A DAY & ZIMMERMANN COMPANY

Today’s BLS Report: A reason for cautious optimism

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Posted by Joel Capperella

August 7, 2009

This morning's Bureau of Labor Statistics' report was good news in that the bleeding has slowed. Unfortunately, the patient still has tourniquet applied, and is in danger of losing the limb.

The decreased rate of job loss cannot be overwhelming evidence that the recession is over. Rather, it is more indicative of the fact that across industries most firms' operations have taken a beating, and can't stand much more. In other words, staffs are so incredibly bare bones that driving cost savings through painful reductions in force may, at this point, have radically negative effects on the business.

But there's still optimism to be had, and today's BLS numbers give us additional hope.

Earlier today, I was sharing my perspective on this data with The Philadelphia Inquirer and Jobbing's Jane Von Bergen. During our conversation, I mentioned that we were cautiously optimistic about the numbers, which surprised her, especially considering that temporary labor contraction means trouble for firms that place talent.

I explained that our optimism was mostly found in the discipline with which larger firms are being forced to employ as they execute their workforce strategies. So, there is good news and bad news.

The bad news: The slow down is more indicative of a tolerable, low water mark in employment that has been reached. The good news: Not only will the low water mark mandate that firms be poised to address talent demands the moment they are identified, but they are putting processes and methodologies into place that are freeing business lines to more indiscriminately engage contract labor (a potential leading indicator of economic turnaround) -- as long as they follow corporate policies for acquiring such talent.

We believe this can be seen at Yoh, by the challenges on the transactional side of our business versus the increased demand of our enterprise talent solutions. The former is simply a mirror of the unemployment rates in general, while the latter is indicative of our clients seeking to move as much labor-related expense into a program where it can be more easily measured and controlled. Additionally, an uptick in demand for recruitment process outsourcing indicates that in the latter part of Q3 and Q4, we are likely to see a thaw in many corporate hiring freezes.

It's too early to make any predictions about when a complete economic turnaround will happen, but it's never too early to prepare your workforce. Today's workforce will never be quite the same. It is crucial for leaders to evaluate every piece of the talent supply chain. This auditing exercise will help your business aggressively and successfully rebuild the workforce.













Topics: Staff Management, HR Strategies

Hiring Managers Guide to IT Staffing

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