Is the recession helping Men’s Warehouse sell more suits? The Houston-based tuxedo and suit retailer reported better-than-expected second-quarter earnings, thanks in part to increased sales. While there was no indication from the company as the reason behind the increased sales, workplace authority John Challenger believes it could be a surge in suit-buying by out-of-work Americans trying to look their best for job interviews. “After years of many workplaces going casual, a trend that hurt suit retailers, job seekers wanting to dress up for interviews don’t have anything in their closet that fits or is in fashion. So, they are heading out to restock their suit collections. Places like Men’s Warehouse that offer good value are going to do better than high-end retailers selling $1,000 suits,” noted Challenger. With the job market so competitive, is it important to dress up for interviews? Are dress codes in the office returning to a more formal or traditional business attire because of the economy?
A look at the monthly employment figures from the government can be somewhat disheartening for the millions of job seekers hoping to land a position in the slowly recovering economy. After all, total non-farm payrolls suffered a net loss of 54,000 jobs in August while private payrolls grew by only 67,000, well short of the growth needed to make a dent in unemployment. If you are in an industry like construction, manufacturing or retail, the picture looks even worse. Construction added 19,000 jobs after two months of losses totaling 13,000 jobs. Manufacturing payrolls fell by 27,000 last month while retailers’ payrolls shrank by nearly 5,000. Looking at those numbers, one might simply assume that there are no jobs available in these industries. However, that is not the case. While it is true that employers in these areas lost more employees than they gained, there was still plenty of hiring. The Bureau of Labor Statistics latest Job Openings and Labor Turnover survey provides a clearer picture of hiring activity, albeit a month behind the other employment data. In July, for example, the report shows that construction companies hired 351,000 new people, up from 289,000 a month earlier. Additionally, there were another 76,000 job openings that were left unfilled at the end of the month. Manufacturers hired 294,000 in July and had 228,000 more openings. Retailers hired 603,000 and still had nearly 300,000 openings to fill heading into August. So, yes, payrolls are still showing net losses, but these numbers show that hiring is occurring. It is critical that job seekers not give up or even let up on their searches due to the assumption that no jobs are available. What can job seekers do to improve their chances of being one of the people hired? Are all of the job openings reported by employers advertised in the help wanted sections or online? If not, what can job seekers do to uncover this hidden job market?