My Predictions and Trends for 2011
By Marty Nemko
Predictions are most valid when not attempting to dazzle. My
approach to prediction is merely to identify trends that have
accelerated through 2010 and, if signs point to continued
acceleration, I ask myself, "What are the career, business, and
That said, there are larger forces that will accelerate the leftward trend in U.S. politics that enabled Barack Obama to win in 2008:
- The media grows more brazen in its conversion from reporter to advocate. Conspicuous but far from the only examples are the New York Times, CNN, MSNBC led by Rachel Maddow, Keith Olbermann, and Chris Matthews, and the liberal bias of entertainment from The View to The Colbert Report to The Daily Show.
- Because Republicans are older and more tech-resistant, they will be less reachable than Democrats by the ever more potent electronic media (Facebook, Twitter, and even email.)
- Career opportunities will increase in Democrat-favored spending areas: alternative energy, mass transit, immigrant services, publicly provided health care, and tax enforcement (IRS.)
- Despite Tea Party pressures, the federal government will remain very large and continue to offer some of the best-paying, best-benefited, and most stable jobs.
- While the Dems are down, consider volunteering for your favorite Democrat politician. When things improve for the Dems, as I believe they will, that politician will remember that you were there during the tough times.
Career opportunities: Focus your advertising efforts per the above. Work for Facebook or LinkedIn.
TREND: Nuclear, ahem, booms. Bill Gates's new company TerraPower is planning to invest in Toshiba's breakthrough nuclear reactor, that will operate for 100 years with zero emissions, with no need for refueling. That and related technologies will mitigate an, ahem, core objection to nuclear.
- Consider nuclear engineering. For more than a generation now, special interest groups have convinced the U.S. media to present an anti-nuclear message. So, for example, Three Mile Island, in which not one person died, has left the general public with the impression that the Three Mile Island "disaster" was almost as bad as Chernobyl. As a result, there are very few young nuclear engineers. The average age of a nuclear engineer is 58! So I believe that a degree in nuclear engineering may be among the most valuable. I also predict that the U.S. will start to streamline its regulatory process so that nuclear engineers will be able to find work without leaving the country.
- Technical and non-technical workers, from accountants to human resource people, might seek employment in the larger companies in the advanced nuclear energy industry.
- I have invested in the Market Vectors Nuclear Energy Fund.
- Work for or invest in Amazon.
- Become an expert at converting
bricks-and-mortar stores to manufacturers' showrooms. Sony and
Apple have done this for years but the above factors make the case
for manufacturers doing so more compelling. Hang your own shingle
or get hired by one of the big consulting firms, e.g., Accenture,
McKinsey, BCG, Bain, Booz, Monitor, etc.
People don't want to spend on nor carry two or three devices--they'll choose the smartphone: an iPhone for the mainstream, especially the visually oriented, an Android for the more techie, text- and speed-focused. (The current best Android phone may be Nexus S but it will no doubt be superseded in 2011).
Of course, the economic outlook would worsen further if there were another significant terrorist attack which, per the below, is ever more likely.
- Job seekers, businesses, and investors
should focus on growing economies: e.g., The Emirates, Saudi
Arabia, Brazil, Russia, and Asia including, of course, China,
India, and my favorites, the world's two fastest-growing economies:
Singapore and Sri Lanka.
There's a natural tendency among even the least jingoistic Americans to confine their job/business/investment sights to the U.S. but it's likely that the Indo-China vs U.S. growth rate as well as the broader Asia vs U.S. growth rate will continue to widen.
- CPAs and other financial experts might
want to acquire expertise in national bailout approaches and
implementations. Consulting opportunities should abound.
That failure plus increased pressure on the Feds to reduce the deficit will mean that government will spend less in 2011 to prop up the housing market. While in the long run that may be wise, in 2011 the result will be more foreclosures, more houses on the market. and, in turn, even lower housing prices. In addition, as the economy remains stagnant, ever fewer people will be able to afford to buy a home, even at lower prices. So I predict an additional 10% to 20% decline in home prices by the end of 2011, with declines greatest in major coastal cities.
A concomitant effect will be a further increase in bank failures. In 2010, there were more U.S. bank failures (157) than from 1993 to 2008 combined. The predicted increased foreclosures will cause the bank-failure rate to accelerate.
- Rehab apartment buildings in safe but
not tony neighborhoods in locales of relative economic stability:
e.g, DC (fed jobs aplenty), Austin TX (excellent cost/quality of
life ratio) San Jose (tech hub).
- When people don't buy homes, they
rent. So jobs for apartment managers should increase.
- MBAs and accountants might want to develop a specialization in bank consolidation.
- Realtors might specialize in helping banks sell homes they've had to repossess.
- Cafes. As ever more people are forced to move from homes to noisy apartments and/or have multiple roommates, they will seek respite in cafes. I'm especially bullish on the concept of a town hall meeting cafe: In part of the cafe, every hour, another topic of current interest would be discussed.
- Shared housing (See above.) Buy
apartment buildings with two-, three-, and four-bedroom
- Shared housing coaches. As mentioned, more people will need to live with roommates and more young adults will return to live with their parents when unable to find sustainable employment. I believe that personal coaches and mediators could succeed by specializing in helping cohabitants to get along better.
- Repairers. Individuals and businesses will more often choose to repair than replace.
Career opportunities: Especially if such an attack occurs, there will be another increase in hiring by the U.S. Office of Homeland Security and related agencies in the U.S. and abroad. It may be a good time to prepare for a counterterrorism career: biological, chemical, radiological, nuclear, or cyber. If you're not a scientist type, an alternative is a master's in emergency management services.
© Marty Nemko 2004-2018. Usage Rights