September BLS report disappoints

"There is evidence that the longest recession since the 1930s is still inflicting widespread pain." -The Associated Press

Today's Bureau of Labor Statistics' Unemployment Report was a surprise to many who expected the unemployment rate to drop. Instead, this September, the unemployment rate rose a tenth of a percent from August, reaching 9.8 percent. In addition, 263,000 jobs were lost. But rather than view this report as a sign of a prolonged recession, we can regard it as an indication of a weak recovery. The jobs will come; September just wasn't the month for it.

We're already seeing some larger firms beginning to plan hiring surges for 2010. With 15.1 million Americans currently out of work, it's critical that businesses put aggressive and comprehensive workforce and candidate sourcing strategies in place.

The need for employment far outweighs any loyalty a new employee is likely to possess toward their employer. Poor retention rates are likely, as the unemployed (and in some cases, even the employed) jump from job to job to maximize earnings.

Keeping morale high in the coming months will be crucially important. Often, morale is a luxury many businesses don't think they can afford during these budget crises. But this a big mistake: any previous workforce reductions your company made have left you with your A-team. Now is the time to invest in their passion for their jobs and the organization for which they work, and increase the likelihood they'll stick with you through the coming months. By working to improve retention now, you'll be in a good position when the uptick in employment does come. Not to mention, it will help build your employment brand as well.

While the economy does offer some glimpses of a recovery and companies are starting to talk about hiring again, I actually don't see the unemployment rate dropping significantly in the near future. In fact, it may even cross the 10 percent threshold before it begins to decrease. Only time will tell.


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