Fortunately, the number of positions waiting to be filled this year has climbed to its highest levels in three years. At that time the jobless rate, according to a recent Bloomberg.com report[i], was around 6 percent. It now hovers around 8.6 percent.
While that number is still high, it is falling, and has been falling for the last year. A year ago at this time the national unemployment rate hovered around 9.8%.[ii] This last month the unemployment rate fell by 0.4%, the largest single fall in months—if not years.
It is true that unemployment rates are still high, and likely will be for a while. It is also true that the size of the labor force has gotten smaller as discouraged workers (defined as persons not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for them) have stopped filing for Unemployment Benefits, exhausted their benefits, or chosen to retire. It is interesting to note that this trend might cause a reversal of circumstance in coming years as jobs are added to the economy. Jobseekers might be desperately needed!
To a certain extent that is happening now. While jobseekers are struggling to find work, employers in in-demand industries (like health care and engineering) are also starting to experience difficulties filling positions with qualified applicants. How can both sides be hurting at the same time?
According to Bloomberg, the housing bust and ensuing financial crisis put people out of work whose skills may not correspond with those needed by those in-demand industries. In my experience, many of those job seekers whose careers are no longer in demand have had to resort to retraining into careers with more promise. Many of those careers don’t pay as well as their former careers did.
Today’s economy calls for the out-of-work jobseeker to be creative and open to new possibilities, to look at the skills and talents they have accumulated over the years and use them to transfer to new careers when necessary. Job search tactics have obviously changed. It takes a little work and imagination to find the jobs not readily available on local and online job boards. But never be misled—there ARE jobs out there.
- AZ Unemployment Rate Drops to 8.7% (myfoxphoenix.com)
- At 7 % for Nov., Mass. unemployment falls to lowest rate in nearly three years (boston.com)