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Thread: APA Jobs Online: indicator of bleak times for planners?

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    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    APA Jobs Online: indicator of bleak times for planners?

    Several months ago, even in a slow economy, when I visited the APA Jobs Online page, there would be anywhere from five to ten new jobs posted in a day.

    No, I'm not looking for a new job. I'm just curious to see who's still hiring. Well, it's a lot slower now; an average of one job a day this month.
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  2. #2
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    Definitely bad times. I got let go back in August, and since then all the job boards I use have dwindled, in some instances to posting no jobs in my region of the country for long periods of time. I really don't have much faith that things will change in the near future, but am I am hoping by the 2nd half of 2009 things will start to look up.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Tide's avatar
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    The South Carolina APA job board has had 2 new listings since mid November. I actually have to say the listings on the APA national site have picked up, they were really down in December and early January.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
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    I definitely have noticed the drop in listings on the APA site in recent months. Most likely a sign of the times, but I also noticed it coincided with their new "look." I wondered if they may have changed fee structures or something.

    On the other hand, many states, cities and counties are in a hiring freeze. We are - at all of these levels. The State of NM currently has only 5 jobs open. Not planning jobs - any job. The City of Albuquerque only has 2 jobs open. These are both a huge decline from just a year ago - and I mean huge. The City, which outsources everything possible (even going to the bathroom it seems...) is also shedding jobs like mad. My local community center just went to half the previous staff (8 to 4) on January 15.

    Bleak is the best way I would describe all of this and I shudder to think of the impact on social services and the like which will definitely be in demand more and more. And its going to get tighter, even though we are considered to be fairing pretty well here.

    I used to think that having a municipal job was pretty safe, but these days... I got two calls just this week from school cohorts recently laid off and looking for any advice on possible opportunities. I work for a small non-profit but am thankful every day that I have somewhere to go that pays me money.

    BTW I'm glad you found work, Dan!
    The purpose of life is a life of purpose

  5. #5
    Cyburbian boiker's avatar
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    After being laid off from a municpal job during the "mini-recession" of 2002-2003, I have no faith in any job being safe.

    I keep my eye on the job board and realize that if a layoff was to occur, it would probably spin me into a completely differnet career path. I don't know of any sector other then medical or federal government that has employment opportunities.
    Dude, I'm cheesing so hard right now.

  6. #6
    NIMBY asshatterer Plus Richmond Jake's avatar
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    APA Florida has only 6 job listings (and one of them is for a county in Maryland). I think that's fewest since I started watching the listings.

    http://www.floridaplanning.org/jobs2.asp

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    Yea..i understand the bleekness with me on eggshells with my current employer. Within the last month there were about 4 job postings for associate/senior planner positions in socal which is great for me. But i have also resorted to maybe going overseas as a community planner for the military.
    Men do dumb $hit... it is what they do to correct the problem that counts.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
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    It is not just planners. I looked in the Sunday paper, and the jobs section was the smallest ever.

  9. #9
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Planning Departments as Seen by City Councils

    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

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    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by boiker View post
    I don't know of any sector other then medical or federal government that has employment opportunities.
    Evidently community colleges are also swelling with applicants looking to get retrained and so they have been hiring more instructors. From the NYTimes:

    Community colleges are turning out to be a similar mecca as enrollment rises because of the recession. Laid-off workers are flocking to the schools to retrain for other occupations, and young people are enrolling in greater numbers to avoid the higher tuitions of a four-year college, said James Jacobs, president of Macomb Community College in Warren, Mich.
    This same article: "Bad Times Spur a Flight to Jobs Viewed as Safe" http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/25/bu...=2&ref=economy

    They also talk about a few niche areas like welding that seem to be always in demand, even as the nature of manufacturing shifts to new products.

    There was also this article from the NYTimes about Pittsburgh's surprising resistance to recessions, citing education and health care as two sectors that have been relatively insulated: "For Pittsburgh, There’s Life After Steel" http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/08/bu...tsburgh&st=cse

    At the same time, there are also articles like these that make higher education (at least some types of institutions) perhaps less weatherproof:
    The purpose of life is a life of purpose

  11. #11
    Cyburbian
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    I haven't heard about anything but hiring freezes and layoffs anywhere. Except where I work and who I work for. We have a few openings. Not typical planning though.

    If I were to get laid off at this point (knock on wood!) I'd probably follow Boiker and make a career change.

  12. #12
    Cyburbian Tide's avatar
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    I think it's a good time for mid to upper level planners to find jobs, it always will be with natural attrition. However, I do believe it will be tough for entry level planners right out of school for the next 2 years.

  13. #13
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    Things are still relatively bleak around here. I was laid off in May of 2008 and I'm lucky if I can find a new job opening to apply for each week. Although I was fortunate to finally grab a job interview last week, it was also my first interview in three months. All I can do for the moment is wait and see if I receive any calls from the other locations I've applied to but most of the responses have been either a) we've found other qualified applicants or b) we've suspended the process and won't be filling the position. Good luck to anyone still looking.

  14. #14
    Cyburbian Seabishop's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Tresmo View post
    If I were to get laid off at this point (knock on wood!) I'd probably follow Boiker and make a career change.
    I say that in frustration too, but then realize that there's not much else for me to do other than work at Applebees. And I'm at the point where I should be saving for my kids' education vs. going deeper into debt for some other degree. Oh well.

  15. #15
    Cyburbian TexanOkie's avatar
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    If Obama's able to pass his stimulus and public works projects (which I personally disagree with), it should be much better times for planners, so long as you're okay working for the Feds.

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    So TexanOkie, do you mean that there should be work directly for the federal government? Or are you just saying that generally?

    My career is basically being strangled in it's crib, and my attempt to into planning was probably the biggest mistake of my life. I'm totally up for any suggestions for alternative careers that any folks care to mention. I worked for elected officials before so if anyone has suggestions that could use those skills it would be appreciate.

    I was watching C-SPAN today and will spare everyone my cynicism. I was really looking forward to the stimulus package, and it's such a disappointment. I guess Obama has made sure that welfare will be available for unemployed planners anyway.

  17. #17
    Cyburbian
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    thoughts on other careers

    I was thinking about different possible employment avenues yesterday and it occurred to me that for anyone who has strong research and analysis skills, one can most likely find work in careers that require this as a primary function. No - it isn't a specific planning job, but as the market is so tight, I think we're all within our right mind to look for places to go that make use of our transferable skills.

    Law firms might be a place to look for work. The US Census Bureau might be another place to look. The military hires civilian employees in various capacities - it might be an option. Heck, the Census Bureau pays $11.25 an hour to work P/T as an address verifier. Not shabby pay for P/T work ... (not a planning salary, but it's probably more than unemployment pays).

    Anyway ... does anyone else have any ideas along these lines?

  18. #18
    Cyburbian Tide's avatar
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    I've begun to look in alternate fields as well such as; project management, executive assistant, emergency planning/management, military jobs (planning related), and public works office.

    It really hit me like a ton of bricks when a close friend said, "So assume for a minute I invented a computer program that makes planners obsolete, what do you do now?" I really had to sit a think about it, only then did I realize how specialized I am and how I need to branch out a little more and get another skill or two to be more marketable.

  19. #19
    Cyburbian Plus
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    Right now if you were an electrical transmission line worker there is more than enough of work after the ice storm we just had.
    They are coming in from surrounding states.
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  20. #20
    Cyburbian Peter Bratt's avatar
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    Planning Job-Hunt dolldrums

    Like many checking the planning job boards, it has been a very slow time. I moved to Philly in July 08 for my wife's new position, giving up a secure planning job at an academic institution. I've not had much luck with the job hunt, although I had a lot of informational interviews when I first came to Philadelphia to get my name around. I also had a couple of interviews before mid-September, being a finalist for two positions.

    However, since September, its been very rough going. I had two interviews since then, with one position being a non-planning job. I'm doing fine financially, since my wife's job pays well, but I'm getting pretty bored around the house. I'm doing a bit of volunteer planning for a local non-profit, but like many others, I'm looking for more substantive stuff.

    Since I graduated with my Masters in Urban Planning in April 08, I'm reluctant to ditch the planning career at the very start, especially since I really enjoy the work I've done in the field. However, If I'm still hanging on the job boards in six months, I might rethink a bit.

  21. #21
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by wahday View post
    I definitely have noticed the drop in listings on the APA site in recent months. Most likely a sign of the times, but I also noticed it coincided with their new "look." I wondered if they may have changed fee structures or something.
    All the the URLs on the APA site changed with their new CMS, and the old URLs weren't remapped. When a site has such a major change to their look and navigation, usually traffic drops a bit until users get used to the changes. I'll admit I visit the APA national site less since the changes, not because the changes make the site any better or worse, but because I'm having a harder time finding things where I'm used to finding them.

    Lawn, off, damn kids, Buick, etc.
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  22. #22
    Ditto Peter's comments. I also graduated May 08 with my Masters and have had zero luck. I'm stuck in the DC area which has no entry-level opporutinities and no one is hiring. The federal government is impossible to break into. All of the counties around the area are on hiring freezes. I've looked into the nonprofit sector as well but my contacts there have informed me that they too are on hiring freezes. They still post jobs but aren't actually hiring. I'm still hoping I get lucky but it's not looking good. DC seems to be a great area if you're mid-senior level. If you're entry-level though forget. Don't bother.

    I'm definitely open to new career opportunities but I don't know what I'm qualified to do. I think my masters has actually made me less attractive to certain employers. I'm also not looking forward to having to compete with the 09 grads. I'm worried employers won't even look at me once they graduate.

  23. #23
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    It is always difficult to find entry-level jobs in planning, although the economy has certainly made them even more scarce. I was talking with several downtown associations today. They are all reporting a decline in revenue, in some cases by 40 percent. Based on this, while work in the non-profit sector may not be available, there should be plenty of volunteer opportunities. Anyone volunteering should identify specific projects that they can do, that will serve as a platform for later seeking a job.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  24. #24
    Cyburbian
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    Good time to join the Peace Corps, where I hid out during most of the housing boom.

    Colorado job postings have slowed down, but compared to Ohio, the slowdown isn't too bad. Colorado is a great place for planners and we typically have more room for entry-level planners than most states.

  25. #25
    Super Moderator kjel's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Cardinal View post
    It is always difficult to find entry-level jobs in planning, although the economy has certainly made them even more scarce. I was talking with several downtown associations today. They are all reporting a decline in revenue, in some cases by 40 percent. Based on this, while work in the non-profit sector may not be available, there should be plenty of volunteer opportunities. Anyone volunteering should identify specific projects that they can do, that will serve as a platform for later seeking a job.
    Ah yes...but who can really afford to work for free?
    "He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?" Jeremiah 22:16

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