.Where once energy may have been a matter confined to Congressional committees and industry groups, today nearly every constituency is mobilized, from politicians, to corporations of all kinds, to individuals in many corners of America and the world. Unions, too, are on the front lines, since they represent workers whose skills—as plumbers, welders, technicians—can be transferred to the new, clean energy spheres.

Another area to consider is the Baby Boomer generation. Many in this group are working longer because of rising living costs. When more of this generation exit the workforce, there may be an opening up of the job market. 

Here's the rest of the line-up

Last Saturday: Petra Todd, University of Pennsylvania labor economist

Tuesday: Carl Van Horn, head of the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University.

Wednesday: Cheryl Spaulding, co-founder of Joseph's People, a network of support groups for the unemployed at suburban churches.

Thursday: Philip Kirschner, head of the New Jersey Association of Business and Industry

Friday: Mark Price, a labor economist with the Keystone Research Center in Harrisburg.   

Jane M. Von Bergen Inquirer Staff Writer
About this blog

Jobbing covers the workplace – employment, unemployment, management, unions, legal issues, labor economics, benefits, work-life balance, workforce development, trends and profiles.

Jane M. Von Bergen writes about workplace issues for the Inquirer.

Married to a photographer she met at her college newspaper, Von Bergen has been a reporter since fourth grade, covering education, government, retailing, courts, marketing and business. “I love the specific detail that tells the story,” she says.

Reach Jane M. at jvonbergen@phillynews.com.

Jane M. Von Bergen Inquirer Staff Writer
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