Hiring Slows As Demand Weakens

Consumer Spending Slows, Hiring Outlook Precarious

Cautious consumers may hurt the tenuous recovery, as household purchases grew at the slowest pace in a year, according to Commerce Department data. “Hiring going forward will, in large part, be defined by the demand of consumers,” said Challenger. “If companies aren’t growing quickly, they don’t need the workers, even if they have the cash to hire. Employers are still incredibly uneasy about the economy and don’t want to take any risks.” The biggest hiring announcements have come from the automotive sector, which through the first half of 2012 has announced over 12,000 new jobs in the US, according to Challenger. Other industries that have announced hiring plans include industrial manufacturing with over 7,000 through June, and the financial sector with just under 7,000. “The automotive industry is beginning to make a comeback as makers introduce new technologies that make cars more efficient and desirable. This increase in manufacturing trickles down to suppliers and retailers, as well,” said Challenger. What other industries may see a boom in hiring? What factors contribute to a positive hiring trend? How might the jobless seek out industries ripe for growth?

Economic News Sapping Confidence

The recent spate of weak economic news and the ongoing threat of a European financial disaster are sapping the confidence of consumers and business leaders alike.  The latest reading on consumer confidence by the Conference Board declined for the fourth consecutive month in June, as consumers expressed a gloomier outlook for future business conditions and income.  Meanwhile, the Business Roundtable’s quarterly survey of CEOs from the nation’s largest companies found them less optimistic about sales, capital spending and hiring in the second quarter.  Only 36 percent of CEOs expected their companies to add more workers over the next six months, down from 51 percent at the same point last year.  The latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics suggest that hiring may indeed be heading for a summer slump.  The Bureau’s Job Opening and Labor Turnover survey found that employers hired 4,175,000 new workers in April, down from 4,335,000 the previous month.  What will it take to boost confidence among consumers and business leaders?  Why does falling confidence virtually ensure that that the economy will remain in a weakened state through the summer?  Are there any bright spots in the economic or employment picture?

Despite High Unemployment, Companies Struggling to Fill Openings

While recent reports indicate a softening job market heading into the summer, one new study reveals that some of the slowdown in hiring may be due to a lack of talent.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistic’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover survey, there were 3,416,000 job openings at the end of April.  That was down from 3,741,000 job openings in March, but it was still significantly higher than the 3,014,000 openings the previous April.  Unfortunately, these openings appear more and more difficult to fill.  In a new survey by CareerBuilder, 38 percent of employers reported having positions for which they cannot find qualified candidates.  One-third (34 percent) reported that job vacancies have resulted in a lower quality of work due to employees being overworked, and 23 percent cited a loss in revenue.  What steps can be taken to alleviate the widening skills gap?  With labor force immobility contributing to the shortage of skilled workers, what can companies and local governments do to help get workers with the right skills to the places where they are most needed?  

Older Job Seekers In Demand

Recent reports reveal the challenge older job seekers face in the current hiring environment, with more than one-third of those 55 and older experiencing prolonged joblessness lasting longer than a year.  However, the situation for older workers is not entirely grim.  In fact, a new analysis of employment trends reveals that this segment of the population is enjoying the strongest job gains of any age group.

The analysis of government labor data by global outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. found that job seekers age 55 and older account for nearly 70 percent of the employment gains since January 1, 2010.

Overall, the number of employed Americans has increased by 4,319,000 between January 2010 and May 2012, according to household survey data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.  Older job seekers – those 55 and up – accounted for 2,998,000 or 69 percent of the total employment growth. Continue reading

Companies Pledge To Hire Veterans

This week, General Electric announced a program that will place up to 5,000 military veterans in jobs within the company over the next five years.   Other employers are also making special efforts to reach out to veterans, who often struggle to make the transition from military service to traditional employment.   Siemens plans to hire an additional 300 veterans in 2012.  JP Morgan Chase, Delta Airlines, ManTech International, and Pitney Bowles are just some of the companies that have joined the 100,000 Jobs Mission, created to highlight the benefits of hiring veterans and matching veterans with job openings.  Due to these efforts, the unemployment rate among vet is finally beginning to come down.  Unemployment among all vets 18 years and older fell to 7.5 percent in January, compared to 9.9 percent a year earlier.  Unemployment for veterans of the most recent wars in Iraqand Afghanistanis still higher than the overall national average at 9.1 percent, but that is down from 15.2 percent a year ago.  Unfortunately, more veterans are entering the civilian labor market every day.  In August and September, various military branches announced personnel reductions totaling 67,500 and more expected to come as military budgets continue to be targeted for cutbacks in the coming years.  What are the biggest challenges for veterans making the transition to the civilian workforce?  How do employers benefit by hiring veterans?  What are some special strategies veterans can employ in their job search? 

Economic Indicators Point To Recovery

Several new reports out today offer further evidence of a strengthening economy and a promise of accelerated hiring.  The Commerce Department reported that retail sales rose 0.4 percent in January.  Sales have now increased 21 percent since a recession and are actually six percent above the pre-recession high.  Thanks to increased consumer spending, companies are rebuilding inventories, which grew by 0.4 percent in December.  The restocking of inventories, in turn, helps boost factory output, which increased by 0.7 percent in January, according to the Federal Reserve.  The gains in consumer spending, inventories and manufacturing are essential to job growth.  John Challenger, employment authority and CEO of outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc., says that the new year is starting off on the right foot when it comes to the potential for accelerated job creation.  “Employment saw a net gain of 243,000 jobs in January.  We’ll need an additional 100,000 each month to start making a significant dent in unemployment, but we are definitely heading in the right direction.  It is certainly promising that there were 3.4 million job openings at the end of December, according the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  That was up from 3.1 million a month earlier.  Renewed efforts by Congress to unshackle homeowners from underwater mortgages may further help the employment situation by giving people increased flexibility to sell their homes and relocate to areas where jobs are being created.”  How long will it take for employment to return to pre-recession levels?  What are the biggest threats to the recovery?  What can long-time job seekers do to take advantage of new employment opportunities?