Maybe non-essential government employees should learn to code.

According to the WSJ, the partial government shutdown prompted government employees to test the job market

Evidence: job site Indeed.com reports that page views coming from government employees working for unfunded agencies surged during the partial government.

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ZipRecruiter and LinkedIn report similar surges in government employee activity.

But, the WSJ concludes that despite the booming economy “there’s no evidence that the job-searching led to an actual exodus from the federal government’s payrolls.”

Why is that?

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One hypothesis is that, when the rubber hit the road, the furloughed employees didn’t want to give up cushy (i.e. non-essential) jobs that come with above market salaries and generous benefits, including gold standard health insurance, multi-tiered retirement (social security, 401K and a pension), and near-guaranteed life-time employment (via civil service and union contracts).

Some may have even realized that, worst case, the shutdown gave them an extra month’s vacation — albeit with with deferred pay.

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Another hypothesis: even in a booming economy, there isn’t much of a market for non-essential employees.  That’s a province institutionalized in the government.

More specifically, the job-seekers may have discovered that their skills  are out-of-sync with the private sector’s needs.

Maybe they should learn to code….

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Flashback

Learning to code was the frequent insensitive advice offered to middle America workers who lost their jobs to to government regulation (think: coal miners) or globalization (think: auto industry).

As if a middle age coal miner was going to develop web sites … or auto assembly line worker was just a course or two away from a career in healthcare.

Maybe non-essential government employees are better suited for those jobs … or, maybe not.

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