by: Scott Fiore
Employers advertised more jobs in September than at any other point in the last three years, a hopeful sign that companies may step up hiring. Last week I joined independent staffing service owners from across the Country and Canada and the overall theme was business has increased. Remember – my industry is a leading economic indicator. Generally employers are cautious (as was the one I spoke with just yesterday) and tend to utilize overtime, then hire temporary employees and then finally add direct staff. Could this be a sign of some actual “normality” in the cycle – let’s hope so!
Businesses and governments posted 3.4 million job openings, the Labor Department said Tuesday. That is a 7 percent increase from August and the most since August 2008, one month before the financial crisis intensified.
Even with the gain, there is heavy competition for each job. Nearly 14 million people were out of work in September, which means an average 4.2 unemployed workers were competing for each opening. That is slightly better than August, but it is still more than twice the 2-1 ratio that economists say is healthy. As I have stressed in the past – the use of professional recruiter or intense screening is of utmost importance in this type of hiring environment. Candidates have more tools available to them than ever before to prepare / and even “embellish” their skills and experience. Skills assessments, personality & behavioral profile and background checks remain more important than ever. (If you haven’t heard of FAKERESUME.COM – click here fill out the form, put “scare me” in the text box and I’ll scare the beejesus out of you!)
Companies typically take from one to three months to fill a position. So the increase in postings suggests hiring could pick up in the coming months.
Job openings have rebounded from a decade low of 2.1 million in July 2009. Still, there were 4.4 million openings in December 2007, when the recession began.
The economy added 158,000 net new jobs in September. Hiring slowed a bit in October, as employers added only 80,000 jobs, the fewest in four months. Still, the unemployment rate dipped in October to a six-month low of 9 percent, from 9.1 percent, because more people said they found jobs.
And October may end up looking better if the government revises the job totals, as it did with the August and September figures.
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