In US job market realignment, some left behind | business | Hindustan Times
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In US job market realignment, some left behind

Many of US jobs lost during recession are not coming back. For the last two years, the weak economy has provided an opportunity for employers to do what they would have done anyway: dismiss millions of people — like file clerks, ticket agents and autoworkers.

business Updated: May 13, 2010 22:32 IST
Catherine Rampell (NYT)

Many of US jobs lost during recession are not coming back.

For the last two years, the weak economy has provided an opportunity for employers to do what they would have done anyway: dismiss millions of people — like file clerks, ticket agents and autoworkers.

The phasing out of these positions might have been accomplished through less painful means like attrition, buyouts or more incremental layoffs. But because of the recession, winter came early.

The tough environment has been especially disorienting for older and more experienced workers like Cynthia Norton, 52, an unemployed administrative assistant in Jacksonville.

“I know I’m good at this,” says Norton. “So how the hell did I end up here?”

Administrative work has always been Norton’s “calling,” she says, ever since she started work as an assistant for her aunt at 16. In the ensuing decades she has filed, typed and answered phones for just about every breed of business, from a law firm to a strip club. As a secretary at the RAND Corporation, she once even had the honor of escorting Henry Kissinger.

Norton is one of 1.7 million Americans who were employed in clerical and administrative positions when the recession began, but were no longer working in that occupation by the end of last year.