BLS Analysis for Recruiters April 2021

Bob Marshall’s April 2021 BLS Analysis for Recruiters; 5/7/21

April BLS Preface

TBMG Coaching Updates and Product News:

The New 2021 Elite Recruiter Masterclass (ERM) Training Program

Stay tuned as we finish downloading the curriculum that will make up our new training program.  In this course, we have constructed our studies to resemble a college with the basic freshman and sophomore course work separated from the more advanced junior and senior course work.  I will fill the role of professor through the total content of the program that will confer Elite Recruiter status upon completion.

The foundational coursework will be ready for new students as early as May with the advanced curriculum a few weeks later.

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

We will begin accepting a limited number of students now with a class start date in May 2021.  Contact us for details @ 770-898-5550 or

Our new TBMG products:

“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

You can choose any, or all, of the above.


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.

Manufacturing Skills Gap Could Leave 2,100,000 Jobs Unfilled by 2030

Daily News, May 4, 2021

The US manufacturing skills gap could leave 2,100,000 jobs unfilled by 2030 and cost the US economy as much as $1 trillion, according to a report by Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute.

The study is based on two online surveys with participation from more than 800 US-based manufacturing leaders, interviews with manufacturing executives, analysis of data from secondary sources and projections by Deloitte.

Other findings include:

  • 36% of US manufacturers believe finding the right talent now is 36% harder than it was in 2018 despite a much-higher unemployment rate.
  • 71% of US manufacturers say they will have ongoing difficulties in attracting and retaining workers in 2021 and beyond.
  • Only 30% of manufacturing professionals are women.  In addition, women surveyed were 1.8 times more likely than men to contemplate leaving the industry, citing lack of work-life balance and the need for flexible schedules.

“Given the foundational role the manufacturing sector plays in our nation’s economy, it is deeply concerning that at a time when jobs are in such high demand nationwide, the number of vacant entry-level manufacturing positions continues to grow,” said Paul Wellener, vice chairman and US industrial products and construction leader, Deloitte LLP.

“Attracting and retaining diverse talent presents both a challenge and solution to bridging the talent gap,” Wellener continued.  “To attract a new generation of workers, the industry should work together to change the perception of work in manufacturing and expand and diversify its talent pipeline.”

Ensuring Job Fit Is Even More Important for Remote Hires: How Hiring Managers Can Secure the Best Candidates

Eric Friedman, Forbes Human Resources Council, April 26, 2021

The Covid-19 pandemic kicked the acceleration of remote work into high gear and many people will not return to the office at all.  According to a recent Gallup poll, almost two-thirds of respondents said that they would prefer to continue working remotely post-pandemic.

This means your organization needs to be prepared for a remote-working future.  Some steps you need to take are obvious, such as moving data and infrastructure to the cloud and getting your teams set up with the right video conferencing, messaging and collaboration applications.  However, others are not so obvious, such as implementing processes to hire, onboard and manage remote employees successfully.

Hiring the Right People Faster with Less Information

With more people than ever commuting a few steps from their bedroom to their home office and joining a meeting with the click of a button, tasks that used to take hours or days now take seconds — including recruiting.  Hiring and onboarding employees are occurring much faster in a virtual world, leaving less room for error.  Therefore, having the right tools to gather information on potential candidates is more important than ever. 

Hiring managers should conduct a 360-degree evaluation of a candidate to determine if they have the right skill level, experience and aptitude to do a job and decide if they are a good fit for the work environment and company culture.  One way to measure this is through the use of pre-employment tests to assess a candidate’s hard skills and video interviewing to evaluate their soft skills.

The Future of Work: 7 Trends and Tools You Need

Companies snap up talented people quickly, so hiring managers need to be able to make the right decision about a potential new hire much more quickly than in the past, and often without the benefit of meeting candidates face-to-face.  In addition to job fit, there is one skill in particular hiring managers should be looking for in all their candidates, regardless of industry or position you’re hiring for.

Remote Work Is Creating Self-Directed Employees

The shift to remote work has shown that productivity increases when you give employees back time and allow them to manage their work priorities.  According to a recent Mercer survey of more than 800 companies, more than 90% of respondents said productivity either remained constant or increased when they allowed employees to work remotely due to the Covid-19 pandemic.  And according to data compiled by “RescueTime”, the time remote workers spend on “core” tasks that are directly related to their job has increased 4% while the amount of time they spend on communication such as email, chat, phone calls and meetings decreased by 18%.

The shift to remote work has enabled employees to be more self-directed and task-based so they can focus on and accomplish their core responsibilities more efficiently. This makes an employee’s average workday more rewarding and productive and benefits the organization.  In short, working from home is allowing employees to get more done and enjoy greater ownership over their work.

The biggest challenge of the self-directed workday is hiring managers need to be sure they can rely on new hires to deliver quality work and meet deadlines. As the trend toward self-directed work continues, the impetus will be on managers to hire candidates who have the skills, attributes and personality to work effectively without constant supervision.

How To Hire Great Remote Employees

Once again, pre-employment skills tests and video interviews can help organizations assess whether a candidate is capable of being self-directed. Since computer proficiency is imperative for remote employees, hiring managers can use pre-employment assessments to ensure candidates have the required level of experience using computer applications that are required for the job. It is also easy to assess knowledge of job-specific skills such as accounting best practices, computer programming and mechanical aptitude.

Video interviews are ideal for helping hiring managers assess soft skills that are essential for remote employees such as written and verbal communication, ability to collaborate effectively with team members, empathy and problem-solving.  For example, a video interview question could present candidates interviewing for customer service representative positions with a typical job-related scenario and evaluate verbal communication skills, ability to empathize with customers and problem-solving abilities.

Considerations for Successful Remote Hires

The shift to remote work means that managers are recruiting, hiring and onboarding people without the kind of information they used to be able to obtain during in-person interviews.  For example, if someone arrived late to a job interview, a hiring manager could interpret it as a possible sign that the applicant might not be the right person for the job.  However, this is not possible in a remote hiring world since it is impossible to be “late” for an on-demand video interview.

The lack of data hiring managers can gather and observe about candidates during the remote hiring process is a risk.  And hiring employees who have the skills to be effective remote workers is a new experience for many recruiters and hiring managers.  Pre-employment testing and video interviews are two tools that offer a data-driven approach, taking the guesswork out of remote hiring.

US Leading Economic Index for March points to Continued Growth

Daily News, April 22, 2021

US growth continues to pick up, according to The Conference Board Leading Economic Index for March released today.  The trend in the index is consistent with the economy picking up in coming months.

“The US [Leading Economic Index] rose sharply in March, which more than offset February’s slightly negative revised figure,” said Ataman Ozyildirim, senior director of economic research at The Conference Board.

In March, the Leading Economic Index rose 1.3% from February to a reading of 111.6.  It had fallen 0.1% in February after an 0.5% increase in January.

“The improvement in the US [Leading Economic Index], with all 10 components contributing positively, suggests economic momentum is increasing in the near term,” Ozyildirim said.  “The widespread gains among the leading indicators are supported by an accelerating vaccination campaign, gradual lifting of mobility restrictions, as well as current and expected fiscal stimulus.”

Approximately One-Third of Hiring Decision-Makers say Remote Work will be New Normal: Express Employments Professional

Daily News, April 14, 2021

Remote work will become the new normal, according to 35% of hiring decision-makers polled on behalf of Express Employment Professionals.

The poll noted the 57% of employees who worked remotely in 2020 is up from an average of 42% in 2019.  Among hiring decision-makers with employees who worked remotely in 2020, nearly half, 48%, expect the majority of employees who began working remotely during the Covid-19 pandemic to return to a physical workplace within 6 months. And 17% say the majority have already returned to the physical workplace.

Jan Riggins, general manager for two Express franchises in Fort Worth, Texas, said she knew before the pandemic that some people enjoy and thrive in a work-from-home environment, while others do not.  But for her office, pivoting to a hybrid model of remote work could have positive lasting results.

“In our own office, I have seen how our forced experience to work remotely prepared us to have uninterrupted production even with additional challenges such as weather, school closings and individual quarantines,” Riggins said.  “In the past, these would have left us hobbled, so perhaps our future does not lead to remote versus not remote, but instead a fluid transition between the two.”

The survey included 1,002 US hiring decision-makers, defined as adults ages 18 and up in the US who are employed full-time or self-employed, work at companies with more than one employee and have full/significant involvement in hiring decisions at their company.

More than 80% of Middle-Market CEOs to Allow Partial Remote Work after Pandemic

Daily News, April 12, 2021

More than 80% of middle-market CEOs say they are likely to allow for a partial remote workforce even after the Covid-19 pandemic is over, according the most recent CEO survey from Marcum LLP and Hofstra University’s Frank G. Zarb School of Business.

A permanent shift to a partially remote workforce was cited most often by CEOs when asked to predict long-term business changes as a result of the pandemic, with 82% of those surveyed saying they were likely or very likely to permit some employees to work from home.

“There is no doubt that workplace practices, policies and behaviors will be changing permanently in many ways, post-Covid,” said Janet Lenaghan, dean of the Zarb School of Business.  “Mid-market CEOs clearly recognize that giving people flexibility is a smart business strategy that leads to greater productivity.” 

Some executives reported reducing real estate exposure and increasing the talent pool through remote work.

In addition, 45% of CEOs said they will require employees to be vaccinated against Covid if it is legal to do so, and another 36% said they would offer incentives to employees to get the vaccine.

The survey polled the leaders of 251 companies with revenues ranging from $5 million to more than $1 billion.

Long-term business changes brought on by Covid will also include revising strategic plans to mitigate future risks exposed by the crisis (cited by 80%) and building resiliency against supply chain disruptions (77%).

Study Raises Criticism that Technology Makes it Easier to Send Work to Temporary Workers

Daily News, April 7, 2021

Technology is making it easier for employers to assign work to temporary agency workers instead of traditional employees and makes it easier to treat workers as commodities, according to a report by Cornell University.

“Routine tasks are easy to automate which means the demand for workers doing those tasks is going to fall, meaning wages are going to fall, too, until those jobs disappear entirely,” said Associate Professor Adam Seth Litwin, who authored the report along with Sherry Tanious.

“But, instead of focusing on that aspect, through this study we’re able to show that technology also makes it easier for employers to reassign work that was once done by traditional employees to workers at temp agencies.”

Employment Trends Index Points to Historically Fast Job Growth, Increased Wages

Daily News, April 5, 2021

The Conference Board Employment Trends Index now signals very strong jobs growth over the coming months.  The index reading for March, released today, jumped to 102.44, up from a downwardly revised reading of 100.01 in February.

“Despite the recent increase in infection rates, the vaccination campaign is progressing at a rate that should significantly reduce the spread of the virus in the next couple of months,” said Gad Levanon, head of The Conference Board Labor Markets Institute.  “Labor intensive in-person services will continue to reopen, and consumers flush with cash due to a year of elevated savings and strong government stimulus will be willing and able to spend.”

All this will lead to historically fast employment growth in the coming quarters, according to Levanon, with the unemployment rate expected to reach about 4% a year from now and decline further through the rest of 2022.

“Tight labor markets and labor shortages will resurface in the coming year, leading to faster wage growth,” he said.

Employers say they may reach pre-pandemic hiring levels by 2021’s end

HR Dive, Jeff Wells, March 31, 2021

Dive Brief:

  • Nearly one-third of the more than 7,500 U.S. employers surveyed in ManpowerGroup’s Employment Outlook for 2021’s second quarter said they could return to “pre-pandemic hiring levels” as soon as July, and an additional 20% said the same could occur by the end of the year.
  • Employers in all the 12 industries measured by ManpowerGroup reported positive hiring outlooks, with the strongest projections reported in leisure and hospitality; transportation and utilities; and wholesale and retail trade.  On the state level, hiring projections were strongest in Rhode Island and Wisconsin, followed by Michigan, Vermont and Arizona.
  • Despite confidence in vaccine availability expansion, only 4% of employers surveyed planned to require employees to get vaccinated, ManpowerGroup said; 17% said they would encourage vaccination by promoting the benefits of a jab.  Respondents expected most employees to be back in the work for most of the time within the next 6 to 12 months.

Dive Insight:

The report tracks with the results of ManpowerGroup’s Outlook Survey for Q1 2021, in which it said hiring outlooks were positive for the majority of industries despite year-over-year declines for most regional outlooks.

Moreover, it may be challenging to ramp up hiring to pre-pandemic levels, according to a November 2020 XpertHR survey.  The poll of 563 organizations found nearly two-thirds said recruiting and hiring would be “somewhat” or “very” challenging going into 2021.

Safety measures could speed up reopening plans, but employers may still need to be strict about certain protocols.  A recent JUST Capital and The Harris Poll survey of employees and employers revealed about 1 in 5 workers went to work sick since the beginning of the pandemic.  Workers who did so cited fear of losing their jobs, fear of angering their boss or a general lack of access to paid leave as among the reasons why they continued to show up to work.

“The American workforce and labor market is resilient, and we have a silver lining in sight with the vaccine roll out boosting optimism for the months ahead,” Becky Frankiewicz, president of ManpowerGroup North America, said in a statement.  “As we continue to navigate the road to recovery there will be twists and turns, yet slow progress will continue as employers prepare to renew and reset and focus on getting America safely back to work.”

The new ADP/Moody’s National Employment Report: Nearly 63% of all new job growth in April 2021 came from Small and Medium-size Companies!

May 5, 2021

Private sector employment increased by 742,000 jobs from March to April according to the April 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 payroll data, 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 March total of jobs added was revised from

517,000 to 565,000.

Total U.S. Nonfarm Private Employment:             742,000

By Company Size

Small businesses:                                235,000

1-19 employees                                    122,000

20-49 employees                                  113,000

Medium businesses:                           230,000

50-499 employees                                230,000

Large businesses:                              277,000

500-999 employees                                84,000

1,000+ employees                                193,000

By Sector

I.  Goods-producing:                                           106,000

A.  Natural resources/mining                                                 10,000

B.  Construction                                                                      41,000

C.  Manufacturing                                                                   55,000

II.  Service-providing:                                       636,000

A.  Trade/transportation/utilities                                            155,000

B.  Information                                                                      <-3,000>

C.  Financial activities                                                                         11,000

D.  Professional/business services                                         104,000

                        1.  Professional/technical services                               27,000

                        2.  Management of companies/enterprises                     5,000

                        3.  Administrative/support services                             72,000

            E.  Education/health services                                                   92,000

                        1.  Health care/social assistance                                   76,000

                        2.  Education                                                                16,000

            F.  Leisure/hospitality                                                            237,000

            G.  Other services                                                                     40,000

Franchise Employment

Franchise Jobs                                     49,600

“The labor market continues an upward trend of acceleration and growth, posting the strongest reading since September 2020,” said Nela Richardson, chief economist, ADP.  “Service providers have the most to gain as the economy reopens, recovers and resumes normal activities and are leading job growth in April.  While payrolls are still more than 8,000,000 jobs short of pre-COVID-19 levels, job gains have totaled 1,300,000 in the last 2 months after adding only about 1,000,000 jobs over the course of the previous 5 months.”

(The May 2021 ADP National Employment Report will be released at 8:15 a.m. ET on June 3, 2021.)

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.

April 2021 Small Business Report Highlights

Total Small Business Employment:             235,000

●By Size  
►1-19 employees 122,000
►20-49 employees 113,000
●By Sector for 1-49 Employees  
►Goods Producing 14,000
►Service Producing 221,000
●By Sector for 1-19 Employees  
►Goods Producing 5,000
►Service Producing 117,000
●By Sector for 20-49 Employees  
►Goods Producing 9,000
►Service Producing 104,000

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 – February 2021

April 6, 2021    

The number of job openings edged up to 7,400,000 on the last business day of February, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.  Hires also edged up to 5,700,000 while total separations were little changed at 5,500,000.  Within separations, the quits rate and layoffs and discharges rate were unchanged at 2.3% and 1.2%, respectively.  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 February, the number of job openings edged up to 7,400,000 (+268,000).  The job openings rate was little changed at 4.9%.  Job openings increased in health care and social assistance (+233,000); accommodation and food services (+104,000); and arts, entertainment, and recreation (+56,000).  The number of job openings decreased in state and local government education (-117,000); educational services (-35,000); and information (-34,000).  The number of job openings was little changed in all 4 regions.


In February, the number of hires edged up to 5,700,000 (+273,000).  The hires rate was little changed at 4.0%.  Hires increased in accommodation and food services (+220,000).  Hires decreased in state and local government education (-80,000) and in educational services (-25,000).  The number of hires increased in the South region.


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 February, the number and rate of total separations were little changed at 5,500,000 and 3.8%, respectively.  The total separations level decreased in transportation, warehousing, and utilities (-97,000) and in federal government (-17,000).  Total separations increased in construction (+90,000); state and local government education (+51,000); and educational services (+36,000).  Total separations were little changed in all 4 regions.

In February, the quits level and rate were little changed at 3,400,000 and 2.3%, respectively.  The number of quits increased in state and local government education (+29,000); educational services (+22,000); and real estate and rental and leasing (+15,000).  Quits decreased in federal government (-7,000).  The number of quits was little changed in all 4 regions.

In February, the number and rate of layoffs and discharges were little changed at 1,800,000 million and 1.2%, respectively.  The number of layoffs and discharges decreased in transportation, warehousing, and utilities (-91,000) and in federal government (-6,000).  Layoffs and discharges increased in finance and insurance (+24.000).  Layoffs and discharges decreased in the West region.

The number of other separations was little changed in February at 323,000.  Other separations increased in state and local government education (+9,000) and in educational services (+4,000).  Other separations decreased in real estate and rental and leasing

(-7,000) and in federal government (-3,000).  The other separations level was 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 February, hires totaled 72,300,000 and separations totaled 80,900,000, yielding a net employment loss of 8,600,000.  These totals include workers who may have been hired and separated more than once during the year.

Establishment Size Class

JOLTS produces estimates for job openings, hires, and separations by establishment size.   These estimates can provide additional insight into the internal dynamics of the labor market.  There are 6 employment size classes: 1-9; 10-49; 50-249; 250-999; 1,000-4,999; and 5,000 or more employees.  Utilizing these size classes, establishments can also be described as small (1-49 employees), medium (50-249), and large (250+).

In February, the hires rate increased in small establishments with 10-49 employees.  In large establishments with 250-999 employees, the job openings rate increased.


The Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey estimates for March 2021 are scheduled to be released on Tuesday, May 11, 2021 at 10:00 a.m. (ET).

As we recruiters know that 7,400,000 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 7,400,000 published job openings now become a total of 37,000,000 published AND hidden job orders.



Online Labor Demand Rose in March

April 7, 2021

The Conference Board®-Burning Glass® Help Wanted OnLine® (HWOL) Index rose in March and now stands at 108.5 (July 2018=100), up from 105.7 in February.  The Index grew by 0.5% between January and February and is up 23.6% from a year ago.

The Help Wanted OnLine® Index is produced in collaboration with Burning Glass Technologies, 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 Burning Glass Technologies, Inc., 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.

Those using this data are urged to review the information on the database and methodology available on The Conference Board website and contact us with questions and comments.  

About The Conference Board

The Conference Board is the member-driven think tank that delivers trusted insights for what’s ahead. Founded in 1916, we are a non-partisan, not-for-profit entity holding 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt status in the United States.

About Burning Glass Technologies, Inc.

Burning Glass Technologies delivers job market analytics that empower employers, workers, and educators to make data-driven decisions. Powered by the world’s largest and most sophisticated database of labor market data and talent, Burning Glass Technologies analyzes hundreds of millions of job postings and real-life career transitions to provide insight into labor market patterns.  Users of our products include corporate human resources departments, market analysts and employment services firms as well as the federal, state and local labor market analysts that use HWOL.

The next release for April 2021 is Wednesday, May 12th at 10 AM.

U-6 Update

In April 2021, the regular unemployment rate rose 0.1% to 6.1% and the broader U-6 measure fell 0.3% to at 10.4%.  Both of these percentages are still almost totally due to the COVID-19 economic shutdown across the U.S and the slow ‘Reopening’.

The above 10.4% 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 April U-6 numbers for the previous 18 years:

April 2020                   22.8%

April 2019                   7.3%

April 2018                   7.8%

April 2017                   8.6%

April 2016                   9.7%

April 2015                   10.8%

April 2014                   12.3%

April 2013                   13.9%

April 2012                   14.5%

April 2011                   15.9%

April 2010                   17.0%

April 2009                   15.8%

April 2008                   9.2%

April 2007                   8.2%

April 2006                   8.1%

April 2005                   9.0%

April 2004                   9.6%

April 2003                   10.1%

The April 2021 BLS Analysis

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 266,000 in April, and the unemployment rate edged up to 6.1%, the U.S. bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.  Notable job gains in leisure and hospitality, other services, and local government education were partially offset by employment declines in temporary help services and in couriers and messengers
The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for February was revised up by 68,000, from +468,000 to +536,000, and the change for March was revised down by 146,000, from +916,000 to +770,000.  With these revisions, employment in February and March combined is 78,000 lower 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 May 7th, 2021, the BLS published the most recent unemployment rate for April 2021 of 6.1% (actually, it is 6.095% up by 0.047% from 6.048% in March.

The unemployment rate was determined by dividing the unemployed of 9,812,000

(–up from the month before by 102,000—since April 2020, this number has decreased by 13,297,000) by the total civilian labor force of 160,988,000 (up by 430,000 from March 2020).  Since April 2020, our total civilian labor force has increased by 4,510,000 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 261,103,000.  This is an increase of 100,000 from last month’s increase of 85,000.  In one year, this population has increased by 1,207,000.  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 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
Up from October 2018by194,000
Up from September 2018by224,000
Up from August 2018by224,000
Up from July 2018by223,000
Up from June 2018by201,000
Up from May 2018by188,000
Up from April 2018by182,000

This month the BLS has increased the Civilian Labor Force to 160,988,000 (up from March by 430,000, mainly due to the continuing slow reopening of the economy).

Subtract the second number (‘civilian labor force’) from the first number (‘civilian noninstitutional population’) and you get 100,115,000 ‘Not in Labor Force’—down by 330,000 from last month’s 100,445,000.  In one year, this NILF population has decreased by 3,303,000.  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—rose to 61.7%.  This ‘reopening’ rate is .7% 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 April was 3.0% (this rate was .1% lower than last month’s 3.1%).  Or you can look at it another way.  We usually place people who have college degrees.  That unemployment rate in April was3.5% (this rate was .2% lower than last month’s 3.7%).

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 April 29th, the US Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) announced the real gross domestic product (GDP) increased at an annual rate of 6.4% in the first quarter of 2021, according to the “advance” estimate.   In the fourth quarter of 2020, real GDP increased 4.3%.

The increase in real GDP in the first quarter reflected increases in personal consumption expenditures (PCE), nonresidential fixed investment, federal government spending, residential fixed investment, and state and local government spending that were partly offset by decreases in private inventory investment and exports.  Imports, which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP, increased.

The GDP estimate is based on source data that are incomplete or subject to further revision by the source agency. The “second” estimate for the first quarter, based on more complete data, will be released on May 27, 2021.

COVID-19 Impact on the First Quarter 2021 GDP Estimate

The increase in first quarter GDP reflected the continued economic recovery, reopening of establishments, and continued government response related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the first quarter, government assistance payments, such as direct economic impact payments, expanded unemployment benefits, and Paycheck Protection Program loans, were distributed to households and businesses through the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act and the American Rescue Plan Act.

The full economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic cannot be quantified in the GDP estimate for the first quarter of 2021 because the impacts are generally embedded in source data and cannot be separately identified.

The increase in PCE reflected increases in durable goods (led by motor vehicles and parts), nondurable goods (led by food and beverages) and services (led by food services and accommodations).

The increase in nonresidential fixed investment reflected increases in equipment (led by information processing equipment) and intellectual property products (led by software).

The increase in federal government spending primarily reflected an increase in payments made to banks for processing and administering the Paycheck Protection Program loan applications as well as purchases of COVID-19 vaccines for distribution to the public.

The decrease in private inventory investment primarily reflected a decrease in retail trade inventories.

Annual Update of the National Economic Accounts

BEA will release results from the 2021 annual update of the National Economic Accounts, which includes the National Income and Product Accounts (NIPAs) as well as the Industry Economic Accounts, later this year.

Results from the annual update of the NIPAs will be released on July 29, 2021, along with the advance estimate of GDP for the second quarter of 2021.

Results from the annual update of the Industry Economic Accounts will be released on September 30, 2021, along with the third estimate of GDP for the second quarter of 2021.

The update of the National Economic Accounts will cover the first quarter of 1999 through the first quarter of 2021 and will result in revisions to GDP, GDP by Industry, and gross domestic income.

*          *          *

Next release, May 27, 2021 at 8:30 A.M. EDT
Gross Domestic Product, First Quarter 2021 (Second Estimate)


‘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 April “management, professional and related” types of worker category, you will find the following rates:

April 2020                   7.7%

April 2019                   1.6%

April 2018                   1.8%

April 2017                   2.0%

April 2016                   2.1%

April 2015                   2.4%

April 2014                   2.9%

April 2013                   3.5%

April 2012                   3.7%

April 2011                   4.0%

April 2010                   4.5%

April 2009                   4.0%

April 2008                   2.0%

April 2007                   1.8%

April 2006                   1.9%

April 2005                   2.2%

April 2004                   2.6%

April 2003                   2.9%

April 2002                   2.7%

April 2001                   2.1%

April 2000                   1.7%

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

April 2020                   8.4%

April 2019                   2.1%

April 2018                   2.1%

April 2017                   2.4%

April 2016                   2.4%

April 2015                   2.7%

April 2014                   3.3%

April 2013                   3.9%                                       

April 2012                   4.0%

April 2011                   4.5%

April 2010                   4.8%

April 2009                   4.4%

April 2008                   2.1%

April 2007                   1.8%

April 2006                   2.2%

April 2005                   2.4%

April 2004                   2.9%

April 2003                   3.1%

April 2002                   3.0%

April 2001                   2.2%

April 2000                   1.6%

The April 2021 rates for these two categories, 3.0% and 3.5%, 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