America’s top boomtowns: The best places to find a job

If you’re looking to start your career or are thinking about getting a new job, consider looking for work in a boomtown. You’ll need to be geographically flexible, of course, but if you are, you can take advantage of the better employment odds in a boomtown — a growing town that’s thriving economically.

The folks at SmartAsset.com recently released their list of the 10 top boomtowns of the past year. Here’s a look at them, and how you might land a job in one of them.

What makes a boomtown?

When SmartAsset.com set out to find the boomiest of boomtowns, it evaluated 581 cities in America, assessing five key metrics:
  • The unemployment rate
  • How the unemployment rate changed over the previous year
  • The housing growth rate
  • The population growth rate
  • Gross domestic product (GDP) growth

Why those five metrics matter is clear: You want a low unemployment rate so that it’s more of a job-hunter’s market than a job-filler’s one. It’s also better for the unemployment rate to be falling than rising.

An increasing number of homes will help keep housing more affordable, and a growing population tends to reflect people moving into an area. (Note that the population growth rate assessed here is a net one, subtracting those who left an area from those who came to it.) Finally, GDP measures the value of goods and services produced in the region, so GDP growth reflects increasing productivity — a promising sign for job seekers.

America’s top 10 boomtowns

Without further ado, here are SmartAsset.com’s 10 top boomtowns of 2017:

Rank City Net Migration Rate Housing
Growth Rate
Unemployment Rate
1 Cape Coral, Florida 2.9% 7.1% 3.5%
2 Largo, Florida 1.9% 7% 3.1%
3 Palm Coast, Florida 2.4% 7.1% 3.9%
4 Franklin, Tennessee 1.4% 7.9% 2.1%
5 St. Petersburg, Florida 1.9% 4.3% 3.1%
6 Spring Hill, Florida 1.9% 4.5% 4.3%
7 Riverview, Florida 1.9% 4% 3.2%
8 Town ‘n’ Country, Florida 1.9% 3.5% 3.2%
9 Round Rock, Texas 2% 5.2% 3%
10 Tampa, Florida 1.9% 3.4% 3.2%

SOURCE: SMARTASSET.COM.

I didn’t include each city’s 2016-2017 change in unemployment or its GDP growth. Unemployment fell over the year in all 10 towns and GDP growth was close to 4.2% for most, with Cape Coral posting the strongest growth, at 5.2%, and Franklin posting the slowest growth, at a still-respectable rate of 3.4%.

You’ll notice that eight of the towns are in Florida, with Franklin, Tennessee, and Round Rock, Texas, filling out the rest of the list. Central Florida — around Tampa and Orlando — has been seeing much growth. Orlando, for example, has been attracting more technology businesses, while vacation-related businesses have been expanding and getting updated. The Orlando Sentinel notes: “From its early roots in the aviation, aerospace and defense industry along the Interstate 4 corridor, Orlando has grown new tech clusters like modeling and simulation, digital media, interactive entertainment, microelectronics, life sciences, and health-care and medical technologies.”

One factor that might affect Florida boomtowns in the coming year is a big influx of people moving there from Puerto Rico, following the island’s devastating hurricane and slow recovery from it. Many more people could push housing prices and unemployment rates higher to some degree. Between early October and late December of 2017, more than a 250,000 people had arrived in Florida from Puerto Rico.

Landing a job in a boomtown

It can be a bit easier to land your dream job in a boomtown, but it can still be a challenge. Approach the task prepared, gathering many tips and putting effective strategies to use. For example, you might:

  • Research each region of interest to see what companies are there that might be a good fit for you as an employee. Then check out their websites to see what job listings they have. Studying job listings can give you a sense of how actively a company is growing and how it’s growing, as you see what kinds of positions it’s filling.
  • Consider other boomtowns Opens a New Window.. These 10 are not the only ones, and some of them probably won’t make next year’s list, while some newcomers will. Look into regions of interest and into growing industries of interest, to see which companies are hiring.
  • Polish your resume, eliminating amateurish touches such as frilly fonts and phrases such as “references available upon request.” Highlight your achievements and use specifics, such as by saying that you increased sales by 18% in one year. Know that many employers use automation to sift through resumes, so be sure to include keywords from the description of the job you hope to land in your resume, as it can make you seem like a good match.

It’s a good idea to look for jobs in boomtowns, but don’t rule out slower-growing areas, either, as great job opportunities exist in most places.

Switzerland: The most stable place on earth

A new report rates 136 countries on their preparedness to cope with shocks of all kinds: financial, political and natural. Switzerland and Sweden top the list, while Somalia is the least well prepared.

Schweiz Soldat vor Flagge (Sean Gallup/Getty)

Shocks can come in many different ways. Recently wars, natural disasters, massive migration and financial upheavals have shaken the globe. A new report by consultant KPMG – the Change Readiness Index – tries to combine all of these factors and takes a holistic look at how well countries’ governments, businesses and societies are prepared for such events and long-term trends like climate change.

The results of this study were released on Wednesday and Switzerland tops the list as the country best prepared to manage and respond to such unexpected events, followed by Sweden in second place. Of the top-ten countries, seven are in Europe and all are high-income countries.

Germany was rated 9th while the United States managed 12th place. Armenia, which was considered for the first time, ended up in 34th position.

According to the survey the bottom-ten countries “are either in or have recently emerged from conflict.” Of the 127 countries surveyed in both 2015 and 2017, the biggest movers were Bhutan which moved up 35 places and El Salvador which fell 31 spots.

We are all getting older

The biennial review which was conceived as a response to the 2010 Haitian earthquake was a direct reaction to the need to measure countries’ ability to respond to sudden change in a time when no adequate tools existed.

The survey, which was first published in 2012, now covers around 97 percent of the world’s population and 98 percent of its GPD. It looks at everything from labor markets, the financial sector and public administration to security, land rights, gender equality and demographics.

The report pointed out two areas of concern in the near future: an ageing population and migration.

As the global population ages new ideas will need to be developed to deal with such changes. Some countries are being impacted more than others like Japan, which has one of the oldest societies in the world, and India, which it yet to see its population peak. As ever-more workers enter the market, they will need to work longer and be better integrated into the workforce.

Rich countries will also need to keep coping with large-scale migration. Economic and education opportunities along with social safety nets are tempting especially compared to poorer countries. Surprisingly the study showed no direct link between national income and a country’s ability to deal with new arrivals.

These New Funds Let You Invest According To Your Values–And Help Nonprofits

Source: These New Funds Let You Invest According To Your Values–And Help Nonprofits

New funds endorsed by the YWCA and the NAACP, which focus on companies with high grades on treatment of women and African-Americans, also give back to the nonprofits themselves.

If you don’t like the idea of investing in companies with poor records on issues like sexual harassment in the workplace or gender diversity in boardrooms, here’s a new option for you. The Impact Shares YWCA Women’s Empowerment ETF, launching in the first quarter of 2018, only contains the shares of companies with high grades on women’s issues.

The ETF, or Exchange Traded Fund, is one several impact-themed funds being launched by a Texas startup called Impact Shares next year, each with the name of a well-known nonprofit attached (the initial ETF is actually backed by YWCA Metropolitan Chicago). The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is also launching an ETF that empowers people of color through hiring, remuneration, and promotion policies. And others like Oxfam and Habitat for Humanity may not be long behind. They are in discussions with Impact Shares about ETFs around global poverty alleviation and affordable housing. ETFs are made up of basket of stocks, but unlike conventional index or mutual funds, they are tradable like common stocks. That potentially opens impact investing to more people.

Ethan Powell, founder of Impact Shares, says the nonprofits see potential for influencing corporate behavior. “There is a tremendous amount of power that comes from capital allocation and [in how investors spend their money],” he says. “Our investors are aligning their capital with a nonprofit that is really steeped in the issue that they care about.”

Stocks in the YWCA ETF are analyzed by Equileap, a gender-focused investment research group. It scores companies across 18 metrics, from their policies on harassment and employee protection, to those on equal pay, and the proportion of women in senior management. Its latest public report, covering 3,048 global companies, shows cosmetics giant L’Oreal, media company Pearson, and National Australia Bank in the first three places. The first U.S. company listed is Merck, in 18th place. Banks score well generally, with heavy industrial and energy companies tending to score worst.

Powell, who is based in the Dallas suburb of Frisco, says it wasn’t easy to persuade the nonprofits to get involved in finance. Despite the opportunity to influence corporate behavior, they were wary of collaborating with Wall Street.

“The big challenge for us is really in educating the nonprofits and getting them to embrace a new concept,” Powell says. “There’s a culture clash between the nonprofits and what is effectively Wall Street. Generally, they have a level of distrust towards corporate America and definitively Wall Street, which has a reputation for being self-serving.”

The nonprofits are willing to lend their names, though, because they benefit from the ETFs. Once Impact Shares, which is itself also a nonprofit, covers its own costs, it is donating all of its advisory fees to the groups. Powell estimates the partner organizations could get about $500,000 in donations for every $100 million dollars invested in their ETFs.

“For nonprofits creating the ETFs, like the NAACP and the YWCA, there is an opportunity to create engagement with large corporations and investors to drive social change,” says Saadia Madsbjerg, managing director of the Rockefeller Foundation, which awarded Impact Shares a $300,000 grant last summer as part of its Zero Gap impact finance innovation program.

“It’s something that the nonprofits traditionally haven’t tried before and the ETFs also provides a sustainable source of funding for the nonprofits at a time when that money is desperately needed,” she says.

Investors who are interested in using their money for positive change have a growing range of possibilities these days, including managed funds that screen for environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors and robo-advisers that pick stocks algorithmically. Powell says impact-themed ETFs are a flexible option for people with moderate means: the minimum investment is just $20. Similar ETFs already exist, including State Street’s SPDR SSGA Gender Diversity Index ETF (or “SHE”), though they don’t have national nonprofits behind them.

Single-issue investing in complicated organizations may be an inexact approach. A company that does well by its women may still do bad things, after all. But the new ETFs promise market-rate, “S&P 500-like” returns while rewarding companies that do better on social issues. “We’re giving the investing public a way to engage in an issue and use their capital to not only generate a return for themselves but also to incentivize social changes,” Powell says.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ben Schiller is a New York staff writer for Fast Company. Previously, he edited a European management magazine and was a reporter in San Francisco, Prague, and Brussels.

Global sustainable investments grow 25% to $23 trillion | Bloomberg Professional Services

Source: Global sustainable investments grow 25% to $23 trillion | Bloomberg Professional Services

This article was written by Laura Colby from Bloomberg Briefs. It appeared first on the Bloomberg Terminal.

Global socially responsible investments grew by a quarter to $23 trillion over the last two years, with particularly strong gains in China, Japan and Australia and New Zealand.

While every region reported growth in socially responsible assets over the 24 months ending Dec. 31, 2015, the overall pace slowed from the 61 percent growth reported in the prior two-year period, according to a biennial survey by the Global Sustainable Investment Alliance.

GSIA gathers results from regional sustainable investment groups around the world, tracking professionally managed funds that use responsible investing criteria. It includes impact investment and environmental, social, governance funds as well as portfolios that simply exclude weapons manufacturers or gambling companies. Those so-called exclusionary strategies represented $15 trillion — more than half of the assets studied.

The growth far outpaced that of invested assets under management broadly, which stalled in 2015 at about $71.4 trillion, according to Boston Consulting Group. While the vast majority of socially responsible investments are still held by pension funds and other institutions, retail investors now account for 26 percent, up from 13 percent at the end of 2013.

Happiness From Being Generous Has a Neural Basis Within the Brain – Seeker

Source: Happiness From Being Generous Has a Neural Basis Within the Brain – Seeker

In a study on the psychology of giving, MRI scans revealed that an area of the brain linked to generosity triggered a response in another part related to happiness. 

Ground Breaking Study on Domestic Sex Trafficking

By Excellence in Giving
Sex Trafficking has become the issue du jour in America during the past decade. The amount of legislation, coalitions, nonprofits, campus clubs, and documentaries focused on the issue have proliferated. With such an extensive amount of attention, what gaps still exist for donors to address? Excellence in Giving has spent the past year reviewing every study, interviewing sector leaders, and completing brand new research to answer that question.

So many urban legends about “100,000 trafficking victims in the USA with only 100 beds to care for survivors” have been circulated that it is time to set the record straight on what we do know, what we don’t know, and what we just discovered about the extent of the social sector’s role in the fight against domestic sex trafficking.

Did you know?

  • About 100 charities focus the majority of their work on domestic sex trafficking but that number more than doubled from 2011 to 2016 fueled by the 161% increase in private funding from 2010 to 2014
  • 88% of trafficking survivors had contact with healthcare workers while enslaved so training medical personnel how to recognize and respond to signs can rescue more victims
  • Sex traffickers believe selling sex is safer than selling drugs, and “Johns” who pay for sex have no fear of repercussions for posting online about the sexual favors received at 6,339 illicit massage parlors in the USA

Check out our entire ground-breaking study of The Fight Against Domestic Sex Trafficking.

ABOUT: Excellence in Giving’s Research team can identify key data trends for any topic ranging from homelessness in Houston to poverty alleviation in India. Gaps in services are identified so strategic funders can invest where action is needed to make progress solving a problem they care about. The goal is not just to understand an issue or categorize contributing factors to the problem, but to acquire actionable intelligence. Good research leads to smarter giving. Check out our Research & Evaluation Services.

Donations Grew 1.4% to $390 Billion, Says ‘Giving USA’

Charitable giving hit a record high for the third straight year in 2016, reaching $390.1 billion, according to “Giving USA,” an annual study that estimates American philanthropy. However, donations rose at a slower rate than in recent years — 1.4 percent — as key economic indicators grew modestly and a divisive election season sowed uncertainty.

Giving from living individuals, which for years has made up more than 70 percent of donations, rose to $281.9 billion, a 2.6 increase from 2015. That growth rate, though modest compared to recent years, helped offset a 10 percent loss in giving from bequests, which totaled $30.4 billion last year.

Foundation and corporate giving saw modest gains, with each increasing by a little more than 2 percent, to $59.3 billion and $18.6 billion, respectively.

Giving by foundations is the highest it’s been, according to the report, even after adjusting for inflation, but companies have yet to reach a prerecession high of $18.7 billion in donations, set in 2005. That might be explained by a shift in thinking about corporate philanthropy, said Una Osili, director of research at Indiana University’s Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, which conducted the study for the Giving Institute.

In their philanthropy plans, some companies have focused more heavily on sponsorships, cause marketing, and volunteering opportunities for employees, which aren’t captured in “Giving USA” data, Ms. Osili said.

Slow Growth

Giving appears to have been affected by slower growth in key metrics like disposable income and personal consumption that are closely linked to philanthropy. Stock-market performance was strong in the final weeks of 2016, but market results were more mixed the rest of the year, which may have also reined in donors.

Last year “didn’t look like such a robust year” for economic measures tied to giving, Ms. Osili said.

Political and economic uncertainly may have also influenced giving in a year marked by a raucous U.S. election campaign and disruptive world events like Britain’s vote to leave the European Union. Still, Ms. Osili said it’s hard to know exactly what impact the elections or any one event had on giving.

Total giving represented 2.1 percent of gross domestic product last year, the same proportion as the previous two years but slightly above the 1.9 percent average for the past 40 years.

The overall growth rate in “Giving USA” is close to a February 2017 estimate by fundraising-software company Blackbaud, which reported that giving grew 1 percent last year.

The numbers are “Giving USA” researchers’ first estimates for 2016 giving; the figures will be amended over the next two years as researchers receive updated data.

Uncertain 2017

It’s unclear how giving will fare in 2017. Gross domestic product grew at its slowest pace in three years in the first quarter of 2017, and as of mid-May the S&P 500 had seen returns of 6.5 percent, down from a 9.5 percent increase for all of 2016 (but well above 2015’s sub-1 percent gain). “The big message is that it’s a mixed picture” so far, Ms. Osili said.

Source: Donations Grew 1.4% to $390 Billion, Says ‘Giving USA’ – The Chronicle of Philanthropy

The Path to Strategic Philanthropy Part 1

This is the first of a series of posts from TrustBridge Global on Strategic Philanthropy.  The people of TrustBridge Global have decades of experience and a wealth of knowledge and expertise in charitable giving. This series is intended to be a value-added resource – worth your time to read.

Many of the families we’ve served share a common journey from “reactive check writing” to proactive strategic philanthropy. Along the way they experience greater joy as their giving has greater impact on the causes they are passionate about – while benefiting their business and their family. What does that look like and how does one get on that path?

Moving to Strategic Philanthropy is well worth the effort. It is a huge subject area that would fill many books, but it’s possible to summarize the most basic tenets:

  1. It Starts With Passion – When you think about your community, another country or the world in general, what makes you angry? What is your calling? What ignites your passions? This passion (or these passions) could be yours or a fusion of your family’s interests. Ultimately, it leads towards a vision of creating change. For example: Sara’s passion is anti-human trafficking as a result of her travels in Eastern Europe. She is energized by the vision of putting an end to this horrific crime.
  2. Narrowing the Focus – What issue? Where? Who? Example: Realizing she cannot be everywhere and do everything, Sara narrows her focus: a) combating sex trafficking of b) young women in c) Belarus.
  3. Your Unique Approach – Based on your personality, preferences and resources, you will arrive at an approach to change that is unique. Are you hands on? How much resource can you supply? Do you want to supply other resources such as time, influence in addition to money? Go it alone or partner with others? Sara is a busy executive, so partnering and/or funding an existing program is a must. She is willing to add some of her influence as a business owner, plus would want ways to involve her husband and adult children.
  4. Specific Theory of Change – Continuing to research possible activities, narrowing to realistic and specific goals and defining hoped-for outcomes leads to a theory of change. One of Sara’s theories of change is that empowering at-risk people to make informed decisions about migration abroad will reduce the number of young women tricked into sex trafficking. One of Sara’s children finds a successful program in the Ukraine, so Sara partners with La Strada Belarus to provide educational programs and a 24 hour hotline so young women can investigate and find resources for legitimate and safe overseas opportunities. For USD 50,000, Sara helps fund trainers to visit 1,000 secondary and vocational schools and for another USD 150,000 helps underwrite a billboard campaign to promote the hotline’s awareness for one year. The hoped-for outcome is that awareness of the dangers of international migration and the hotline will rise to 90% among the roughly 700,000 women between 15-29 years of age.
  5. Evaluation and Iteration – Theories by definition are still conjectural and subject to experimentation. As we put our theory of change into action, outcomes need to be evaluated and iterative adjustments to the program. A survey drive six months into the program collects awareness data as well as anecdotal evidence of successful and unsuccessful outcomes. The NGO feels that radio would be an effective addition to raise awareness and Sara adds an additional USD 70,000 for a radio advertising campaign for the hotline.

At best, this is a crude framework for a subject area and process that has many important sub-disciplines. How can lasting change be established by developing indigenous leadership? How can theories of change be originated by locals instead of outsiders? How can one find charities to trust? How can one approach philanthropy as a truly integrated function of one’s business? How can giving be harnessed as a powerful transmitter of healthy family values? These and other topics will be addressed in future emails.

Strategic Philanthropy can mean the difference between throwing money around reactively and deriving real impact, meaning and joy in giving. But it’s a daunting process for busy families. TrustBridge Global serves you as your personal foundation staff – use our time and expertise to organize your giving and become more proactive Ultimately, it’s about giving on your own agenda, not the agenda of others – and TrustBridge is your guide and servant for your journey. Email or call me if you want to know more.

TrustBridge Global is now open!

February 28, 2017

For years, a small group of visionary men and women have been dreaming of a donor-advised fund charity built from the ground up to be truly global.  Today, that dream is reality!

Headquartered in Switzerland, we believe TrustBridge Global Foundation is the first open, flexible donor-advised fund in Continental Europe.  TGF also serves as the hub of a growing global network of foundations and charities in Bermuda, USA, South Africa and Hong Kong.  Our twofold purpose is 1) to build Generous Communities by serving business owners and families as their personal foundation and 2) to use our Global Networks to facilitate fast, efficient and easy cross border giving and impact investing worldwide.

Thank you for celebrating with us!

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