After a really good 2013, what will 2014 hold for us?

2013 is ending on a big up note, here are some of the highlights:  

  • The market is up over 25% YTD
  • After the insanity of political polarization that led to a government shutdown, Congress got together and signed a budget for two years, not just one
  • The Fed is going to start tapering
  • Geo Political unrest is on a relative low with positive signs around the world (although Japan vs SK vs China is not positive)
  • 2013 has been the year of the IPO.  Perhaps bubble forming where earnings seems to be taking a back seat in some cases (LinkedIn, Twitter and Amazon are trading at unsustainable levels considering the lack of guidance on future profit)
  • Google.  Just wow, more on that in a later post.

So, what will 2014 hold for us?  Here are four areas I think will be worth watching:

  • Hiring! Even though it is at a 5 year low, Unemployment is still far too high.  Could 2014 be the year of full employment?
  • Innovation.  Corporations have trillions of dollars on their balance sheets and are holding much more cash than they used to. Will we see a wave of new advancements?  
  • More Start Ups.  Although there is a lot of focus on companies like Twitter and Facebook, the actual number of start ups is on a long term trend down, and that is a big problem.  Historically, the greatest amount of employment comes from small companies and new businesses.  We need more of them.  While we all love social media and apps, we especially need new companies in hard tech and science.   
  • Education.  Organizations & Companies like The Kahn Academy and Team Treehouse are changing how people learn.  Ivy League level classes are available for free online. You can attend Harvard and other prestigious schools without actually attending. The missing link in all of this is how employers see the non traditional form of education.  There is a format for how to handle this, something like the way colleges & Universities handle Homeschooling.  The reality of these non traditional methods is more people are becoming well educated.  Will 2014 mark progress on the normalization of non traditional education in the workforce?