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We have moved to Wordpress! Posted by Jason Links to this post The Recruiting Front Lines has evolved. At the beginning of the year, I changed jobs within my company, moving away from Outreach and Education, and into my new role as Director of Business Development. While I remain closely involved with our field activity, I am now more focused on strategic partnerships, social media, and the world of internet recruitment resources. As I have made this change, the focus of my blog content has also changed. Recently, I began to feel that many of the ideas I had for blog posts would not fit within the framework of The Recruiting Front Lines. This was a cause of some frustration, as I felt that I was either misrepresenting my content with the title of my blog, or that I was stifling my writing because I felt it didn't fit. To rectify this situation, I have created a new blog home, now on WordPress. I am still ironing out the wrinkles, but feel that it is far enough along that I can move all my past content, and begin posting all new content, at the new address. I would like to formally welcome everyone to come check out my new home at I can't wait to hear what you think! Best Regards, and Thank you for your time and attention over the past 18 months. Jason

May 3, 2008

Unemployment Rate Rising, Job Growth Slowing, and other Ponderings

First, for those of you who had sent me some inquiries over the last month, thanks for noticing that the blog had not been updated... at least that means that some people were checking in! As it turned out, I did not put up a single post in April, which is a shame, I think, considering the frequency and quality of events that happened last month. Ah well... no sense in looking back...

As it turns out, the report from the recruiting front lines is good and bad right about now. What was shaping up to be an economic slowdown, has now become an official recession in Rhode Island, the first state to feel the pain. Also, the national unemployment rate stayed level from March at 5%, still a half a point higher than last year during the same month. However, in the regions I look at, the picture is different: check out these Year Over Year unemployment rates for March 07 v 08:
             State              |  March    |  March    | rate change(p)
| 2007 | 2008(p) |
Alabama ........................| 3.4 | 4.1 | 0.7
Connecticut ....................| 4.4 | 5.3 | .9
Maine ..........................| 4.6 | 5.0 | .4
Mississippi.....................| 6.4 | 6.0 | -.4
Rhode Island ...................| 4.9 | 6.1 | 1.2
Vermont ........................| 4.0 | 4.6 | .6
Notice that on MS had a decline in unemployment, though it's still at 6%.

LA and NH don't appear on this chart because YOY they had less significant change. However, check out this rise in unemployment for LA from Feb 08 to Mar 08 - just one month:

            State              |  February |  March    | rate change(p)
| 2008 | 2008(p) |
Louisiana ......................| 3.7 | 4.5 | .8

And of course, NH is maintaining a very different story from the rest. In March, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in NH was 3.9% up from 3.8% in Mar 07. While that number is still phenomenally low, it does match the highest jobless rate since June 2004.

Well, there's my data for the day. Not the brightest climate, but we all have to deal with things as they currently are, not as we wish them to be. And to that point, the changing labor market is having an impact on the world of job hunting and recruiting. Here's what I've been witnessing and/or hearing along the recruiting front lines in the northeast and along the gulf coast:
  • Less jobs are being advertised
  • More and more employers are holding off hiring or advertising based on uneasiness about the economy.
  • Social service organizations are feeling the pressure of state budget tightening (see any days news in RI over the past two months for great supporting evidence), which may mean reduced state funding.
  • With the slowdown, the A talent pool is less likely to change jobs, opting to take a conservative approach- a bird in hand, as it were.
  • It's harder for the unemployed to find work, based on the increased number of unemployed competing for the same jobs coupled with the slowing of growth for new jobs.
  • Supply of qualified candidates is not moving (maybe increasing, but just a little), while demand is also not moving (most likely decreasing just a bit).
  • The key to a business's vitality is making sure they have the very best people on the bus, particularly when the number of seats may be shrinking, therefore the importance of attracting the right people is growing exponentially.
  • In just a few more months, we'll be electing a new president, and regardless of people's politcal leanings, EVERYONE seems to be hopeful that the changing of the nameplate on the oval office door will lead to a stronger economy with new growth opportunities.
What do you think about those bullets? Agree? Disagree? Am I missing any major points regarding how the economy is impacting the acts of find jobs or finding candidates? I'd love to hear your feedback!

That's the report from the Recruiting Front Lines for this week. This week, our company will be at two business expos, two job fairs, one trade conference, and two annual state hr conferences across the northeast and gulf coast. We'll have plenty to report next week!

Jason Blais on FoxNews

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