BLS Analysis for Recruiters; December 2021

Bob Marshall’s December 2021 BLS Analysis for Recruiters; 1/7/22

December BLS Preface

TBMG Coaching Updates and Product News:

Our new TBMG Training Program:

The New 2021 Elite Recruiter Masterclass (ERM) Training Program

Introducing the Elite Recruiter Masterclass, the online course you’ve been searching for is now open!


“It has been a difficult road this past year, but still, I look at every day as a new opportunity.”
-Bob Marshall

“The biggest risk to productivity is always the same: working on the wrong thing.”

-James Clear

Wouldn’t it be great if you could break away from the daily recruiting grind and work only with the jobs and candidates that you know will make you money? No need to imagine it anymore because we have made it real for you. We are excited to share with you Bob Marshall’s Elite Recruiter Masterclass is now open for enrollment—engineered to answer the needs of professional recruiters just like you!

It’s true! The Elite Recruiter Masterclass, consists of everything you need to learn about becoming a top-earning recruiting professional. and how to find and retain the best clients and the top-quality job orders to build your own opportunities and shape your future to the exact direction you want.

LEARN MORE   For my long-time supporters I’d like to offer the code SAVENOW to save nearly 30% off enrollment fees.

My Masterclass is the EXACT same formula we implement for our VIP clients that has helped them reach over $1,000,000 a year in placements.  Use code SAVENOW to save nearly 30% off enrollment fees.


Best Regards,


Elite Recruiter Masterclass

The foundational coursework is now ready for new students.  The graduates will become:

*Successful learners of the material presented

*Confident recruitment professionals

*Responsible members of our profession

*Effective contributors who make placement earlier and more often

“The PDF Series – individual email format – $24 each

1. “From Failure to Success in Recruitment Sales” – 6-part series

2. “John Wooden’s Success Pyramid” – 6-part series

3. “Robocruiter and The Total Account Executive” – 11-part series

4. “The Opportunity Cost in Not Quitting the Dead Horse Projects” – 11-part series

5. “The JOB ORDER” – 6-part series

6. “Planning for Your Best Year Ever in 2020 – The ‘Atomic’ Approach” – 7-part series

7. “The Importance of Marketing – Facing the Monster” – 13-part series

8. “Negotiating Techniques Adapted for the Tenured Recruiter” – 13-part series

9. “Classic Closes for 2021” – 8-part series

10. “Retained Recruiting in 2021” – 6-part series


We had some technical issues with our last 9-part series entitled, “The 6 Lies That Block Your Success”.  Some of you received all of the parts, but most of you did not.  So, starting next Tuesday, November 9th, and running through the end of the year, we will re-run all 9 parts.  If you are a current member of my distribution list, you will receive all 9 sessions.  As with all my series’, there is no charge!

From the series preamble…

It is said that passion and skill are almost always connected.

“Passion for something leads to disproportionate time practicing or working at it.  That time spent eventually translates to skill, and when skill improves, results improve.  Better results generally lead to more enjoyment, and more passion and more time is invested.  It can be a virtuous cycle all the way to extraordinary results.”—Keller, The One Thing

So then, why don’t extraordinary results happen for those of us who possess that passion and have attained that skill?

In my new series, entitled “The 6 Lies That Block Your Success”, we will explore why extraordinary results don’t happen. And learn how to develop the ability to focus on ‘the one thing’ that will lead to extraordinary results!

Unfortunately, 6 lies mislead and derail you.   Those 6 lies stand between you and your success.  You must put these 6 lies to bed.

Here are the chapters in this series: Everything Matters Equally – Our VUCA World; Everything Matters Equally – The Two Analogies; Everything Matters Equally – The Magical 4%; The Fallacy of Multitasking – Task Switching; The Fallacy of Multitasking – Focus & Concentration; A Disciplined Life; Willpower is Always on Will-Call; A Balanced Life; Big is Bad—Not!


In the opinion of ex-Dallas Cowboys football coach Tom Landry who coached from 1960-1988, “A coach is someone who tells you what you don’t want to hear, who has you see what you don’t want to see, so you can be who you have always known you could be.”

Is now the time to pick a Coach?

I realize that taking that first step to engage a Coach to help you reach a higher level of production is not as easy as it sounds.  After all, your training investment – and your time – are important and deserve every consideration.  I share your feelings.  I believe that how you approach your recruitment career matters…that you should get what you pay for, and then some…that you should enjoy your time with your Coach as you are benefiting from it…and that you should never settle for the ordinary.

So, for those of you who have been toying with the idea of working with a recruitment coach, now may be the time.  Only you can come to that decision point.

“Teachers open the door; but you must enter by yourself”—Chinese Proverb

When considering ‘individual change management’, consider this theosophical proverb: When the student is ready, the teacher will appear!”

“Bob Marshall is a speaker’s speaker and a trainer’s trainer.  He has a gift for taking the cornerstones of the business and compelling people and teams to not only hone their skills but to execute. We’ve had Bob engage our teams a number of times over the last few years and our groups always come away more focused on the core and more energized to perform. Come ready to learn because this man knows the business and will make you better!”

—David Alexander, President, Soliant, January 2017


Many of you continue to correspond with me about these monthly BLS analyses and have asked if it is OK to use them in your presentations.  The answer is, of course, yes!  That is why I spend the time to assemble this information.  I would encourage any of you who have that desire to weave any of the information I have printed below into your presentations.  I write these analyses for the benefit of our recruitment industry in general and for the members of my distribution list in particular.  So, use this info as you deem appropriate.

I also write these monthly BLS analyses to not only counterbalance the negative/incorrect press reporting of our general economic state but, more than that, to remind all of my recruitment readers that, at the level we work, there is no unemployment and so we must recruit to find the candidates our client companies so desperately need!

So, to my recruiter colleagues, get out there and do what your name implies…RECRUIT!  When your client companies have unique and difficult positions to fill, they need you.  When they are being picky, they need you.  When they are longing for more production from fewer employees, they need you.  Go fill those needs.  These should be the halcyon days in the recruitment arena!

Finally, always remember that we are not in an HR business, but in a ‘circumventing the time factor in the hiring sequence’ business—and adding value to our client companies.

Can you ever beat an internal candidate for a job?

BBC, December 2021

You apply for a job—only for it to go to an internal candidate.  Were you wasting your time all along?

You’ve found a job advert that excites you, and you’re already readying yourself to send off an application.  Yet, with a little closer examination, the advert seems somehow… off.  Maybe the information about the day-to-day role is surprisingly brief, or the application window is very short.  Congratulations: you’ve identified a position that’s probably aimed squarely at an internal candidate – one who’s already been picked.

Applying for jobs internal candidates will almost certainly fill can be hugely demoralizing.  The applications and cover letters – even the emotional energy you spend on the process – end up feeling like a complete waste of your time.  Is there a way you can spot these postings in advance to save yourself time and effort – and if you suspect there’s an internal candidate in play, is it even worth applying for a role?

‘Sketchy’ processes

Why post a position when it’s barely open in the first place?

Whether they have a preferred internal candidate or not, some organizations are required to post jobs openly.  “This is usually the case in the public sector, but may also be a governance requirement in the private sector,” says Lauri Vaisto, a former recruiter who’s now the strategy and employer brand consultant for the Swedish job-search engine Jobbland.

The idea behind requiring organizations to open hiring to all applicants is recruitment should be meritocratic, adds Daphne Lok, an HR manager in Sydney. “So, if it’s going to be based on merit, how do you determine what that merit is unless you have comparison candidates?”

Sometimes the requirement exists for immigration purposes, to ensure that a foreign resident is only hired for a job that a local can’t fill.  For instance, in Australia, companies generally need to have an open recruitment process, even if they already know the overseas worker they want to hire.

Ideally, all these postings are genuinely competitive, rather than a tick-box obligation before an employer is finally allowed to hire the intended candidate.  Yet, all too many job seekers have shared stories of applying for a job, seeing that an internal hire was made and suspecting – or being told – the company’s intention was to hire that current employee all along.

External candidates are not the only ones who notice how unfair this process can be; internal employees can also see the problems – even if they are the ones who theoretically benefit.  Last year, Jake, a worker at a meat processing factory in the Southern US, was on the internal side of the equation.  The 24-year-old was overqualified, and many employees had taken early retirement due to Covid-19, so Jake soon moved from manual work on the floor to computer-based work in the packaging warehouse.  Eventually, he was offered a supervisory position.

The way it came about was strange, though.  The department head came into the office where Jake and a colleague were working, saying that he wanted those in the room to know that the job had been posted, and that he couldn’t promote the person he wanted to unless they applied formally through the website.  It was clear that he was talking about Jake.

“I remember that part well, because it stuck out to me as a little sketchy that he wouldn’t say it directly for whatever reason,” recounts Jake.  He assumed this was a breach of equal-opportunity laws.  “I found the job posted listed only as ‘WAREHOUSE’ with almost no description, no title or real requirements.”  Once he applied, he was quickly offered the post, even without knowing the job title.

Of course, for Jake and his department head, this ‘sketchy’ experience had a positive outcome: Jake got a promotion and a pay rise, while the manager got his preferred candidate in the post.  But for anyone else applying to the role, this ‘search’ for a fitting candidate became a demoralizing waste of time.

Warning signs 

In Jake’s case, the nearly blank job ad was clearly not designed to attract many applicants.  But internally geared job ads aren’t always so obvious.

Vaisto, the Jobbland consultant, offers some clues as to whether a position is likely to be filled from within:

  • The job is advertised only on the employer’s website
  • The vacancy seems challenging to fill, but the application time is remarkably short
  • The job ad doesn’t provide contact information or a timescale, or is unusually concise
  • The job description is vague, or is written in a way that assumes the applicant has more information about the job than would realistically be expected of an external applicant
  • The experience and skills required are described with unusual precision, or require an atypical combination of skills that can only reasonably be expected to be met in-house

These can be tell-tale signs – but it’s still important to note list isn’t gospel.  “Then again,” cautions Vaisto, “we have to remember that sometimes there are just badly/hastily written job postings.  Even if all of the above were to happen, it is not automatically a case of deliberately trying to be misleading.”

And not all job postings aimed at internal candidates are sketchy.  Some companies do explicitly state an internal candidate exists for a given role, but that external applications are still welcome.  One such company is the Washington Post. According to managing editor Tracy Grant, “Stating that an internal candidate has been identified is a long-standing practice and applies to only a small share of our job postings.  We aim to be as transparent as possible when we have someone in mind for a role, and often times other candidates emerge, and we may interview them for that role or future opportunities.”

So, if you know there’s an internal candidate for a role that’s been advertised – or suspect from the job advertisement that there is one – it’s likely still worth applying.

Jed DeVaro, a management professor at California State University, East Bay, believes an external applicant has the best chance of getting a foot in the door at a new company if they set their sights slightly lower.  Especially at higher levels of seniority, companies often hold ‘biased promotion contests’ in which an external applicant has to be far stronger than an internal applicant in order to have a chance.

“Where it becomes really challenging for the external hires is if the move involves not just an external move, but also a promotion at the same time,” says DeVaro, who’s also the author of Strategic Compensation and Talent Management: Lessons for Managers.  “So, where the external hire is in a much better spot is if he or she is competing with an internal candidate who’s one level down.”

As dispiriting as it can be to get passed over for jobs, the best strategy may ultimately be to obtain as much information as possible about the role and the company and chalk up the process to experience if you don’t secure a position after all.  Even if a recruiter is just filling a quota for interviews, going through the process might reap benefits for the applicant later on.

“It’s an investment in building a relationship,” according to Michele Aguilar Carlin, the executive vice president of the US-based HR Policy Association.  “Especially now, with how scarce talent is, the right job may come up,” and the hiring manager may remember an applicant for a previous position.

Eventually, the external may become the internal.

41% of Workers to Search for Job in First Half of New Year, More Than Half Seek a Salary Boost: Robert Half

Daily News, December 15, 2021

More than 4 in 10 workers, 41%, plan to look for a new job in the first half of 2022, up from 32% 6 months ago, according to a survey released today by Robert Half International Inc.  The biannual Job Optimism Survey of more than 2,400 professionals’ tracks worker sentiment on current and future career prospects and reveals implications for employers.

Top reasons for seeking new jobs are to secure a salary boost, cited by 54%, better benefits and perks, 38%, and the ability to work remotely permanently, 34%. Those most likely to start job searching are:

In addition, the survey found that 28% of professionals planning to look for a new job would quit without another one lined up.

“This is the first time in my 37-year staffing career that I’ve seen so much movement in the market and so many opportunities for workers at all levels,” said Paul McDonald, Robert Half senior executive director.  “With nearly half their workforce poised to make a move, companies should be highly concerned about retention in the coming months.”

Regardless of job search plans, 87% of workers surveyed feel confident about their current skill set and 61% seek a promotion as the next step in their career, according to the research.  However, 41% feel they don’t have a clear path for advancement at their company and one-third of employees, 34%, feel performance discussions with their manager are ineffective and don’t help them reach their professional goals.

The online survey was developed by Robert Half and conducted by an independent research firm from Nov. 11 to Nov. 29. It includes responses from more than 2,400 adult workers in finance, technology, marketing, legal, administrative support, human resources and other areas at companies with 20 or more employees in the US.

Companies Rethink Recruitment Tactics to Compete for Talent: The Conference Board

Daily News, December 8, 2021

The historically tight US labor market is forcing employers to rethink how to attract and retain workers — in the short term amid acute talent shortages and also over the long term, according to a new report from The Conference Board and Emsi Burning Glass.  Approaches include remote work; signing bonuses; lowered education requirements; improved employer branding; and valuing core competencies like adaptability, problem-solving and communication over specific and technical skills that can be learned on the job.

“When US unemployment reached 14.8% in April 2020, few could have predicted the widespread difficulties in hiring less than 18 months later,” said Gad Levanon, VP, labor markets at The Conference Board.  “Yet the demographic factors that drove labor shortages before the pandemic have returned with a vengeance — especially in blue-collar and lower-paid work.  Coupled with reopening pains and reordered expectations around wages and the workplace, employers are facing a historic mismatch between their demand for labor and the available supply.”  

Among the report’s key insights:

Sign-on bonuses.  The share of job postings mentioning a starting or sign-on bonus more than doubled between the start of the pandemic in March 2020 and October 2021.  The rise of these bonuses has been most pronounced for manual, on-site jobs that do not require a college degree, as well as industries experiencing the greatest shortfalls in available labor — including education and healthcare.

Disclosing salary data.  Employers are also increasingly likely to include salary information in online job ads.  This shift began during the tightening pre-pandemic labor market of 2019, but truly took off in 2021 as the economy began reopening and firms scrambled to compete for workers to meet surging demand.  Overall, more than one in eight online job ads now include salary data, with blue-collar jobs again leading the trend.

Education and training.  In addition, employers are lowering education requirements and offering on-the-job training to reach more candidates.  The share of postings that require a bachelor’s degree for traditionally non-college jobs (i.e., sales, office support, blue-collar, and manual services) has declined to 15% or lower in 2021 from about 18% before the pandemic.

“Our data has tracked the clear shift in bargaining power from employers to workers over the past year,” said Bledi Taska, chief economist at Emsi Burning Glass.  “To compete in this environment, companies are taking proactive steps that have become increasingly visible in their job ads — from signaling the enhanced pay and benefits on offer to casting a wider net for prospective hires, whether in terms of credentials, experience or geography.”

The report draws on real-time analysis of openings posted on nearly 40,000 separate sources — job portals, corporate websites and anywhere else on the web where jobs are advertised.

Employee Turnover Cost Hits $26,511 Annually

Daily News, December 8, 2021

Rising employee turnover is costing US companies an average of $26,511 annually in lost productivity and recruiting, according to a survey released today by Express Employment Professionals.  And 42% of companies surveyed said employee turnover has increased this year.

In addition, 21% of companies surveyed said the cost to replace employees overall is $50,000 annually or more.  This proportion increases to 34% for companies with 500-plus employees but drops to 4% for the smallest companies surveyed, those with 2 to 9 employees.

“Turnover will continue into 2022 because we are in an employees’ market where the fear of losing a job or the stigma that was once a part of that has gone,” said John Culpepper, an Express franchise owner in Georgia.  “Employers are looking for past short tenures because they need workers so badly.  Companies are willing to take a chance that they will be the company an employee will stay at.”

Among those that have experienced an increase in turnover, the most common reasons are more advancement opportunities elsewhere, cited by 37%, and better pay/benefits offered elsewhere, cited by 35%.

The survey was conducted online within the US by The Harris Poll on behalf of Express Employment Professionals between March 23 and April 12, among 1,001 US hiring decision-makers.

The new ADP/Moody’s National Employment Report: Almost 52% of all new job growth in December 2021 came from Small and Medium-size Companies!

January 5, 2022

Private sector employment increased by 807,000 jobs from November to December according to the December ADP National Employment Report.  Broadly distributed to the public each month, free of charge, the ADP NER is produced by the ADP Research Institute in collaboration with Moody’s Analytics.  The report, which is derived from ADP’s actual data of those who are on a company’s payroll, measures the change in total nonfarm private employment each month on a seasonally-adjusted basis.

The matched sample used to develop the ADP National Employment Report® was derived from ADP payroll data, which represents 460,000 U.S. clients employing nearly 26,000,000 workers in the U.S.  The November total of jobs added was revised downward from 534,000 to 5505,000.

Total U.S. Nonfarm Private Employment:             807,000

By Company Size

Small businesses:                                  204,000

1-19 employees                                      104,000

20-49 employees                                    100,000

Medium businesses:                             214,000

50-499 employees                                  214,000

Large businesses:                                389,000

500-999 employees                                  70,000

1,000+ employees                                  319,000

By Sector

I.  Goods-producing:                                            138,000

A.  Natural resources/mining                                                   2,000

B.  Construction                                                                      62,000

C.  Manufacturing                                                                   74,000

II.  Service-providing:                                         669,000

A.  Trade/transportation/utilities                                            138,000

B.  Information                                                                        12,000

C.  Financial activities                                                                         24,000

D.  Professional/business services                                         130,000

                        1.  Professional/technical services                               47,000

                        2.  Management of companies/enterprises                     7,000

                        3.  Administrative/support services                             76,000

            E.  Education/health services                                                   85,000

                        1.  Health care/social assistance                                   75,000

                        2.  Education                                                                10,000

            F.  Leisure/hospitality                                                            246,000

            G.  Other services                                                                     36,000

Franchise Employment

Franchise Jobs                                     39,400

“December’s job market strengthened as the fallout from the Delta variant faded and Omicron’s impact had yet to be seen, “said Nela Richardson, chief economist, ADP.  “Job gains were broad-based, as goods producers added the strongest reading of the year, while service providers dominated growth.  December’s job growth brought the fourth quarter average to 625,000, surpassing the 514,000 average for the year.  While job gains eclipsed 6 million in 2021, private sector payrolls are still nearly 4 million jobs short of pre-COVID-19 levels.”

(The January 2022 ADP National Employment Report will be released at 8:15 a.m. ET on February 2, 2022.)

Due to the important contribution that small businesses make to economic growth, employment data that is specific to businesses with 49 or fewer employees is reported each month in the ADP Small Business Report®, a subset of the ADP National Employment Report.

December 2021 ADP Small Business Report Highlights

Total Small Business Employment:             204 ,000

●By Size  
►1-19 employees 104,000
►20-49 employees 100,000
●By Sector for 1-49 Employees  
►Goods Producing 19,000
►Service Producing 185,000
●By Sector for 1-19 Employees  
►Goods Producing 8,000
►Service Producing 96,000
●By Sector for 20-49 Employees  
►Goods Producing 11,000
►Service Producing 89,000

Bottom-line:  To my audience of recruiters, always remember this:  Our ‘bread and butter’, especially on the contingency side of the house, has historically been, and continues to be, small and medium-sized client companies.  Along with the large companies, these companies need to be in included in your niche!

Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary – October 2021

December 8, 2021         

The number of job openings increased to 11,000,000 on the last business day of October, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.  Hires were little changed at 6,500,000 and total separations edged down to 5,900,000.  Within separations, the quits rate decreased to 2.8% following a series high in September.  The layoffs and discharges rate was unchanged at 0.9%.  This release includes estimates of the number and rate of job openings, hires, and separations for the total nonfarm sector, by industry, by 4 geographic regions, and by establishment size class.

Job Openings

On the last business day of October, the number of job openings increased to 11,000,000 (+431,000).  The job openings rate was little changed at 6.9%, Job openings increased in several industries with the largest increases in accommodation and food services (+254,000); nondurable goods manufacturing (+45,000); and educational services (+42,000).  Job openings decreased in state and local government, excluding education

(-115,000).  The number of job openings increased in the South region.


In October, the number of hires was little changed at 6,500,000.  The hires rate was unchanged at 4.4%.  Hires decreased in finance and insurance (-96,000).  Hires increased in educational services (+54,000) and in state and local government education (+37,000).  The number of hires was little changed in all 4 regions.


Total separations includes quits, layoffs and discharges, and other separations.  Quits are generally voluntary separations initiated by the employee.  Therefore, the quits rate can serve as a measure of workers’ willingness or ability to leave jobs.  Layoffs and discharges are involuntary separations initiated by the employer.  Other separations includes separations due to retirement, death, disability, and transfers to other locations of the same firm.

In October, the number of total separations edged down to 5,900,000 (-255,000).  The total separations rate was little changed at 4.0%.  Total separations decreased in finance and insurance (-88,000) and in transportation, warehousing, and utilities (-64,000).  Total separations increased in state and local government, excluding education (+28,000).  Total separations were little changed in all 4 regions.

The number of quits decreased in October to 4,200,000 (-205,000).  The quits rate decreased to 2.8%.  Quits decreased in several industries with the largest decreases in transportation, warehousing, and utilities (-57,000); finance and insurance (-45,000); and arts, entertainment, and recreation (-33,000).  Quits increased in state and local government, excluding education (+21,000) and in mining and logging (+6,000).  The number of quits was little changed in all 4 regions.

In October, the number of layoffs and discharges was little changed at 1,400,000.  The layoffs and discharges rate was unchanged at 0.9%.  Layoffs and discharges were little changed in all industries and in all 4 regions.

The number of other separations was little changed in October at 373,000.  Other separations decreased in finance and insurance (-33,000).  The number of other separations increased in state and local government, excluding education (+8,000).  Other separations were little changed in all 4 regions.

Net Change in Employment

Large numbers of hires and separations occur every month throughout the business cycle.  Net employment change results from the relationship between hires and separations.  When the number of hires exceeds the number of separations, employment rises, even if the hires level is steady or declining.  Conversely, when the number of hires is less than the number of separations, employment declines, even if the hires level is steady or rising.

Over the 12 months ending in October 2021, hires totaled 73,800,000 and separations totaled 68,100,000, yielding a net employment gain of 5,700,000.  These totals include workers who may have been hired and separated more than once during the year.

Establishment Size Class

In October, the job openings rate increased in small establishments with 10-49 employees and in large establishments with 1,000 to 4,999 employees.  The hires rate decreased in large establishments with 1,000 to 4,999 employees.  The quits rate decreased in small establishments with 1-9 employees but increased in large establishments with 5,000 or more employees.  Both the layoffs and discharges rate and the total separations rate increased in large establishments with 5,000 or more employees.

The Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey estimates for November 2021 are scheduled to be released on Tuesday, January 4, 2022, at 10:00 a.m. (ET).

As we recruiters know that 11,000,000 number only represents 20% of the jobs currently available in the marketplace.  The other 80% of job openings are unpublished and are filled through networking or word of mouth or by using a RECRUITER.   So, those 11,000,000 published job openings now become a total of 55,000,000 published AND hidden job orders.



Online Labor Demand Rises in November

December 8, 2021

The Conference Board®−Burning Glass® Help Wanted OnLine® (HWOL) Index rose in November and now stands at 165.7 (July 2018=100), up from 161.2 in October. The 2.8 percent increase between October and November follows a 1.5 percent increase between September and October. Overall, the Index is up 61 percent from a year ago.

The Help Wanted OnLine® Index is produced in collaboration with Emsi Burning Glass, the global pioneer in real-time labor market data and analysis. This recent collaboration enhances the Help Wanted OnLine® program by providing additional insights into important labor market trends.


Prior to 2020, The Conference Board constructed the HWOL Index based solely on online job ads over time. Using a methodology designed to reduce non-economic volatility contributed by online job sources, the HWOL Index served an effective measure of changes in labor demand over time.

Beginning January 2020, the HWOL Index was refined as an estimate of change in job openings (based on BLS JOLTS), using a series of econometric models which incorporate job ads with other macroeconomic indicators such as employment and aggregate hours worked. By adopting a modeled approach which combines other data sources with data on online job ads, the HWOL Index more accurately tracks important movements in the labor market.

The Conference Board®-Burning Glass® Help Wanted OnLine® (HWOL) Index measures changes over time in advertised online job vacancies, reflecting monthly trends in employment opportunities across the US.  The HWOL Data Series aggregates the total number of ads available by month from the HWOL universe of online job ads.  Ads in the HWOL universe are collected in real-time from over 50,000 online job domains including traditional job boards, corporate boards, social media sites, and smaller job sites that serve niche markets and smaller geographic areas.

Like The Conference Board’s long-running Help Wanted Advertising Index of print ads (which was published for over 55 years and discontinued in July 2008), Help Wanted OnLine® measures help wanted advertising, i.e. labor demand.  The HWOL Data Series began in May 2005 and was revised in December 2018. With the December 2018 revision, The Conference Board released the HWOL Index, improving upon the HWOL Data Series’ ability to assess local labor market trends by reducing volatility and non-economic noise and improving correlation with local labor market conditions.

In 2019, the Help Wanted OnLine® program partnered with Emsi Burning Glass, the new sole provider of online job ad data for HWOL.  With the partnership, the HWOL Data Series has been revised historically to reflect a new universe and methodology of online job advertisements and therefore cannot be used in conjunction with the pre-revised HWOL Data Series.  The HWOL Data Series begins in January 2015 and the HWOL Index begins in December 2005.  HWOL Index values prior to 2020 are based on job ads collected by CEB, Inc.

About The Conference Board

The Conference Board is the member-driven think tank that delivers trusted insights for what’s ahead.

About Emsi Burning Glass

Emsi Burning Glass is the world’s leading authority on job skills, workforce talent, and labor market dynamics, providing expertise that empowers businesses, education providers, and governments to find the skills and talent they need and enables workers to unlock new career opportunities.  Headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts, and Moscow, Idaho, Emsi Burning Glass is active in more than 30 countries and has offices in the United Kingdom, Italy, New Zealand, and India.

The next release for December 2021 is Wednesday, January 12, 2022 at 10 AM.

U-6 Update

In December 2021, the regular unemployment rate fell .3% to 3.9% and the broader U-6 measure fell .5% to 7.3%.  Both percentages are still almost totally due to the COVID-19 economic shutdown across the U.S and the slow ‘Reopening’.

The above 7.3% is referred to as the U-6 unemployment rate (found in the monthly BLS Employment Situation Summary, Table A-15; Table A-12 in 2008 and before).  It counts not only people without work seeking full-time employment (the more familiar U-3 rate), but also counts “marginally attached workers and those working part-time for economic reasons.”  Note that some of these part-time workers counted as employed by U-3 could be working as little as an hour a week.  And the “marginally attached workers” include those who have gotten discouraged and stopped looking, but still want to work.  The age considered for this calculation is 16 years and over.

Here is a look at the December U-6 numbers for the previous 19 years:

December 2020                       11.7%

December 2019                       6.8%

December 2018                       7.6%

December 2017                       8.1%

December 2016                       9.1%

December 2015                       9.9%

December 2014                       11.2%

December 2013                       13.1%

December 2012                       14.4%

December 2011                       15.2%

December 2010                       16.6%

December 2009                       17.2%

December 2008                       13.7%

December 2007                       8.7%

December 2006                       7.9%

December 2005                       8.6%

December 2004                       9.3%

December 2003                       9.9%

December 2002                       9.9%

The December 2021 BLS Analysis

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 199,000 in December and the unemployment rate fell by 0.3% to 3.9%, the U.S. bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.  Employment continued to trend up in leisure and hospitality, in professional and business services, in manufacturing, in construction, and in transportation and warehousing.
The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for October was revised up by 182,000, from +546,000 to +648,000, and the change for November was revised up by 39,000, from +210,000 to +249,000.  With these revisions, employment in October and November combined is 141,000 higher than previously reported.  (Monthly revisions result from additional reports received from businesses and government agencies since the last published estimates and from the recalculation of seasonal factors.)

The unemployment rate is also published by the BLS.  That rate is found by dividing the number of unemployed by the total civilian labor force.  On January 7th, 2022, the BLS published the most recent unemployment rate for December 2021 of 3.9% (actually, it is 3.894%, down 0.35% from 4.244% in November.

The unemployment rate was determined by dividing the unemployed of 6,319,000

(–down from the month before by 483,000—since December 2020, this number has decreased by 4,470,000) by the total civilian labor force of 162,294,000 (up by 168,000 from November 2021).  Since December 2020, our total civilian labor force has increased by 1,623,000 workers.

(The continuing ‘Strange BLS Math’ saga—after a detour in December 2016 when the BLS {for the first time in years} DECREASED the total Civilian Noninstitutional Population—this month the BLS increased this total to 262,136,000.  This is an increase of 107,000 from last month’s increase of 121,000.  In one year, this population has increased by 906,000.  For the last 3 years the Civilian Noninstitutional Population has increased each month—except in December 2016, December 2018, December 2019, & December 2020—by…)

Up from November 2021by107,000
Up from October 2021by121,000
Up from September 2021by142,000
Up from August 2021by155,000
Up from July 2021by142,000
Up from June 2021by131,000
Up from May 2021by128,000
Up from April 2021by107,000
Up from March 2021by100,000
Up from February 2021by85,000
Up from January 2021by67,000
Down from December 2020by379,000
Up from November 2020by145,000
Up from October 2020by160,000
Up from September 2020by183,000
Up from August 2020by184,000
Up from July 2020by185,000
Up from June 2020by169,000
Up from May 2020by157,000
Up from April 2020by151,000
Up from March 2020by138,000
Up from February 2020by130,000
Up from January 2020by126,000
Down from December 2019by679,000
Up from November 2019by161,000
Up from October 2019by175,000
Up from September 2019by207,000
Up from August 2019by206,000
Up from July 2019by207,000
Up from June 2019by188,000
Up from May 2019by176,000
Up from April 2019by168,000
Up from March 2019by156,000
Up from February 2019by145,000
Up from January 2019by153,000
Down from December 2018by649,000
Up from November 2018by180,000

Subtract the ‘civilian labor force’ from the ‘civilian noninstitutional population’) and you get 99,842,000 ‘Not in Labor Force’—down by 60,000 from last month’s 99,902,000.  In one year, this NILF population has decreased by 717,000.  The government tells us that most of these NILFs got discouraged and just gave up looking for a job.  My monthly recurring question is: “If that is the case, how do they survive when they don’t earn any money because they don’t have a job?  Are they ALL relying on the government to support them??”

This month, our Employment Participation Rate—the population 16 years and older working or seeking work—remained at 61.9%.  This rate is .5% below the historically low rate of 62.4% recorded in September 2015—and, before that, the rate recorded in October 1977—9 months into Jimmy Carter’s presidency—almost 40 years ago!

Final take on these numbers:  Fewer people looking for work will always bring down the unemployment rate.

Anyway, back to the point I am trying to make.  On the surface, these new unemployment rates are scary, but let’s look a little deeper and consider some other numbers.

The unemployment rate includes all types of workers—construction workers, government workers, etc.  We recruiters, on the other hand, mainly place management, professional and related types of workers.  That unemployment rate in December was 1.7% (this rate was .2% lower than last month’s 1.9%).  Or you can look at it another way.  We usually place people who have college degrees.  That unemployment rate in December was2.1% (this rate was .2% lower than last month’s 2.3%).

Now stay with me a little longer.  This gets better.  It’s important to understand (and none of the pundits mention this) that the unemployment rate, for many reasons, will never be 0%, no matter how good the economy is.  Without boring you any more than I have already, let me add here that Milton Friedman (the renowned Nobel Prize-winning economist), is famous for the theory of the “natural rate of unemployment” (or the term he preferred, NAIRU, which is the acronym for Non-Accelerating Inflation Rate of Unemployment).  Basically, this theory states that full employment presupposes an ‘unavoidable and acceptable’ unemployment rate of somewhere between 4-6% with it.  Economists often settle on 5%, although the “New Normal Unemployment Rate” has been suggested to fall at 6.7%.

Nevertheless (if you will allow me to apply a ‘macro’ concept to a ‘micro’ issue), if this rate is applied to our main category of Management, Professional and Related types of potential recruits, and/or our other main category of College-Degreed potential recruits, because of the COVID-19 shutdown, we are not that far above the 4-6% threshold for full employment…and that will change as soon as we all return to work!


“The economic goal of any nation, as of any individual, is to get the greatest results with the least effort.  The whole economic progress of mankind has consisted in getting more production with the same labor…Translated into national terms, this first principle means that our real objective is to maximize production.  In doing this, full employment—that is, the absence of involuntary idleness—becomes a necessary by-product.  But production is the end, employment merely the means.  We cannot continuously have the fullest production without full employment.  But we can very easily have full employment without full production.”

–Economics in One Lesson, by Henry Hazlitt, Chapter X, “The Fetish of Full Employment”

On December 22nd, the real gross domestic product (GDP) increased at an annual rate of 2.3% in the third quarter of 2021, according to the “third” estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis.  In the second quarter, real GDP increased 6.7%.

The “third” estimate of GDP released today is based on more complete source data than were available for the “second” estimate issued last month. In the second estimate, the increase in real GDP was 2.1%.  The update primarily reflects upward revisions to personal consumption expenditures (PCE) and private inventory investment that were partly offset by a downward revision to exports.  Imports, which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP, were revised down.

COVID-19 Impact on the Third-Quarter 2021 GDP Estimate

The increase in third quarter GDP reflected the continued economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. A resurgence of COVID-19 cases resulted in new restrictions and delays in the reopening of establishments in some parts of the country. Government assistance payments in the form of forgivable loans to businesses, grants to state and local governments, and social benefits to households all decreased. The full economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic cannot be quantified in the GDP estimate for the third quarter because the impacts are generally embedded in source data and cannot be separately identified.

The increase in real GDP in the third quarter reflected increases in private inventory investment, PCE, state and local government spending, and nonresidential fixed investment that were partly offset by decreases in exports, residential fixed investment, and federal government spending. Imports increased.

The increase in private inventory investment reflected increases in wholesale trade (led by nondurable goods industries) and in retail trade (led by motor vehicles and parts dealers). The increase in PCE reflected an increase in services that was partly offset by a decrease in goods. Within services, increases were widespread with the largest contributions coming from “other” services (mainly international travel) and transportation services. The decrease in goods primarily reflected a decrease in spending on motor vehicles and parts. The increase in state and local government spending was led by employee compensation (notably, education). The increase in nonresidential fixed investment reflected an increase in intellectual property products (led by software and research and development) that was partly offset by decreases in equipment and structures.

The decrease in residential fixed investment primarily reflected decreases in improvements and in new single-family structures. The decrease in federal government spending primarily reflected a decrease in nondefense spending on intermediate goods and services after the processing and administration of Paycheck Protection Program loan applications by banks on behalf of the federal government ended in the second quarter. The decrease in exports reflected decreases in both goods and services. The increase in imports primarily reflected an increase in services (led by travel and transport).

The deceleration in real GDP in the third quarter was more than accounted for by a slowdown in PCE. From the second quarter to the third quarter, spending for goods turned down (led by motor vehicles and parts) and services decelerated (led by food services and accommodations).

Current dollar GDP increased 8.4% at an annual rate, or $461.3 billion, in the third quarter to a level of $23.20 trillion.  In the 2nd quarter, GDP increased 13.4%, or $702.8 billion.

The price index for gross domestic purchases increased 5.6% in the third quarter, compared with an increase of 5.8 percent in the second quarter.  The PCE price index increased 5.3 percent, compared with an increase of 6.5%.  Excluding food and energy prices, the PCE price index increased 4.6%, compared with an increase of 6.1%.

Gross Domestic Income and Corporate Profits

Real gross domestic income (GDI) increased 5.8% in the third quarter, compared with an increase of 4.3% in the second quarter.  The average of real GDP and real GDI, a supplemental measure of U.S. economic activity that equally weights GDP and GDI, increased 4.1% in the third quarter, compared with an increase of 5.5% in the second quarter.

Profits from current production (corporate profits with inventory valuation and capital consumption adjustments) increased $96.9 billion in the third quarter, compared with an increase of $267.8 billion in the second quarter.

Profits of domestic financial corporations increased $14.2 billion in the third quarter, compared with an increase of $52.8 billion in the second quarter. 

Profits of domestic nonfinancial corporations increased $31.6 billion, compared with an increase of $221.3 billion. Rest-of-the-world profits increased $51.1 billion, in contrast to a decrease of $6.2 billion. In the third quarter, receipts increased $65.2 billion, and payments increased $14.1 billion.

Updates to GDP

In the third estimate of the third quarter, real GDP increased 2.3%, 0.2 percentage point higher than in the second estimate.  Upward revisions to PCE (specifically, an upward revision to services), private inventory investment (both farm and nonfarm), residential fixed investment, state and local government spending, and nonresidential fixed investment were partly offset by downward revisions to exports and federal government spending.  Imports were revised down.

Real GDP by Industry

Today’s release includes estimates of GDP by industry, or value added—a measure of an industry’s contribution to GDP.  In the third quarter, private services-producing industries increased 3.9%, government increased 5.1%, and private goods-producing industries decreased 5.5%.  Overall, 14 of 22 industry groups contributed to the third-quarter increase in real GDP.

The increase in private services-producing industries primarily reflected increases in professional, scientific, and technical services; finance and insurance (led by securities, commodity contracts, and investments); accommodation and food services; administrative and waste management services (led by administrative and support services); and information (led by motion picture and sound recording industries). These increases were partly offset by decreases in retail trade (led by motor vehicle and parts dealers) and wholesale trade.

The decrease in private goods-producing industries was widespread, led by construction.

The increase in government primarily reflected an increase in state and local government.

Gross Output by Industry

Real gross output—principally a measure of an industry’s sales or receipts, adjusted for price change, which includes sales to final users in the economy (GDP) and sales to other industries (intermediate inputs)—increased 4.4% in the third quarter.  Private services-producing industries increased 7.6%, government increased 0.3%, and private goods-producing industries decreased 2.5%.  Overall, 14 of 22 industry groups contributed to the increase in real gross output.

*          *          *

Next release, January 27, 2022, at 8:30 A.M. EST
Gross Domestic Product, Fourth Quarter 2021 (Advance Estimate) and Year 2021


‘Unemployment’ is an emotional ‘trigger’ word…a ‘third rail’, if you will.  It conjures up negative thoughts.  But it is important to realize that, while we want everyone who wants a job to have the opportunity to work, unemployment can never be zero and, in fact, can be disruptive to an economy if it gets too close to zero.  Very low unemployment can actually hurt the economy by creating an upward pressure on wages which invariably leads to higher production costs and prices.  This can lead to inflation.  The lowest the unemployment rate has been in the US was 2.5%.  That was in May and June 1953 when the economy overheated due to the Korean War.  When this bubble burst, it kicked off the Recession of 1953.  A healthy economy will always include some percentage of unemployment.

There are five main sources of unemployment:

1.  Cyclical (or demand-deficient) unemployment – This type of unemployment fluctuates with the business cycle.  It rises during a recession and falls during the subsequent recovery.  Workers who are most affected by this type of unemployment are laid off during a recession when production volumes fall, and companies use lay-offs as the easiest way to reduce costs.  These workers are usually rehired, some months later, when the economy improves.

2.  Frictional unemployment – This comes from the normal turnover in the labor force.  This is where new workers are entering the workforce and older workers are retiring and leaving vacancies to be filled by the new workers or those re-entering the workforce.  This category includes workers who are between jobs.

3.  Structural unemployment – This happens when the skills possessed by the unemployed worker don’t match the requirements of the opening—whether those be in characteristics and skills or in location.  This can come from new technology or foreign competition (e.g., foreign outsourcing).  This type of unemployment usually lasts longer than frictional unemployment because retraining, and sometimes relocation, is involved.  Occasionally jobs in this category can just disappear overseas.

4.  Seasonal unemployment – This happens when the workforce is affected by the climate or time of year.  Construction workers and agricultural workers aren’t needed as much during the winter season because of the inclement weather.  On the other hand, retail workers experience an increase in hiring shortly before, and during, the holiday season, but can be laid off shortly thereafter.

5.  Surplus unemployment – This is caused by minimum wage laws and unions.  When wages are set at a higher level, unemployment can often result.  Why?  To keep within the same payroll budget, the company must let go of some workers to pay the remaining workers a higher salary.

Other factors influencing the unemployment rate:

1.  Length of unemployment – Some studies indicate that an important factor influencing a worker’s decision to accept a new job is directly related to the length of the unemployment benefit they are receiving.

Currently, workers in most states are eligible for up to 26 weeks of benefits from the regular state-funded unemployment compensation program, although seven states provide fewer weeks and one provides more.  Extended Benefits (EB) have triggered on in 14 states plus the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands.  Additional weeks of federal benefits are also available through September 6, 2021.

Studies suggest that additional weeks of benefits reduce the incentive of the unemployed to seek and accept less-desirable jobs.

2.  Changes in GDP – Since hiring workers takes time, the improvement in the unemployment rate usually lags the improvement in the GDP.


Now back to the issue at hand, namely the recruiting, and placing, of professionals and those with college degrees.

If you look at the past 21 years of unemployment in the December “management, professional and related” types of worker category, you will find the following rates:

December 2020                       3.4%

December 2019                       1.8%

December 2018                       2.1%

December 2017                       2.0%

December 2016                       2.2%

December 2015                       2.0%

December 2014                       2.7%

December 2013                       2.9%

December 2012                       3.9%

December 2011                       4.2%

December 2010                       4.6%

December 2009                       4.6%

December 2008                       3.3%

December 2007                       2.0%

December 2006                       1.7%

December 2005                       2.0%

December 2004                       2.5%

December 2003                       2.8%

December 2002                       2.8%

December 2001                       2.9%

December 2000                       1.7%

Here are the rates, during those same time periods, for “college-degreed” workers:

December 2020                       3.8%

December 2019                       1.9%

December 2018                       2.2%

December 2017                       2.1%

December 2016                       2.5%

December 2015                       2.5%

December 2014                       2.8%

December 2013                       3.4%

December 2012                       4.0%

December 2011                       4.0%

December 2010                       4.8%

December 2009                       4.9%

December 2008                       3.7%

December 2007                       2.1%

December 2006                       1.9%

December 2005                       2.2%

December 2004                       2.5%

December 2003                       3.0%

December 2002                       2.9%

December 2001                       3.1%

December 2000                       1.5%

The December 2021 rates for these two categories, 1.7% and 2.1%, respectively, are still fairly high because so many workers are sheltering in place in their homes and not going to work.  But regardless, these unemployment numbers usually include a good number of job hoppers, job shoppers and rejects.  We, on the other hand, are engaged by our client companies to find those candidates who are happy, well-appreciated, making good money and currently working and we entice them to move for even better opportunities—especially where new technologies are expanding.  This will never change.  And that is why, no matter the overall unemployment rate, we still need to MARKET to find the best possible job orders to work and we still need to RECRUIT to find the best possible candidates for those Job Orders.

Below are the numbers for the over 25-year old’s:

Less than H.S. diploma – Unemployment Rate


H.S. Grad; no college – Unemployment Rate


Some College; or AA/AS – Unemployment Rate


BS/BS + – Unemployment Rate


Management, Professional & Related – Unemployment Rate


Or employed…(,000)


And unemployed…(,000)


For a total Management, Professional & Related workforce of…(,000)


Management, Business and Financial Operations – Unemployment Rate


Professional & Related – Unemployment Rate


Sales & Related – Unemployment Rate