Over the past few months, I’ve heard two radio commercials that are very interesting. Both are targeting employers and offering web-based solutions for recruiting new employees. The two companies sponsoring these ads are Zip Recruiter and Pro Jobs Network. The fact that these companies exist and are advertising shows that the job market is tight for small and mid-sized businesses. Employers need to have another company recruit and screen candidates. It’s easy to focus on negative news like major corporations laying off thousands of employees. At the same time, we need to remember that most Americans work for small and mid-sized companies. As long as online recruiting companies are advertising, it’s safe to assume that they are hiring. That’s good news for the economy and American workers.
P.S. Zip Recruiter offers functions that job seekers can use to search for jobs. Pro Jobs Network is only for employers.
The news that the U.S. economy added 280,000 jobs sounds great. Bloomberg offer charts that show a more mixed situation. Yes, job growth is up. However, the unemployment rate went up because more people have entered the job market. Similarly, average hourly earnings is up, but that measure has moved like a yo-yo over the past year. The best news is that long-term unemployment is moving steadily down. If you’re thinking about looking for a new job or asking your boss for a raise, this could be a good time to act. Even if the news is mixed, the job market is much better than it was five years ago.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 321,000 new jobs were added in November, and it revised hiring figures for recent months to reflect increased job growth. According to Daily Kos, there are still many Americans who are out of work or only able to find part-time jobs. That’s the downside. The upside is that job growth is starting to lead to higher wages. If this trend continues, that will be the real game changer. While hiring has increased the last two years, salary has not been increasing. If you’ve been stuck at a job that has been giving you small raises or no raises, it’s time to start looking for a new job.
I’ve written about Detroit and its challenges before. I love the city and wish it the best. The business website 24/7 Wall Street reports that a poll of CFOs taken by Robert Half forecasts big job growth in the Motor City. The author cautions that the poll does not have national statistical validity, but it does indicate optimism in Detroit, Philadelphia, and several other large cities. My take away, as always, is that job growth in itself is not enough. We need good jobs that pay a living wage. Let’s hope good jobs and brighter days are coming to Detroit.
Common Dreams reports that much of the good news about job growth hides more troubling economic news. The article cites research by the National Economic Law Project that shows most workers have lost ground on wages. It also quotes economist Robert Kuttner, who notes that more new hires face part-time work schedules, including on-call jobs that give no set hours. We want more jobs. But they need to be good jobs, not work schedules that let employers make more money by making workers more insecure. America needs a raise and better working conditions.
A report in Common Dreams contradicts the myth that raising the minimum wage is a “job killer.” The 13 states that have raised the minimum wage have seen more job growth than states that have resisted change. The article cites a poll in which 61% of small business owners support a hike in the minimum wage. These facts would seem to be good news. However, in our current political environment, facts do not seem to matter. Until something changes about how issues are solved in Washington, the battle for the minimum wage will be fought on the state and local level. America needs a raise.
Aljazeera America’s Inside Story Team analyzed the recent “good news” about job growth in the U.S. The numbers are positive, but there are still big problems. Many of the new jobs are in low wage sectors, such as service and retail. Is Aljazeera just being a buzz kill, looking for bad news? Not at all. Job growth over the past few years has been highest for lower wage workers. Just as bad, many middle class Americans have seen low or no raises from year to year. I’ve had several clients whose bosses have told them some version of “be happy you have a job.” Until wages go up for the lower and middle class, the American economy will struggle. Worse still, millions of working Americans will live with a constant dread of insecurity and a feeling that they are never getting ahead. The news about unemployment is good, but for many it does not address the real problem: America needs a raise.
The media is often overly negative in talking about the job market. Sometimes I fall into the same trap. Yesterday I talked about jobs being lost to automation, which is a big problem. However, there is another side to the story. In just this week, I have worked with clients whose jobs were created by new technology. One person was a social media community manager. The other worked on Cloud technology and software that is not stored on our computers. While it is important to criticize problems caused by technology, we also need to recognize that some jobs will be created by advances in technical systems. One way to win the job game is to find a way to take advantage of those changes
Today saw a second straight disappointing month for job growth. The number again is positive, but not strong enough. Common Dreams has posted an article by Michelle Chen that looks beyond the monthly numbers. Chen, a writer at In These Times, lays bare the mainstream media lie that workers are to blame for unemployment because they have the wrong skills. Citing a study from the Economic Policy Institute, she finds that workers of all education levels are struggling in the current market. Chen concludes that the real gap is one of understanding. People who claim that skills are the problem do not know how the economy works.
I would add to Chen’s analysis by noting that many fields have been glutted by intense marketing from universities, colleges, and training programs. Professions that once had easy entry know have more applicants than open positions, which lets employers drive down salary costs. My simple take is that good jobs are hard to find and getting harder to find all the time. Employers have the upper hand, and they know it, which means wages will continue to stay flat or go down until real job growth happens. Given the attitude of both business and government, we might be in this negative cycle for a long time to come.
Many experts point to consecutive months of job growth as if they were talking about Joe DiMaggio’s famous hitting streak. At the same time, they say the growth is not good enough, which makes them sound reasonable. It also hides ignores a growing problem: Too many of the new jobs are low wage.
Writing for MSNBC, Suzy Khimm reports that over a third of the 195,000 jobs added in June were in the hospitality industry, which usually generates low-wage positions. Khim also notes that new jobs are more likely to be part-time than they were before the Great Recession. Paul Krugman’s view of the situation is even more dismal: “Full recovery still looks a very long way off. And I’m beginning to worry that it may never happen.” To a degree, Krugman blames his usual suspects: the Fed and the Austerians. However, this time he adds a new culprit: voters who don’t seem to care.
In my encounters with clients who are employed, the story is not much better. They talk about small raises or flat salaries, increased workloads, and employers that only know how to ask for more. Yesterday, I wrote about workers in China kidnapping their boss. In the U.S., workers and voters just seem beaten down. They blame government, but they don’t change it. They blame the poor, most of whom are working at low wage jobs, and they ignore the people who have benefitted most from this broken economy.
Sure, the monthly jobs numbers sound good again. Look below those numbers, and you see another bridge waiting to fall.
- 1 of 2
- next ›