Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Comments on February Jobless Report from All Over

Unemployment reportThis continues our series analyzing current economic and workplace trends

Kent was laid off when Hostess closed its doors. He worked as a route salesman for more than 12 years at 3 major firms. His performance impressed his bosses, but each of the companies suffered unbelievable losses during the period. Kent started looking for work immediately. He targeted a major company in his market. He networked into the company. He gathered information. He built relationships. Finally, a position opened. He—and 100 people—applied for the job. His work paid off when the company offered him the position.

The Good News: The Rate Dropped

The US Department of Labor releases the monthly report on the Employment Situation (more commonly known as the unemployment report). The report issued on March 1 heartened most economists.

The summary of the report began by saying “Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 236,000 in February, and the unemployment rate edged down to 7.7 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Employment increased in professional and business services, construction, and health care.”

The report gave the following details:

  • Professional and business services added 73,000 jobs
  • Construction increased by 48,000
  • Health care added 32,000 jobs
  • Information industry added 20,000 (mostly motion picture and recording industries)
  • Retail continued to trend up with 24,000 jobs

The Bad News: Uncertainty

The worst news dealt with how the sequester and other inaction by government will affect this modest decrease in the unemployment rate. Sequester cuts will affect local, state, federal, and education payrolls. Those cuts will ripple into private sector buying triggering more possible layoffs.

Average hourly earnings failed to keep up with cost of living increases:

  • “Average hourly earning for all employees for private nonfarm payrolls rose by 4 cents.”
  • “Over the year, average hourly earnings have risen by 2.1%”

The following key areas basically remained unchanged:

  • The number of long-term unemployed (jobless for 27 weeks or more)
  • Employment-population ratio held at 58.6%
  • Number of persons employed part-time for economic reasons (they would prefer full-time) at 8.0 million

Friday we review education and training challenges hindering your successful career

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