Unemployment - What Do The Numbers Mean?

I heard a news report this morning when the unemployment numbers came out. The report basically said that unemployment is slowing, but the problem is that while the numbers show that companies are not laying off as many workers they aren’t hiring new workers fast enough either. So what do the numbers mean to us? I believe this is just the next step in the process, but an indication that we are getting there. I’ve mentioned before that I don’t like to get lost in the big picture and in big statistics. I want to look at things on the ground level, where people are running their businesses. To me, that’s where you really see what is going on.

Many of us in recruiting have seen a little bit of an uptick in the 4th quarter. In reality it’s not much, conditions still stink out there, but the uptick feels pretty good after what we’ve been through. When I hear that companies aren’t laying off as much, it tells me that we are getting to the point where they have exhausted their downsizing in general. That also fits with what I’ve heard lately from clients. We have new job orders, even in manufacturing. I’ve heard from others that they are calling some people back that they had layed off. Once companies exhaust their downsizing to the point where they are at the barest level they can be and still run their business, the next step is to add and grow. It does feel like many companies have reached that point and others are near it.

We don’t need 3% unemployment to have a lot of key hiring going on out there. We just need it going in the right direction. Nobody knows for sure what comes next. We’re still coming off of the biggest bubble in history and there are a ton of negative factors that will make business conditions difficult going forward. But…..there are some real signs that we could see better conditions especially for our slimmed down industry very soon.

Todd Kmiec

Todd Kmiec & Associates


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