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An Unexpected Unemployment Stat: Reading the fine print

By: Brian Webb, CPC

As the monthly unemployment stats rolled in last week, we saw several headlines highlighting the same overall theme:

“Companies hire at slow pace for 3rd straight month” -AP

“Economy sputters as companies add only 71000 jobs in July” – Washington Post

“U.S. Employers Shed 131000 Jobs in July; Unemployment Rate Steady at 9.5%” – Wall Street Journal

“Unemployment remains unchanged at 9.5% in July, private companies only added 71,000 jobs”

– NY Daily News

Hidden deep in the DOL stat tables is one piece of information that is almost always overlooked: For college graduates over age 25, the unemployment rate is actually 4.5% (link). Considering that Full Employment is often defined by economists as 4%, the picture among this demographic clearly is not as bleak as those headlines suggest.

As a recruiter I’m often asked what the hiring climate is like. People often make their own assumptions: “I bet you have a ton of people and no jobs to put them in, right?” They’re often quite surprised when I tell them that’s not the case. While the volume of job openings isn’t quite what it was a few years ago, there are often multiple opportunities available for those with the proper tools.

Companies often learn this lesson the hard way. Their assumption when attempting to fill a position is “We’ll just post it, with so many people unemployed we’ll have our pick from dozens of people.” What the hiring manager learns, as weeks turn into months, is that despite the economic downturn finding qualified candidates is often harder now than it was before. The percentage of qualified candidates in that growing stack of resume s on their desks is so low, they may spend a few hours just sorting through them. Do they delegate that sorting to someone with the risk that good candidates get overlooked? Do they let the quality of their day-to-day work suffer, distracted by the imposing task of finding a candidate. I thought this was supposed to be easy?

At Professionals Incorporated, we are currently working on 64 direct hire job orders, only 5 of which do NOT require at least a Bachelor’s degree. Not only is that a great public service announcement (Kids, stay in school), but a realistic indication of the types of positions that companies are finding hard to fill – jobs requiring a specific educational background and at least a couple years of work experience in a similar field. Even in a down economy, companies are quickly discovering the benefits of using a recruiter to identify top candidates. We have the tools, the networks, and the experience to uncover candidates that meet specific requirements. Whether you’re a candidate who is trying to distinguish yourself from that stack of resumes, or a hiring manager who needs to find top candidates quickly – give us a call.

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