WorkHappy Wrap: #smallbusinessweek, American outlaws and The Great Automation

by Jennifer Sigler | May 5, 2017 | Workhappy Blog

National Small Business Week is coming to an end. It’s an annual celebration of the grit, guts and gusto required to build your own shop.

Let’s get down to business.

Tip of the Hat: Tomorrow wraps up National Small Business Week — a recognition made by President Kennedy in 1963 and one we’ve observed ever since.  And rightly so, given that small business is responsible for providing two out of every three jobs in the U.S. each year. Entrepreneur sat down with SBA Administrator (and billionaire) Linda McMahon to discuss her goals for the agency. No. 1 on her plan of action? To raise awareness for the agency’s resource programs.

Further reading: If you haven’t been keeping up with Inc’s feature coverage of Small Business Week, check them out! They sent reporters to various cities across the nation to talk with business owners about the challenges and opportunities they face. Well done.

A New Way of Doing Things: Under Armour plans to “protect their house.” What does this mean? They are investing in their Baltimore homestead — quite literally. Company mastermind Kevin Plank is hoping to eventually move manufacturing for Under Amour back home to U.S. soil (an ambitious and respectable goal, if we do say so).

But the first step for Plank was creating City Garage — a new corporate campus that is part makerspace, part incubator that gives community access to training and industrial-grade technology in order to build careers and spark wealth for local communities. Bravo.

But Under Armour isn’t alone when it comes to their “made in the USA” dreams. Apple has also announced their intention of creating a $1 billion fund to create U.S. manufacturing jobs. Everyone remember how hard President Trump argued for a return of U.S. manufacturing during the election? Stay tuned to see if this starts a trend.

The Numbers Are In: April’s job report card is in. The results: Satisfactory. The number of private sector jobs created in April declined from March —  from 255,000 to 177,000. But this is still 2,000 more jobs than economists projected, so… a win? That’s what economists are calling it. Small setbacks are expected, and the promise of steady job growth is strong, they say. Here’s hoping.

The Great Automation: Economists are projecting that millions of Americans will lose their jobs to automation in the next few decades and this week The Atlantic asked, “Where?” and “Who will feel it the most?” The Institute for Spatial Economic Analysis answered: Major metropolitan cities, especially those big in food preparation and administrative support.

Economists are talking to you Las Vegas and Orlando (but not only you, obviously). Areas that are projected to escape this surge of automation? North Carolina’s Research Triangle and Silicon Valley ­— where there is a higher concentration of jobs that require “creativity and social intelligence.”  This won’t be good for a country that already felt a “geographic unbalance” of wealth pre-2016 presidential election…

Let There be Competition: Or not. We’re talking about “non-competes” — contracts forbidding a person to work for a competitor or leave their jobs to start a similar business — and how their presence has exploded in the American job market. This op-ed piece in the New York Times tackles the concept with gusto, arguing for the dissolution of the practice.

“The liberty to move in the job market not only supports workers’ choice, equality and wage growth but also creates the competition that catalyzes entrepreneurship, innovation and overall economic growth. If we want a healthy and free market, we should not shackle workers to the first business that offers them a job. Let them compete.” We couldn’t have said it better.


Wondering where all your leisure time went? Brigid Schulte did too. Her quest for the answer resulted in Overwhelmed: Work, Love and Play When No One Has the Time where she explores the cult of busyness, time-management issues and work culture. You know, just the stuff we all struggle with on a daily basis. Insider tip: We will discuss the book in detail next week. You’re welcome in advance.

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