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A few photos from a really fun afternoon yesterday at Bloomberg talking with Pimm Fox about the February jobs report…
There’s lots a good news in today’s jobs report for February and signs are clearly pointing to an improving jobs market. Among the top areas of the economy with the highest number of new and total job openings in LinkUp’s job search engine are Retail, Technology, Accounting & Finance, Sales & Customer Service, and Healthcare.
The U.S. economy added a net gain of 175,000 jobs in February, surprising most economists who were revising their estimates down this week based on a bunch of negative but apparently irrelevant economic reports. The consensus estimate from Bloomberg heading into this morning’s BLS report was a gain of 149,000, but the so-called ‘whisper’ number was quite a bit lower due to, among others, a worse-than-expected ADP report that came out mid-week. Fortunately for the economy and the labor market, the pessimists were overly sour as the actual data came in better than expected.
While the net gain of 175,000 was somewhat less than our 220,000 forecast, we definitely got the general sentiment correct that the numbers would be better than expected. I’d also add that there will be revisions in 30 days and again in 60 days, so we’ll see where the final numbers end up. My guess is that by the 60-day mark, the February number will be north of 200,000.
Of note as well, while I’m skeptical more often than not of citing weather as a factor, it’s hard to argue that it didn’t impact the numbers last month to some degree. There were simply too many storms, too much snow and ice, and too much cold everywhere in the country for it not to have negatively influenced the jobs market. It’s impossible to determine exactly how much, but the numbers certainly would have been higher were it not for the polar vortex. With that in mind, combined with the positive data we saw in the LinkUp index in February, our bullish call for March remains very much intact.
And lastly, today’s Employment Situation Report indicated that the unemployment rate rose last month, perhaps the best sign yet that the labor market might finally be moving into a higher gear. With improvements in people’s prospects for finding work, those people who had given up looking for a job are finally starting to look again. That group of people, what the BLS calls ‘Discouraged’ workers and those ‘Marginally Attached’ to the workforce, fell in February, driving up the number of unemployed people in the denominator of the unemployment rate calculation. As a result, unemployment rose slightly last month but again, that’s a good sign that more people are starting to look for work again as the job market slowly but steadily improves.
Jobless claims for the week ended March 1st fell this morning by 26,000 to 323,000, the lowest level since last November. That data is very consistent with LinkUp’s forecast that tomorrow’s jobs numbers will surprise to the upside. We’re keeping our fingers crossed…
In the meantime, here’s some more data from LinkUp’s job search engine in February. The table below lists the top 50 companies with the most job openings in the U.S.
Working men and women of all ages are reconsidering their original career choice. However, re-careering isn’t simply changing jobs or companies. That is done numerous times throughout a person’s professional lifetime. On average, baby boomers have held 11 jobs from ages 18 to 46, according to The Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Re-careering involves shifting the core focus of a job from finance to physical therapy or from dietetics to marketing, for example. If you are considering re-careering consider the following:
Before you make the bold leap and leave behind a career, be sure that is truly what you want. Whether it has been your career for four years or 25 years, give yourself a job seeker self assessment before you settle on your decision to switch careers. You may simply be unsatisfied in your current role and relocation to a different company or adding responsibilities to your job description may fill the void. Don’t make the decision in haste because you may end up signing up for more than you bargained for.
What will it take?
Re-careering can be an invaluable move for someone who is searching for a job that better aligns with their passion or interest, but it can also be a lot of work. Most people do not just effortlessly transition from an old career to a new one. Consider, will you need to go back to school? Have additional training? Relocate? Is the industry hiring and will the new salary will fit your financial needs? Some careers may take larger financial or time commitments than others, so you should be sure to fully assess the situation before deciding on your next career path. You will likely need more than a passion for the field to break your way in.
Test the waters
Before you make any large investments, survey the professional landscape. Network with individuals in the field, take any preliminary training or delve into some industry reading. Once you have a solid understanding of what to expect and you are sure that you want to make the switch, you can rebrand your resume and LinkedIn profile to reflect the skills sought after in your new career.
If you are confident that you want to make the switch, don’t get discouraged. It may take some time to do so. You will have to work your way into the profession and you may not land the position you want right out of the gate. But if you are passionate about your new career choice and are working toward your aim, you are right where you need to be.
Have you wanted to change careers? If so, what did you learn in the process? Please share your experience with re-careering in the “comments” section.
It seems as if the only thing people can talk about these days is the weather. Though somewhat tiresome, it’s probably justified given the circumstances this winter. Between the endless series of storms rolling across the country paralyzing everyone from Texas to Maine, most especially those below the Mason Dixon Line where snow plows and salt are understandably in short supply, to the drought and then the short-burst monsoon in California, weather-talk is all the rage these days. And for us poor Eskimos living in Minnesota or anywhere in the upper midwest for that matter, we’ve been stuck in the polar vortex for so long we might as well be living in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. (Now that’s cold).
We’ve had 53 days of below-zero temperatures so far this winter and we’re rapidly approaching the record of 68 days set in 1875. That’s 1875, as in only 17 years after Minnesota became a state. Admittedly, I’m not quite sure what statehood has to do with temperature other than perhaps some misbegotten, child-like assumption that as a territory, Minnesota remained covered in the Laurentide Ice Sheet. Of course, most people around the country assume that still to be the case, and unfortunately we’re fulfilling the stereotype beautifully. But just as assuredly as the ice will eventually melt as the days grow longer and things start turning green once again, so too will the nation’s labor market eventually thaw out and the economy will start growing once again. (How’s that for a segue?).
Comfort in the inevitability of that optimistic forecast comes from the positive gains we’ve seen in both new and total job listings in the first two months of the year. In January, new job openings indexed exclusively from 50,000 company websites around the country rose by almost 100,000 from December to over 500,000 in January and total job listings rose by an equal amount to 1.4 million. The percentage gains of 27% and 11% in new and total job listing growth respectively were the largest we’ve seen in our data in over 3 years. Based on those numbers, we are forecasting a strong jobs report Friday that should show a net gain of 220,000 jobs in February, better than the tepid consensus estimate of 140,000 jobs.
As background, Linkup has taken a completely unique approach to the jobs space as the only job search engine that only indexes jobs found on company websites. We currently list over 1.8 million job openings indexed from 50,000 company websites throughout the country (and around the world, actually). What that means is that we have nearly 2 million real jobs from real companies. They’re always current because the index is updated every night, and there are no duplicate listings because we only index jobs from a single source – the employer’s website itself. And most importantly, we have completely eliminated the type of job listing garbage that pollutes so many job sites these days including such things as work-at-home scams, lead-gen garbage, fraud, identity theft, money mule positions, etc. As a result of this unique approach to indexing jobs, we deliver a fantastic user experience to job seekers and a terrific value proposition to our employer advertisers. It also means that we possess an incredibly unique, tremendously clean data set of job openings that we’ve been able to leverage very successfully to gain insights into what is going on in the U.S. labor market.
In February, to continue our analysis, we saw continued gains in new job listings by state climbing 3% and total job listings by state rising by 4% from January. While not quite matching the torrid pace of growth seen in January, the uptick is nevertheless welcomed and should bode well for strong jobs numbers in March.
The gains seen in new and total jobs by category were slightly less positive, with new job listings falling 2% and total job listings by category rising 2%.
So based on LinkUp’s jobs data from February, our preliminary forecast for March is a net gain of 320,000 jobs. (The LinkUp numbers for February in the table below do not match the tables above because of the particularities of our forecasting model).
We’ll update the forecast for March at the end of the month when we have our first look at LinkUp’s March data, but at the moment it looks like things will be coming up roses in the next few months. Unfortunately for now, however, we’re still stuck in the polar vortex and to further perpetuate and even expand the stereotype of Minnesota, I thought I’d throw in a few photos of where I’ve spent most of my time on the frozen tundra lately:
Have you decided it’s time to look for a new job? Whether you seek growth opportunity, a higher salary or simply want a change that keeps you motivated, there’s an important step to take before you start sending out resumes: self assessment.
A job seeker self assessment can help you determine what you really want out of a new job, and sometimes more importantly, what you really don’t want. It’s a great first step to point your job search in the right direction because it will help you focus on positions that really suit your unique skills, passions and personality.
While job assessment is a valuable tool for young adults starting their careers, it’s equally important for seasoned workers. In fact, it might be even more important because, after years of employment, it’s easy to pigeonhole yourself into certain roles. Job assessment can serve as a wake-up call to what really drives you and where you should focus your job searching efforts.
Consider these five key areas when conducting your own job seeker self assessment:
Current job: A great first step is to determine what you like and dislike about your current job. The answers can be invaluable when evaluating new jobs. What do you love about your job? What frustrates you? What would you do different if you ran the company?
Personality: Your personality traits can help direct you toward a job that is rewarding both professionally and personally. You want a job that lets you be yourself, after all. Are you an extrovert? Do you like working at a desk? Do you have an interest in the arts, sports or education? These answers can help steer you toward your ideal job.
Experience: What is your experience and what skills do you have that would be of value to future employees? What are your strengths and what are your weaknesses? Learn what skills you can highlight on your resume and at interviews. If you want to explore a new career field in which your skills are limited, look into additional training and education.
Location: Do you want to stay at your current location? What is the longest commute time you’re willing to have? If you are willing to move, how far away would you go? If your dream job was located on the other side of the country and required high levels of travel, is that something you’re willing to do?
Culture: What type of work environment do you thrive in? What workplace culture most fits your personality? Do you prefer a formal or a casual business atmosphere? Do you like to work in a big or small company? How do you prefer to be managed? A job is much more than your daily responsibilities – you spend 40-plus hours there a week so be sure the environment and people make you happy.
The answers to these questions can really help direct you toward a new job that you not only like, but one that you get excited to go to each and every day.
What other self assessment questions should job seekers ask themselves? Please share your answers with us in the “Comments” section.
From hiring recruiters to advertising, to creating top-notch onboarding programs, it’s no secret that companies spend millions of dollars a year to attract top talent. The problem for many organizations is the investment stops there – meaning far fewer funds are allotted to retention efforts after employees are hired.
“It is quite amazing that companies often invest so much in recruiting top talent and then once they have the talent, fail to budget and develop and execute programs to grow and retain them,” says Stan Kimer, president of Total Engagement Consulting by Kimer. “Also, it is very interesting that financial execs especially spend so much time focusing on protecting cash, inventory turns, investments in buildings, etc., when people costs are often the highest expenditure in their companies! And they do very little to leverage or protect this large investment.”
No one argues it’s important to invest in attracting talent, but it should be equally as important to retain the quality employees you do have. There are numerous strategies to boost loyalty, increase job satisfaction and retain your employees.
Career development initiatives
Great employees always want to grow professionally and good companies should support this desire. “Not only do employees gain and improve skills, but the company sends a very powerful message – we value you and what you bring to the workplace – so much so that we’re willing to invest in you to our mutual benefit,” says Merge Gupta-Sunderji, a leadership and workplace communication expert.
Looking at long-term employee retention and development, leadership training should be made a priority. Keep in mind employees often lack engagement due to poor management within an organization – help build strong leaders to strengthen your company overall by adopting a leadership training program.
Open communication can be a winning strategy for engaging employees and making them feel valued. Solicit feedback from employees, encourage an open door policy, conduct an annual company survey and use the results to create an action plan afterward.
Comfortable work areas, including leading technology, encourage productivity and help employees stay productive and happy. “Employees view their work environment as an extension of the level of care by their leaders,” says Gupta-Sunderji. “So poor temperature-controlled spaces or work areas that appear to be in bad condition create negative attitudes in the minds of employees.”
Rewards and recognition
Employees who go above and beyond should be recognized for their extra efforts. Managers should make it a point to personally thank hard-working employees and make sure they are recognized. Incentives beyond salary – whether a bonus or extra perk – are always appreciated and keep employees satisfied and hungry to work hard again in the future.
Flexibility and value-add initiatives
Going the extra mile to give employees opportunities to live healthier and improve their work/life balance can be great for retaining top talent. Extras like wellness programs and the opportunity to have a flexible work arrangement can really make your organization an attractive place to work long term.
What investments do you make in your employee’s engagement? Where do you see the biggest bang for you buck?