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August 16, 2016 / Molly Moseley

Removing salary disclosures helps job seekers win equality

shutterstock_185251070Let’s say you forget to buy your weekly bunch of bananas during your most recent grocery run. Those bananas usually cost 30 cents per pound, but when you decide to go to the store by work to grab them you find they charge $1.50 a pound. Yikes! It’s likely you’ll opt to skip the price hike and go back to get the best deal by swinging through the local store tomorrow.

When you know how little you can pay for something you need, it’s human nature to seek out the best price. This same concept has caused employers to subconsciously wage discriminate for years. For women and minorities, this value-driven mindset pays them pennies on the dollar when compared to most Caucasian men.

One of the easiest ways for companies to get away with wage gouging is by asking during the application process how much professionals have made at their current and previous positions. If an employee states she is paid $20,000 less at her current position than the comparable job for which she’s applying, it’s easy to swoop in and give her a raise to make her happy while all the while paying her less than her colleagues.

Gender-based pay discrimination is illegal, but violations are difficult to prove. Women continue to be paid 79 cents for every dollar that men earn, according to the United States Census Bureau. Whether it’s gender, age, ethnicity or another characteristic, wage gaps persist in virtually every industry.

In an effort to eliminate wage discrimination, Massachusetts just passed a law making it illegal for employers to inquire about applicants’ salaries prior to making a job offer. This is the first state to pass this landmark legislation.

“The new law will require hiring managers to state a compensation figure upfront — based on what an applicant’s worth is to the company, rather than on what he or she made in a previous position,” reports The New York Times.

Although this law won’t go into effect until July 2018, it’s a noteworthy effort to kill wage discrimination at the hiring level. Plus, it’s a huge relief to job applicants who perpetually wonder if the salary they were offered could have been more if that intrusive question hadn’t existed on the application.

Not only does this law help ensure equal pay, it will produce other gains. First, it will help employers increase employee engagement and loyalty because they are offering all workers a fair wage. It also could help minimize turnover while increasing workforce diversity.

It should help the economy, too, when it comes to the big picture. The New York Times article points out, “Closing the gender wage gap would lower the poverty rates in every state, according to an analysis by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research.”

Other states have laws to help promote equal pay, but none have communicated as clear a message as the new Massachusetts law. Hopefully more states will follow suit in an effort to recognize the importance of equal pay for every worker who makes up the melting pot that is the United States of America.

August 10, 2016 / Stephanie Anderson

Going for the gold? 5 signs you’re sacrificing too much for your career

Laurie Hernandez. 9 August 2016 Instagram.

Every four years people around the world tune in with bated breath to watch their favorite events in the summer games. The talented athletes they watch have spent thousands of hours training in hopes of standing on the podium and hearing their country’s national anthem.

Countless sacrifices are required to make it to the top. Tough career decisions must be made.

Consider 16-year-old USA gymnast Laurie Hernandez who went pro just days before making her Olympic debut in Rio. This controversial decision means Hernandez can now accept sponsorships. Some argue this is a wise decision, considering the generally short time gymnasts are at their peak. The drawback? She’s banned from accepting athletic scholarships or participating in collegiate sports. Granted, bringing home a team gold last night likely means it was a good bet, as sponsorship offers will be aplenty.

There’s no doubt that at the time this was a tough decision, but it’s not unlike the difficult career decisions professionals must make every day. Whether it’s changing careers, moving across the country for a job opportunity or working 70-hour weeks in order to make partner, it takes hard work to make your dreams a reality.

These sacrifices affect every aspect of your life, not just your time at work. How do you know when your hard work has crossed the line from ambitious to insane? Consider these five red flags as signs that you’ve taken your career endeavors a bit too far. If these sound familiar, you don’t need to quit; it just might be time to take a step back and reassess.

You have no free time

In order to be the best professional you can be, you need balance in your life. This means time away from work for your brain and body to recharge. If you’ve given up your hobbies, no longer visit the gym and are consistently getting less than 7 hours of sleep, you may be pushing yourself too hard.

You have no friends

Workaholics have calendars booked solid with meetings, but few times blocked for social events. If your relationships with friends and family are barely existent, it’s time for a wake-up call. A full life allows for more than just work. No one, after all, wishes they had put in more hours working when they are on their death bed.

You think about work constantly

Most people think about work outside of the office, but it’s easy to take this overboard. Do people joke that your job is your obsession? Don’t consider that a compliment. If your conversations always end up being about work, even when they didn’t start on that subject, take note.

You’re always digitally connected

If you never silence your smartphone and can’t resist checking work email the moment you wake up, then it’s time to disconnect. It’s important to stay on top of your work, however, most emails don’t need to be answered at 3 a.m. just because you happened to hear the alert.

You’re constantly stressed and anxious

Working too much takes a toll on your well-being. If you always feel stress and anxiety, you may have to address your career goals again. Working hard for your dreams isn’t easy. However, if you’re constantly unhappy, maybe your dreams have changed. It’s OK to pursue a new one.

August 8, 2016 / Brad Squibb

LinkUp Open Jobs Platform

LinkUpBlogImage_SearchResults_080516LinkUp has developed an Open Jobs Platform that provides job boards and media websites with real-time access to over 3 million high-quality jobs directly from employer websites. All jobs within the Platform are sourced and updated daily from over 30,000 company websites, across all industries, throughout the US.

Connecting to LinkUp’s unique Open Jobs Platform instantly increases the volume of up-to-date, high-quality jobs for your site. The Open Jobs Platform offers a blend of revenue-shared sponsored job content, along with organic jobs that link directly back to the employer’s website. This unique approach of removing the middle-man and sending the job seeker directly back to the employer’s site provides a phenomenal user experience, all while maintaining your company brand.

Key Benefits of LinkUp’s Open Jobs Platform

  • Highest-quality job backfill solution with proven track record of uptime and reliability
  • Clicks send job seeker directly to the employer’s site – no user hijacking or redirects
  • Real-time access to over 3 million job listings for 30,000 employer sites
  • No duplicate, scam, job board or staffing listings
  • Revenue-share on clicks to sponsored job

LinkUp’s Open Jobs Platform is the only solution in the market that allows you instant access to millions of high-quality job openings, provides a phenomenal user experience with no redirects, and delivers a fruitful new revenue stream for your company.

For more information about LinkUp’s Open Job Platform please contact Brad.Squibb@linkup.com.

 

August 7, 2016 / Toby Dayton

LinkUp Data Versus Conference Board’s HWOL Data Series & Help Wanted Analytics/CEB Data

A friend recently sent me a graph of U.S. labor demand published by an asset management firm and asked me if the trends this year matched what we were seeing in LinkUp’s data. The firm’s data appears to be derived from or at least closely resembles data from the Conference Board which sources its data from Wanted Analytics/CEB, and my reply was a fairly blunt no. While there are a few nuances I’ll get to in a minute, LinkUp’s data paints a pretty starkly contrasting (and I’d argue far more accurate) view of the U.S. labor market than Wanted Analytics/CEB’s data.

Below is The Conference Board’s Help Wanted Online (HWOL) data series. In characterizing the first half of 2016, Gad Levanon, Chief Economist, North America, at The Conference Board stated, “The first half of 2016 has shown a substantial drop in the level of online advertised vacancies.”

 

HelpWanted Data

 

While the HWOL series not surprisingly captures the recovery in the labor market since early 2009 (it was pretty hard to miss), the series shows a drop of 11% in online job listings since January. Over the same period of time, job openings in LinkUp’s search engine, which only indexes jobs directly from 30,000 corporate websites, rose 6% from 3.22 million openings to 3.35 million.

 

LinkUp Job Openings Since January 2014

 

The nuances mentioned previously arise from the fact that we are constantly adding new companies to our index – roughly 200 new companies per month. This obviously creates an upward bias to our data, although that bias is diminishing over time as we continue to migrate further into the long-tail of smaller and smaller employers in the U.S. (new companies added to our index in 2016 have averaged 200 job openings as compared to 290 in 2015 and 380 in 2014).

To account for the perpetual addition of new companies, albeit at lower average job counts as we add smaller and smaller businesses, we track job openings per company as one measure of labor demand across the country. There as well, our data points to continued growth in aggregate labor demand, with average job openings per company in LinkUp’s search engine rising 11% from 205 to 228.

 

Job Openings per company

 

So how might we explain the discrepancy between LinkUp’s data and the Conference Board’s HWOL data series? The first thing I’d point out, before answering that question, is that average monthly job gains in the U.S. have declined 16% this year from last, as measured by the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ monthly NFP report, which would appear to correlate with the Conference Board’s and Wanted Analytics/CEB’s data.

 

2016 NFP through July

 

But in a full employment environment, which we have argued vociferously since May is precisely how one should regard the U.S. labor market (see hereherehere and here), the decline in average monthly net job gains this year should not be surprising in the least as companies find it harder and harder to fill job openings in a tightening labor market. And while there is an obvious correlation between job openings and job growth, the correlation becomes far more nuanced in a full employment environment and requires more sophisticated analysis and robust modeling to identify and leverage for specific use cases, points I’ll elaborate on later in this post. It also requires accurate data, which brings me back to the discrepancy between linkUp’s data and that of the Conference Board’s HWOL series.

The Conference Board sources its job openings data from Wanted Analytics which was acquired by CEB last fall. Wanted Analytics/CEB aggregates job listings from thousands of sites on the web, including some company websites but also job boards, newspaper sites, industry associations, and pretty much anywhere else one might find a job opening online. And while it would seem as if this would lead to a large and insightful dataset, it actually leads to the exact opposite – a gigantic but wildly bloated, highly polluted, and extremely ‘noisy’ dataset that generates few if any insights into U.S. labor demand. The bloat and noise arise from two critical aspects of Wanted Analytics/CEB’s data sources.

The first is that Wanted Analytics/CEB sources the majority of its job listings from job boards, most all of which are plagued by what we call ‘job board pollution’ – things like work-at-home scams and other fraudulent listings, identity theft posts, phishing scams, resume hunters, and expired listings. The second is the proliferation of job syndication over the past 3 years or so, arguably the most significant trend in online job listings since about 2013.

Nearly every job site on the web today takes a feed or multiple feeds of job listings from other job sites, and in turn, syndicates their own jobs to other sites. On the feed intake side, job boards use 3rd-party job content as ‘backfill’ to both generate incremental revenue and supplement their own listings in order to increase the depth and breadth of their job openings, even though the backfill not only contains polluted job listings but also results in duplicate listings. On the feed output side, job sites syndicate jobs to other sites in order to generate candidate flow for their employer advertisers which results in even more duplication downstream.

Job syndication in the online job space has become essentially ubiquitous over the past few years, with the result being that most job sites today have become gigantic cesspools of polluted and duplicative job listings. And because Wanted Analytics/CEB aggregates listings from nearly every job site on the web, they have accumulated a dataset not only plagued by toxic levels of job board pollution, but also rampant duplication. I’d speculate that the decline in job openings in the Conference Board’s HWOL data series in 2016 is the result of the industry’s efforts over the past 6 months to address the duplication issue.

But while most large sites today are taking long-overdue steps to reduce duplication on their own sites, Wanted Analytics/CEB will never eliminate duplication at the aggregate level as long as they accumulate listings from multiple sites due to the simple fact that employers typically advertise job openings on multiple sites. They will also never eliminate job board pollution as long as they aggregate jobs from job boards that accept shitty job listings (which nearly all still do).

The only way to eliminate job board pollution and duplication is to index jobs directly from employer websites, and that is precisely what LinkUp does – our dataset contains 3.4 million jobs from 30,000 employer websites. As a result, we have completely eliminated job board pollution and duplicate listings from our data, and because our index is updated daily, we have also eliminated expired listings because the job openings are always current.

And that brings us back, full-circle, to the discrepancies between our data and the Conference Board’s HWOL data series that relies on Wanted Analytics/CEB’s data. Not only does LinkUp possess a higher-quality, ‘cleaner’ dataset that delivers stronger, more accurate signals as to the true nature of labor demand in the U.S., but our forecasting model is based on a paired-month methodology to account for the addition of new companies to LinkUp’s dataset between months. And while using an alethiometer can be difficult at times, particularly in certain environments such as today’s where Chaos Syndrome is running rampant, it is that combination of better, more predictive data and a more sophisticated forecasting model that results in more accurate NFP forecasts like the one we made last Thursday for July’s jobs report.

 

NFP_2016.08.05

 

August 5, 2016 / Toby Dayton

Despite the Chaos Syndrome, LinkUp Is Forecasting That The U.S. Added 215,000 Jobs In July

In a great article in The Atlantic this month entitled How American Politics Went Insane, Jonathan Rauch posits that the insanity afflicting Washington and the country these days, and especially the GOP, is the result of what he terms Chaos Syndrome, which he describes as follows:

Chaos syndrome is a chronic decline in the political system’s capacity for self-organization. It begins with the weakening of the institutions and brokers—political parties, career politicians, and congressional leaders and committees—that have historically held politicians accountable to one another and prevented everyone in the system from pursuing naked self-interest all the time. As these intermediaries’ influence fades, politicians, activists, and voters all become more individualistic and unaccountable. The system atomizes. Chaos becomes the new normal—both in campaigns and in the government itself.

I’d add a few other significant contributing factors, including gerrymandered districts, Citizens United, and the decades-long fiction that the GOP cares about anything other than the richest 1% of the country, a fairy tale that apparently is going to have a fiery, apocalyptic ending, but Rauch presents a very compelling argument as to the havoc that chaos syndrome has wreaked upon the nation.

Unfortunately, predictability around monthly net gains in non-farm payrolls (NFP) seems to be dealing with its own bout of chaos syndrome lately. I’d posit that the chaos around forecasting monthly jobs reports these days is caused, first and foremost, by the fact that the U.S. labor market is most definitely in a state of Full Employment, defined as that level of unemployment below which wage inflation is triggered. It is a fact that wage inflation has become quite evident across multiple segments of the labor market and there is mounting evidence that it is becoming increasingly pervasive throughout the entire economy in nearly every region of the country.

The challenge for economists, the Fed, and forecasters, however, is that there is tremendous uncertainty as to how much slack there is in the labor force, the rate at which the underemployed and ‘marginally attached’ will return to the workforce, the impact of rising wages on the gig economy, the structural impact of technological changes to the U.S. workforce, the rate of baby-boomer retirement, and the persistently low labor force participation rate. All of these factors are wreaking havoc in trying to assess what type of job gains we can expect each month given the continued strength of the job market.

While it’s not surprising that average monthly job gains have declined in the past two years…

 

Average Monthly NFP by Year

 

given the 69 consecutive months of positive net job growth since October 2010 that have added 13.3 million jobs to the U.S. economy….

 

Monthly Job Gains since Great Recession

 

no one expected to see the kind of volatility that we saw in Q2, when net job gains fell to 11,000 in May and then took a dramatic jump to 287,000 jobs in June.

 

Monthly NFP Jan15 to Jul16

 

Unfortunately, LinkUp’s job openings data has been equally as chaotic of late. Despite the fact that our search engine indexes 3.4 million jobs directly from corporate websites (which means the data is highly accurate because the jobs are always current and contain no duplicate listings or job board pollution), the correlations between our data and monthly NFP data have not been nearly as precise as they were in the previous few years.

To be sure, correlations remain quite strong over a timeframe of roughly 90 days or so and contain strong predictive attributes around the broader trends in the labor market, but the model we developed that is overlaid on top of our data has not generated the month to month predictive signals with the same degree of accuracy as in previous years.

 

LinkUp Jobs Data Jan 2015 to July 2016

 

One of the other conundrums in our data has been our job duration report. We calculate job duration in multiple ways but the primary methodology has been to look at all the jobs that were taken off corporate websites over the prior 6 months (presumably because they were filled) and measure how long they had been posted by employers on their corporate career portal. The increase in duration from August last year to February this year makes sense given that companies were finding it harder and harder to fill positions in a strong labor market. But duration has trended down this year just as job gains have decreased, pretty much the opposite of what one would expect.

The most likely explanation is that companies are making job offers more quickly in a tight labor market to reduce the risk of positions remaining unfilled for overly extended periods of time. It could also be the case that as companies are having to raise wage and salaries to attract sufficiently qualified applicants in a full employment environment, the strategy is paying off and jobs are getting filled quickly with the higher level of compensation. If one or both of those explanations are accurate, that certainly bodes well for continued strength in the labor market and strong jobs reports in the months ahead, not to mention continued strength in the overall economy.

 

Job Duration Jan 2015 to July 2016

 

So in any event, looking at July’s jobs data by state, new and total job listings on company websites ticked down slightly.

 

Jobs By State July 2016

 

Not surprisingly, new and total jobs by category shows similarly modest declines.

 

Jobs By Category July 2016

 

When we put the July data into our model, which uses the average of each month’s two data points from our paired-month methodology (which we use to account for a perpetually growing dataset as we add more companies to the search engine), the result is a slight uptick in new and total jobs for July. And based on our data over the past few months, we are forecasting net job gains of 215,000 in tomorrow’s jobs report – somewhat below the significant job gains in June but slightly above consensus estimates of roughly 180,000 jobs.

 

Forecast July 2016

 

With all that said, our forecast is most certainly subject to the chaos syndrome swirling around the globe these days, and the confidence level in our forecast is not dissimilar to the confidence that sanity is going to be return to U.S. politics anytime soon.

 

 

August 3, 2016 / Molly Moseley

What can be learned from the best? Introducing LinkUp’s 2016 Top Career Sites

LinkUp2016TopCareerSites_LandingPage_Image (1)It’s a candidate’s market in virtually every industry. The United States is in a full-employment period, which means basically anyone who wants to work is employed. For companies, though, this means competition for top talent is insanely fierce.

A company’s career portal is its most powerful tool for attracting employees. It is undeniably an integral part of the candidate experience and can be the differentiating factor when choosing which jobs to pursue. A cluttered, chaotic website paired with a headache-inducing application process will cause candidates to move on. Opportunities are plentiful, after all, so why waste time?

The candidate’s experience is of particular concern when it comes to mobile, one of the top trends noted in the newly released LinkUp white paper Top Career Websites of 2016. The report digs deep to assess each of the top 25 companies from the Fortune 500 sites for performance in crucial areas including visibility, company profile, user experience, helpfulness and mobile-friendliness.

According to a recent study, almost 90 percent of job seekers use their mobile device to search for jobs. In order to make career websites mobile-friendly, portal design should be responsive to a variety of device types, should include a simple mobile-apply solution, and should not require a user to sign in or create an account to browse opportunities and apply. The white paper findings uncovered not all Fortune companies are living up to these basic mobile expectations, and their talent loss may be your company’s gain.

Another notable ranking area is company profile. The most effective company profiles will shape a candidate’s perception and instill a sense of intrigue. Information about an organization’s culture, employees, social media presence and industry awards are essential, but there’s more. As noted in What a Beanbag Can Tell You About Your Careers Website published in ERE Media, career websites should “Use emotional triggers to pull candidates in and empathize with their situation. Make things clear, simple and fun — human emotion will always play a dominant role in the application process.”

A new category in the 2016 white paper is candidate/employee perks. Since job seekers have the upper hand while the country is in full-employment mode, the need to stand out in this category has never been greater. From free snacks to on-site daycare and unlimited vacation, the employee benefits package covers a lot more than major medical, vision and dental insurance these days.

Microsoft excelled in this new category as well as the others, earning the company a second-place ranking overall. Snacks, social clubs, transportation and an open dress code are notable perks not to be outshined by a career website with a near-flawless user experience. One area of weakness: mobile friendliness. (The desktop version appears on a tiny screen after you leave the mobile homepage.)

Which company came in at No. 1? What other emerging trends are helping organizations earn the attention of top talent? Some of the results will surprise you. Learn more by reading LinkUp’s Top Career Websites of 2016, available for download here.

July 27, 2016 / Molly Moseley

50 percent of workers dislike their jobs and it’s time for change

shutterstock_296302628The good news is in: 50 percent of people feel satisfied with their jobs, the highest level in a decade. The bad news: that means the other half of the workforce feels dissatisfied.

These new findings from the research group The Conference Board show that changes in the job market are having a positive impact. Lower unemployment rates, increased job security and solid wage growth are helping people enjoy their work more.

But is this really something we should celebrate? There must be a way we can surpass the 50-percent mark.

Employers are taking notice and many are adopting proactive practices to increase employee retention. Because it’s a candidate’s market, employers in many industries are fighting for the best employees. Once you get them, however, the fight isn’t over; your next objective is to retain them.

It’s simply bad business when good employees leave. From the astronomical costs to replace staff to the decrease in production and morale, losing employees hurts in myriad ways. To increase retention, companies ought to take action and show employees they mean business.

Live your company values

If the organization doesn’t have core values, it’s time to set them in stone. And if it does, be sure to truly live by them. Authenticity gains employee trust and loyalty, but if it’s just lip service the truth will quickly emerge.

Make cultural fit a top priority

Even though the talent market is competitive, hire selectively so you get the right fit for the company’s unique culture. A glowing record won’t be much good if a new employee has a different attitude or working style from his colleagues.

Promote collaboration and open-door policies 

Whether it’s the interns or the C-suite, employees want to feel like their voice matters. Promote collaboration and open-door policies to keep teams connected. Prioritize transparency over hierarchy to build trust and job satisfaction.

Offer competitive benefits beyond salary

Salary is a primary driver of job satisfaction, but it isn’t the only factor. Make sure to offer competitive benefits, and if you can, go above and beyond. The modern worker wants work-life balance, as well as nontraditional perks like telecommuting, flex time and unlimited PTO (yes that is happening).

Help employees grow

Employees feel good when they are advancing their careers. Try offering onsite job training, education reimbursement and mentorship programs. Additionally, help employees develop career plans and have bi-annual meetings about vision and their next steps. This also empowers employees to take responsibility for their own future and subsequent happiness, so it’s not all on the employer.

Collect feedback and take it seriously

Some companies conduct anonymous surveys and create plans to correct employee grievances. A less formal method is to bring up improvements during one-on-one meetings with employees, notice trends and take action to address issues. Finally, when an employee does leave, conduct an exit interview. The feedback gathered at that time provides clues into which issues employers should address to increase satisfaction among current employees.

July 20, 2016 / Stephanie Anderson

How to use Pokémon Go skills to catch your dream job

shutterstock_454376635Are you one of the 26 million daily active users of Pokémon Go? To date, the app has been downloaded 30 million times, making it the biggest mobile game in U.S. history. If you’re not playing it, you certainly have seen people out and about, phones extended high, searching for rare and elusive Pokémon.

To a non-player the game can seem like a wild goose chase, and in some ways it is — that’s part of the fun. But other aspects of the game require skill and strategic know-how if you want to “catch ‘em all” and become a PokéMaster. When you think about it, the game is actually incredibly similar to the journey through a job search.

For example, when you start looking for new employment you’ll see a lot of job postings to search through. You’ll encounter many Rattatas and Pidgeys, which is good, but after a while you’ll want to aim higher. Your goal is to score your dream job, so you shift your focus to Pikachu, or better yet, a Mewtwo.

Of course you can’t just wake up, step outside and get a Mewtwo — just like your dream job won’t just fall in your lap. You need to prepare and do as much as you can to shift the odds in your favor. For Pokémon Go players, this means visiting a PokéMart to get training supplies. For job hunters, however, this means researching companies of interest, conducting mock interviews and using a great job search engine like LinkUp.

When you find a job that really excites you, it’s time to ready your PokéBall. This is your resume. Remember, updating your resume isn’t enough. You need to tailor it to the job description to ensure you make it past any applicant tracking systems and capture the attention of the recruiter. Providing a compelling cover letter and updating your LinkedIn profile are other important steps that will help you catch your Mewtwo dream job.

Finally, there are PokéGyms. To become the best trainer, you need to claim your turf as a gym leader. Challengers work their way through the gym in order to seize control. It’s a challenge much like a job interview. You will “battle” other candidates for the same job, but there can be only one winner. Depending on your skills and interview performance, it could be you.

You select your Pokémon wisely based on their strengths and weaknesses. Similarly, during an interview you put your best foot forward, tailor your answers to questions based on what you believe will best impress the interviewer. You might provide a few examples of how you overcame adversity or helped boost the bottom line. These types of answers, when paired with enthusiasm, will help you edge out the competition.

Hopefully you get a call back and ultimately earn a job offer. But remember, just like there will always be more Pokémon to catch and more battles to fight, if you don’t get a job right away there will be more opportunities in the future. Who knows  maybe your dream job awaits at the company that makes Pokémon. (Hint: They’re hiring.)

July 13, 2016 / Molly Moseley

Is the cost of college education stealing the American dream from Millennials?

Millennials are moving back with their parents in droves, and in last week’s post we discussed how this trend benefits their careers. A lot of readers responded that while this living situation may help their professional life, it wasn’t their motivation for moving home. Turns out, student debt is a huge driving factor behind this cultural shift.

One specific comment caught my attention:

“Millennials are living at home because most have student loans that are hard to pay off. So instead of getting a mortgage, they’re paying off $100k+ in student loans.” 

Most people know college isn’t free, but when we hear of tuition increases year after year, it should give everyone pause. The increasing costs of higher education simply aren’t sustainable for the majority of students. And as this reader points out, it’s making the American dream unattainable for an entire generation.

Some economists fear an education bubble is bound to pop in the near future. Couple skyrocketing student debt with a market in which graduates outpace the demand for labor and you get disaster. Of course you’re going to move in with your parents if you can’t find a decent-paying job and you are stuck with $37,000 of student debt  the average amount for the graduating class of 2016.

Some people argue that students are being oversold on what a college degree means in the modern world. A diploma today does not automatically equal high pay and job security, and most students do not have an offer waiting when they graduate. In fact, when they get that diploma, the real work is just about to begin.

Students today must make tough decisions because college does not make sense for everyone. For an 18-year-old with minimal financial literacy, it’s difficult to understand the long-term ramifications of paying back a large student loan. The standard repayment plan is 10 years for federal student loans, but research shows it takes an average of 21 years to pay off a bachelor’s degree. That means if a student graduates from college at 22, they’ll finally pay off those darn student loans when they’re 43 years old.

This leads to the next important consideration: Which degree will most likely result in a well-paying job? Of course students should study something that interests them, but that shouldn’t be the only factor in their decision. The Bureau of Labor Statistics website outlines what students can expect to make throughout a chosen career. It notes growth projections and cautions, too. Students can also talk with current professionals in the industry and ask questions. Is a four-year degree necessary or will a two-year do the job? Will the student have to move to a new city to find a job or is there demand in their current location?

The choice to attend college is an individual one, and like a smart business, if the ROI doesn’t make sense it’s time to look at different options. If costs continue to increase, I predict more young people will look at alternatives to the traditional university experience, such as trade schools, in-house apprenticeships or self-education followed by freelancing.

July 7, 2016 / Toby Dayton

The Full Employment, Healthy Tortoise U.S. Economy Should Add 50,000 Jobs In June

Dispatch from New Hampshire:

…not much time this week for commentary and in any event, I’m still reeling from the complete and utter insanity displayed in recent weeks on both sides of the Atlantic. The only solace we can take on our side of the ocean is that Trump has absolutely zero, ZERO, chance of winning (no TV commercials since June 8th as compared to HRC’s 20,000?!? Apparently he isn’t even going to pretend to be trying). And as stupefying as Cleveland is sure to be, it should provide some entertainment in a horrifyingly embarrassing, gong-show sort of way.

So still in somewhat of a daze, I’ll simply say that we are most definitely in a full employment environment with 68 consecutive months of net job gains, unemployment at ~5%, job openings pretty much holding steady at record levels, quits and job churn climbing rapidly, and most importantly and most welcomed, wages rising in larger and larger portions of the economy.

 

 

Screen Shot 2016-07-06 at 9.06.21 AM

 

So it shouldn’t be surprising to anyone that as it becomes harder and harder to find applicants to fill open positions, job gains are starting to taper off.

 

Screen Shot 2016-07-06 at 9.02.00 AM

 

..and job duration starting to climb…

 

Screen Shot 2016-07-06 at 9.24.46 AM

 

The chart above is LinkUp’s Job Duration indicator. We measure Job Duration by taking all the jobs that rolled off our job search engine in the prior 6 months and calculating the average number of days that they had been on the site. In 2014, the average duration was 45 days, in 2015 it rose to 48 days, and in 2016, it is averaging 53 days. Employers are, without question, finding it increasingly difficult to fill a broader range of jobs in a wider cross-section of the economy.

Against that backdrop, we are forecasting that in June, the U.S. economy added a net gain of 50,000 jobs. Our forecast does account for the return of the striking Verizon workers (which we added back to May’s numbers in the chart below), and is based on the declines in new and total job openings in our search engine over the past few months.

 

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The numbers might be a bit of a jolt, and the headlines Saturday won’t be great, but make no mistake – the economy and especially the labor market are in very strong shape. I cannot recall who it was, but an economist on Bloomberg last week stated that the U.S. economy is not a sickly hare but a very healthy tortoise. That is a perfect description, and everything we are seeing in our data and hearing in conversations every day with hundreds and hundreds of employers around the country backs that general observation.

And LinkUp’s job openings data from June further confirms that conclusion.

 

Jobs by State June 2016

 

Although total job openings held steady during the month, new job openings rose 4% in June, with gains in 44 states. As a result, we expect that the labor market should keep plodding along at a slow, steady, and resilient pace for at least the remainder of Q3.

So for anyone who really does want to keep the U.S. economy on track with strong job growth, ignore the senseless drivel coming out Trump’s mouth (nothing, including a trade war with China, is going to bring back manufacturing jobs in America. Seriously, read this), and simply look at the facts.

The chart below from January (Washington Post), shows average yearly job growth under the past 6 administrations.

 

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Under President Obama, 10.5 million jobs have been added to the U.S. economy through April. And if you start counting after the decimation of the Bush-induced Great Recession had finally subsided, net job gains were 14.1 million.

 

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Those are the facts, and anyone who tells you differently, especially orange-haired clowns, should be cast aside and resolutely ignored like one would any brainless, racist, bigoted, misogynistic, bankruptcy-addicted, fraudulent, steak-selling, 2nd-rate reality TV carnival barker.