Well, this graph was the one that really hit home for me this week – and it was the title more than anything…
No wonder we all feel a little shell shocked this week – this chart simply represents THIS MORNING! Since I awoke today I’ve seen headlines saying the market would open higher, flat, and lower. And since I pasted this chart and started writing, the chart has already changed – expecting a +0.8% open, and now the market seems to have opened up about 1%. Anyone care to place a bet on where it closes?
Here’s what we’re seeing. Clients I speak to this week remain simply uncertain. With stock market charts like the one above who’s to blame them? While we began to see some increase in demand locally in July, that has slowed somewhat. Unemployment and jobs numbers always lag – so some of the “good news” reported this week may not last.
Locally – we continue to see employers looking for part time or contract employees. This makes complete sense for two primary reasons.
- Contract (temp) and part-time employees are easier to “turn on and off”. Increase them when business is good, decrease when things slow – and for the temp employees let the staffing firm do all the work (the good – hiring, as well as the bad – firing).
- Benefit costs are skyrocketing and there is no end in sight, especially for those at the lower end of the pay scale. Health benefit costs are the same whether an employee makes $12 /hr. or $60/hr. The only thing different is the percentage of their pay that those benefits represent. For employees under $15/hr. that cost is often well above 50% of the employee’s salary. Part time or temporary employees are simply cheaper.
There remains demand locally for qualified and skilled employees. Most specifically we see continued strong demand for candidates with all levels of accounting and finance skills. Managerial and engineering candidates remain in short supply. We are beginning to see demand for administrative employees again as well. I should make note – highly qualified and experienced candidates in the above noted fields are in short supply. I stress as I have in the past – while the number of “candidates” for positions is up, the number of “qualified candidates” has not significantly changed in the last couple of years. Screening remains key in this environment. It’s more work to weed through the average and below average employees to find the stars.
I remain interested in hearing your thoughts on the job market, whether it be local, regional or national. Feel free to leave a comment below.
Enjoy the weekend – and the relative calm (at least in the financial markets) it may bring.
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