Government Jobs – Valuable, Skilled and Educated Work Force

Strategy Plan One

August 7, 2012

government jobsGovernment Jobs

Whether you are an employee in the private or public sector, or self-employed, we all take in the angst from the client groups we serve.



However, with extremely high expectations of government services, taxpayers and clients of government programs vent a bit more, show more frustration and sometimes treat government workers differently.

Government employees work on all levels, assisting entrepreneurs to assisting citizens in every government program under the sun.  They are there, employed to serve the public.  However, the perception and behavior towards public servants is quite shocking, and sometimes to the point of being disrespectful.  This occurs despite the fact that on the other end of that kiosk or government counter is a very valuable, highly educated individual who can really help you if you tap into these resources and programs.

When you hear public servants, much negativity exudes from the critics. Common comments include, “they are lazy”, “overpaid”, “cushy jobs”, “useless”, and “uneducated”, “biased”, “never helpful”, and on and on.  Yes, very harsh terms for dedicated employees who serve the public on a daily basis.

Government Employees

Obviously these comments are furthest from the truth.  The deepest job cuts in this recent economic climate, have occurred with public servants in the US and Canadian governments.  This comes after much human resources investment and years of corrective public employment processes, in some cases hiring the best and brightest work force.  Government institutions have implemented “employment appointments based on merit“… meaning the candidate must pass the highest scrutiny of meeting the job criteria.  It’s not easy getting into the public service.

The modern public service is a very educated and experienced work force, due to job criteria and the abundance of applicants for government jobs.  This highly competitive employment process results in the highest qualified, ranked candidates out of the bunch of applicants.  It is sometimes common, especially in these economic circumstances, to find that government employees are heavily over qualified.

government jobsGovernment Jobs – Pay and Benefits

Depending on jurisdiction, pay isn’t always the greatest in the public service, especially when the majority of positions are classified as administrative or in program delivery.  Specialized areas may pay better.  Some government sectors provide ample benefits which improve the compensation package, but not to the extent of what compensation a similar position may receive in the private sector.   While some senior executive level public service jobs may include a small annual bonus, the majority of the public service does not receive bonuses or incremental pay based on performance.

The human resource strategy in recent years in the public service has been to find cuts, implement efficiencies through automation and offer the public online features.  Gone are the days where getting a government position was a guaranteed long-term career move.  Job security in the public service seems to have gone the way of the dinosaurs.  Public servants are constantly on edge, not knowing if in the next fiscal year their jobs will be cut.  It’s also a scary scenario when certain States or other jurisdictions announce that they are not sure they can pay for the next payroll.

Government Jobs – Highest Scrutiny

The work of the public service and their employees are held to the highest scrutiny, evolved around implementing the highest ethical standards and upholding good values.  With government programming and staffing costs funded by the taxpayer, the public service is carefully watched, carefully analyzed.  This sometimes leads to stressful environments, however, once acquainted with the roles and responsibilities of a government job, one comes to realize this as the norm.

In the modern public service, government jobs are attractive to candidates.  The public service often calls for qualified candidates to take on challenging, interesting work in this global environment.  The jobs can be rewarding, and can lay the groundwork for building better personal and professional capacities … applicable across the board in the private sector and in self-employment.  If considering advancement in the public service, many government sectors see the value in the development and retention of valued internal employees.  It is definitely worthwhile to tap into these public service employment development programs.

Remember that when you apply for government grants and programs, these public servants work hard to provide the services and products that you are requesting.  Give them the time they need to complete their work in a stressed work environment.  Give them the respect that all should expect.  Be receptive to their ideas, feedback and recommendations to strengthen your applications and your dealings with government.  Remember that these public servants have families, strive for a stress free environment and need to survive like the rest of us.

For more information on government jobs check out:

Relevant personal and business development blogs and articles

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US Economy – Business Trends and Statistics During the Obama Era

Strategy Plan One

July 8, 2012

US Economy

The global economy along with the US, experienced difficult economic and financial circumstances over the past few years.  CNN Money has put together and shared some interesting graphs on the economic and financial indicators during the Obama era.  Take a look at some of the results and trends over the past 3.5 years from January 2009 to June 2012.

US Economy – Job Growth

Although slow to dig out of negative job growth, the past 21 consecutive months have shown positive job growth.

Economic indicators - job growth

Unemployment Indicator – US economy

In January 2009, unemployment was sitting at 7.8%.  After a rough 2 year period of increased unemployment, the rate dropped to the current rate of 8.2%, which is now roughly half a percentage point off of the January 2009 figure.

US economy - Unemployment

US Economy – Economic Growth Indicator

Following a similar pattern to job growth, the economic growth GDP indicator illustrated 11 consecutive quarters in positive territory.  Last quarterly report indicated a 1.9% GDP growth rate.

US economy - economic growth GDP

US Economy – Inflation

With the initial period of harsh economics, inflation dipped into negative territory with the falling price of everything from goods, services and house values.  As the economy was slow to turn around, annual inflation started increasing, and during mid 2011, inflation was hitting an annualized rate of roughly 3.5%.  Inflation has now decreased to an annualized rate of under 2%, which can still hinder economic growth.

US economy - inflation

US Economy – Interest Rates

During the initial period of the Obama administration, interest rates climbed to almost 4%, but the respective 2 year period following, rates began to steadily decrease.  Interest rates are now sitting at lower than low rates, but how long can this be maintained.

US Economy - interest rates

To see more economic indicators during the Obama era, check out CNN Money’s article.

More business blogs of interest:

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Father’s Day 2012 – Retail Spending Up

Strategy Plan One

June 15, 2012 

Father’s Day 2012 – Trends in Retail Spending

Business and marketing plans can be developed around the volumes of business that calendar events can bring.  Certain days and periods in the calendar, such as Christmas and Easter can make or break retail and service businesses.  However, many spots in the calendar create billions in economic activity for the US business sector.

Similar to Mother’s Day earlier this year, retail spending around Father’s Day has been projected to increase favorably to $12.7 Billion.  According to a recent survey conducted by National Retail Federation, spending will be up by an estimated 10% this year, with estimated average spending at $117.14.

fathers day 2012 - retail spending

Of the projected $12.7 Billion in Father’s Day spending, here are the big-ticket items Dad’s will be receiving:

  • $2.3 Billion on taking Dads to special outings
  • $1.7 Billion on electronic gifts
  • $1.7 Billion on clothing for Dads
  • $645 Million on books and music, and 
  • $641 Million estimated on sporting goods for gifts

Whether you are a retail business with a store front or online, take note of the survey data on where purchases have been estimated to occur:

  • 41.6% will shop for Father’s Day gifts at department stores
  • 34% will hit a discount store for a cheap Father’s Day gift
  • 28.6% at electronic stores, and 
  • 28.4% of all purchases will occur through online retail sites
Moving with the mobile trends in recent news, 26.7% of smartphone users will utilize their devices to research and purchase gifts.
As you develop your business and marketing plans for your retail or services business, keep on track with the massive potential opportunities around calendar events, such as Father’s Day.
Other relevant blogs and articles on economic indicators:

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Construction Industry – April 2012 Economic Statistics Continue to Climb

Strategy Plan One

June 5, 2012 

Construction Industry – April 2012

US Census Bureau Statistics from the construction industry continue on a favorable trend, now estimated to be $820.7 Billion (seasonally adjusted annual rate) for April 2012.  This is significant up from the month of April 2011 with an increase of 7.3% over that month.  It also represents an increase of 0.3% over the March 2012 figure of the $818 Billion seasonally adjusted annual rate.

These are good economic indicator signs, with the construction industry steadily improving for three consecutive months, and follows favorable statistics released on residential construction and residential sales.

construction industry  - april 2012

The biggest gains occurred in the residential construction sector, growing at 2.6%.  However, non-residential construction represents the majority of construction.

Articles and blogs on economic indicators:

Construction Industry News


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Economic Indicators – Residential Construction and Sales Showing Positive Signs

Strategy Plan One

May 23, 2012 

Economic Indicators – Residential Construction, Residential Sales

The positive one-two punch of residential construction and residential sales economic indicators are more signs of potential longer term economic recovery.  Recently released from the Census Bureau, both indicators are showing positive growth for April 2012.

Residential Sales

For April 2012, sales of new single family houses were at an annual rate of 343,000 (seasonally adjusted), representing a 3.3% increase over March 2012 and a good 9.9% jump over the April 2011 figures.

economic indicators - residential sales

Image Courtesy: Economic Publicist, FRED

The above graph illustrates some favorable trends in the US in sales growth occurring over the past year, but should be cautiously analyzed as fluctuations are occurring on a monthly basis.

Residential Construction

On another positive front, the US Census Bureau is reporting a 2.6% increase in privately owned housing starts in April 2012 over the previous month, and an impressive 29.9% increase over the April 2011 rate.

economic indicators - residential construction

Image courtesy:

The housing construction indicator graph closely mimics the housing sales graph above, as the indicators are closely tied together.


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Business Trends – Small Business Optimism Index on the Rise

Strategy Plan One

May 8, 2012 

Business Trends

Many economic indicators and sub-indicators of recent months have been favoring positive trends in the economy.  The construction and retail industries have been moving in a positive direction over the 2011 figures.  Entrepreneurs and business owners should carefully watch and analyze the indicators for economic and business trends, and react accordingly in planning and operations.

Business Trends – Small Business Optimism Index

With a recent survey and report out by the National Federation of Independent Business Research Foundation, the Small Business Optimism Index appears on a trendy rise.  LIke the index title suggests, The Small Business Optimism Index is the measure of future business optimism from surveyed participants.  The April 2012 figure gained 2 points to 94.5, the highest value since 2007.

business trends - small business optimism index

From sub-indicators in the index, most are indicating favorable views on increasing employment, capital investments, earning potential, and a general overall positive view on the future economic conditions.

business trends - small business optimism index

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Retail Industry Statistics Favorable for March 2012

Strategy Plan One

April 18, 2012 

Retail Industry

The retail industry is potentially on the rebound with some of the most current data out for public consumption.  This is good news for businesses and entrepreneurs around the country who are all desperately looking for signs of recovery.

The latest advance report is out by the US Census Bureau on retail statistics estimates for March 2012.  The report, including the statistics for the combined retail and food industry, cites that the industry total revenue for March 2012 was $411.1 Billion.  This represented an increase of 0.8% over February 2012 and a 6.5% increase over March 2011 figures.


retail industry


Retail industry sales alone increased by 0.8% from February 2012 and consistent with the 6.5% increase above March 2011 data.  The biggest sector jump in the retail industry occurred in building material and garden retail sector, with a 14.1% increase over March 2011 statistics.

Business owners and the industry will cautiously analyze the next few months to determine if this pattern will continue and if it is solid signs of recovery.


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Construction Spending – Construction Industry on the Rebound?

Strategy Plan One

April 13, 2012 

Construction Spending

Construction spending has one of the biggest impacts on economic indicators, as the construction industry is huge.  Construction spending gives us a picture of how well the construction industry is doing in the economy.  Construction, as a major employer is tied to employment and to the housing industry statistics.  The value of construction includes key cost categories such as labor, materials, professional services, and overhead costs.

The following graph from the US Census Bureau shows the trend in construction spending.  The data report indicates that in February 2012, construction spending was at almost $809 Billion, +5.8% increase over February 2011 data.  This represented a $45 Billion increase in construction spending year over year.  Private construction spending accounted for almost a $49 Billion net increase, while public construction spending dropped by nearly $4 Billion.

Overall, the construction industry is on the road to recovery it seems, but still not near the highs of over $1.2 Trillion in construction spending back in 2006.

Value of New Construction Chart



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Oil Prices & Impacts on the US Economy and YOU [Infographic]

Strategy Plan One

April 1, 2012 

The price of crude oil, and consequently the price of everything, is rapidly increasing.  This infographic, courtesy of highlights the impacts of oil prices.

Some fact and impacts of oil prices:

  • 10 out of the last 11 recessions occurred after an increase spike in oil prices
  • $330 Billion – US net outflow for foreign oil
  • Economists projecting 2012 to have the highest gas prices in history
  • Estimation of up to $200 per barrel of oil if Iran relationship worsens
  • Highest impacts would occur to lower – middle income earning families

Time for increased emphasis on alternative energy sources and technologies?  You bet.  Tough economic times an challenges such as these open the doors further to business opportunities around alternatives and green clean energy.


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Economic Indicators, Interest Rates Outlook Positive for US Businesses in 2012

Strategy Plan One

March 18, 2012 

economic indicatorsUS Economic Indicators

As an entrepreneur, review and keep track of US economic indicators and trends.  With the latest report on US Job Recovery in February, many indicators are looking positive.  A recent Bloomberg report cites positive trends in indicators such as the Gross Domestic Product, consumer confidence, the housing industry and interest rate figures.

Economic Indicators – Gross Domestic Product

The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is the indicator of the market value of goods and services produced in the country through a specific period.  The sources in the Bloomberg report estimate that GDP will grow by 2.2% for 2012 in the US, up from 1.7% in 2011.  Good potential news in the country as recent manufacturing reports have been favorable.  Also an emphasis on “Made in the US” strategy will help boost GDP as the focus may be away from many foreign manufactured or supplied goods.

economic indicatorsEconomic Indicators – Consumer Confidence

Consumer confidence is the measurement of how positive, how comfortable the consumer is with the economy and their own personal finances.  It is usually tied to growth in consumer spending in the economy.  Business Week reported a rise in consumer confidence to a four-year high, and further stated a Bloomberg Consumer Comfort index rising.  Improved industry sectors and employment may be the reasons behind a recent rise in consumer confidence.

Economic Indicators – Housing Industry

A Washington Post article is one of those reports pointing to positive trends, showing the housing market stabilizing and in some sectors, housing sales improving.  With improvement in the housing industry, many other indicators such as employment, retail and material sales could improve.  However, in a fragile economy many of these industries are linked, and so is growth.  Factors such as the increasing fuel could have a negative impact on these recent housing market improvements.

Economic Indicators – Interest Rates

The Bloomberg report sources indicate that interest rates will remain steady and low over the next two years.  This is potentially good news for entrepreneurs who will be looking to start-up new ventures and need commercial loans.  This is also favorable news for existing businesses looking to expand and in need of additional funds.  Within your financing mix, commercial loans take up the majority percentage of all financing.  The low rates will help lower the overall cost of borrowing.

As an entrepreneur or business owner, carefully watch and review economic indicators and trends, as those indicators most likely signal potential impacts on your business and position in the economy.

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© 2012 Strategy Plan One