What the unemployment rate doesn’t tell you about job demand

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Posted by Mindy Fineout

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May 12, 2011

Last week's BLS Unemployment Report reflected that contrary to what might have been anticipated, unemployment moved up to 9 percent despite the 244,000 jobs that the economy added in April.

Reactions varied to these findings from surprise to conviction. From my silo of technology staffing in one of the largest tech hubs in the country, it was easy to be initially surprised that unemployment was on the rise. But once I put down my grande-half-caf-latte and finished looking through the findings, I realized despite the hustle and bustle of working people and crowds of suits and briefcases in the Coffee Shop on 2nd Ave. outside my office, not all industries, sectors, and geographical areas are created equal when it comes to the job market.

Government jobs are still being cut, and public sector workers are hurting. The new job growth included 268,000 new private sector jobs, minus 24,000 federal, state, and local government jobs that vanished. Whereas high-demand industries, such as health care and technology, have consistently hired throughout the economic slowdown, and continue to hire at an even faster pace.

The economy is affected by consumer confidence, which fuels the economy, which creates more jobs, which creates consumer confidence, which fuels the economy, and so on. One of the greatest impacts on consumer confidence is perception. It remains to be seen whether the increase in unemployment percentages will cause economic recovery to slow even more, or continue onward through a shaky recovery. How this will be seen of course depends greatly on industry, sector, and geographic area.

Topics: HR Strategies

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