I Have a Confession, I was an Accountant - Digging Into the Unemployment Numbers

I have a confession. I was an accountant a long time ago in an economy far, far away. I’m a bit of a numbers junkie because of my background. So, I always peak at the U.S. Department of Labor unemployment claim numbers. Like many of you, I read them, understand them at the highest level, and consider them as an indicator of the economy. Fewer claims are good and more claims are bad, right?

Recently, I subscribed to several very good newsletters published by the U.S. Department of Labor. Today, I thought I would dig into the unemployment numbers a little deeper to pull out some points that can impact your recruiting psyche and strategy. Here is a short list of interesting items from the unadjusted1 unemployment numbers for human capital executives and recruiting professionals:

  • Initial claims have dropped 10% week over week
  • Initial claims are down 20% from the same week in 2009
  • Overall claims, unadjusted for seasonality, are down below 4 million for the first time since November 22, 2008 (Isn’t this when this whole recession thing started?)
  • Newly discharged veterans filing initial claims almost doubled this week to over 4,000
  • Five states saw a significant decrease (10-20%) in initial claims
    • Florida
    • New York
    • Michigan
    • Connecticut
    • Virginia

What does it all mean to us, our organizations and our recruiting plans?

Clearly, everybody’s situation is different; however, there is some momentum happening in order for initial claims to drop so much. Employers with operations in some of the states which are seeing fewer claims should take note. Everyone should be thinking about ramping up their recruiting aggressively if you are in these markets. Also, now is the time to revisit your approach to engaging veterans as a part of your recruitment marketing strategy. Simply, it’s time to pivot from thoughts of survival to strategies for success.

The Accountant in me will keep digging for you and continue to provide some perspective on the numbers for you as they come out. Until then, prepare your recruiting strategy for success. You can’t afford to wait for the economic data to catch up with the market.

Neil Costa is the CEO of HireClix, a recruitment marketing agency helping recruiting teams leverage digital marketing to reach their business and recruiting goals. HireClix helps its clients with the strategy and execution of recruitment marketing programs for search engine optimization (Recruiting SEO), pay-per-click recruiting, targeted digital advertising, social recruiting and employer blogging.

1 The review of the unemployment numbers triggered me to do some research and decide whether I would use seasonally adjusted numbers or unadjusted numbers. Based on my analysis, I think it makes sense to focus on unadjusted numbers because the seasonally adjusted numbers could be modified by what I would consider as subjective criteria. Here is a CBS MoneyWatch unemployment analysis article with some additional context.

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