BLS Analysis for Recruiters – April 2023

Bob Marshall’s April 2023 BLS Analysis for Recruiters;


April BLS Preface

TBMG Coaching Updates and Product News:

Time to engage 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 (and for those of you who have tried a coach and it just didn’t work out), now may be the time to pick a coach who molds the training around the recruiter and not the recruiter around the training.  In Coaching, as in Life, Flexibility is Key!

When considering ‘individual change management’, think of the theosophical proverb, “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear!”  Only you can come to that decision point.  If you are ready, so am I.

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.”

Football legend, Vince Lombardi said it best, “Some people try to find things in this game that don’t exist, but football is only two things – blocking and tackling.”  It doesn’t sound very sexy, but it is what it is.  Likewise, Recruitment is only two things – marketing and recruiting.  It’s as simple as that.  Don’t try to over-think this thing.  It reminds me of the old saying that you shouldn’t try to put lipstick on a pig…it doesn’t work, and it annoys the pig!

Daily we have the ability to learn great lessons.  And one of the primary ones is to not deviate from your strengths.  There are many ways to be successful at what you do as long as you rely on your strengths!  No matter what fancy alternatives are presented to you to replace picking up the phone and speaking into it, the ‘classic’ direct marketing call wins every time.  The Classics are the classics for a reason.  They have worked in the past, are working in the present and will continue to work in the future.  Follow the classics to top production!  Choose one of the coaching plans below:

3-month, Platinum Plan

This is a 3-month commitment plan.  In this plan, I will put in place all of the tools that you will need to become a profitable recruiter.  My five major products (training manual, daily planner, QRG, forms and the ‘Classics’ audio series) are included in this selection.  We will have a meeting, up to one hour, once per week and I will be available to continually work with you and answer your questions on a weekly, basis.  Admission into the Illuminati Think Tank series is included, with access to select recordings.

1-month, Gold Plan

This is a month-to-month plan.  In this plan, I will be available to you for four hours to be parceled out as you choose during a 4-week period.  Admission into the Illuminati Think Tank series is included.

Every other week, Silver Plan

This is a month-to-month plan.  In this plan, I will be available to you for 2 separate meetings, up to one hour, to be parceled out every other week to be used within a 4-week period.  Admission into the Illuminati Think Tank series is included.

Hourly, Bronze Plan

This is an ‘a la carte’ hourly plan.  Call for details and availability.

Our new TBMG Training Program:



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.

CEO Confidence Slips, Top Execs Prepare for Brief and Shallow Recession

Daily News, May 4, 2023

The Conference Board Measure of CEO Confidence for the second quarter declined slightly after improving sharply at the beginning of the year, with CEOs preparing for a brief and shallow recession in the US.

The measure fell to a reading of 42 this quarter, down from 43 in the first quarter of the year, suggesting that CEOs continue to hold pessimistic views about the economic situation as readings below 50 reflect more negative than positive responses.

Similar to last quarter, 93% of CEOs surveyed for the report still say they are preparing for a US recession over the next 12 to 18 months, while 87% believe the recession will be brief and shallow with limited global spillovers and 6% expect a deep recession.

“After improving sharply to start the year, CEO confidence ticked down slightly in Q2 and remains firmly in negative territory,” said Dana Peterson, chief economist of The Conference Board.

Peterson noted CEOs’ view of current economic conditions continued to be negative, with 55% of CEOs still reporting general economic conditions are worse than they were six months ago.

“Meanwhile, future expectations deteriorated in Q2: 56% of CEOs expect general economic conditions to worsen over the next six months, while 40% expect worse conditions in their own industry — up from 48% and 33%, respectively, in Q1,” Peterson said. 

In other findings:

  • 33% of CEOs expect to expand their workforce over the next 12 months, down from 37% in the first-quarter survey, while 20% expect a net reduction in their workforce and 46% expect little change.
  • 52% of CEOs said some problems attracting qualified workers somewhat improved compared to 57% reported in the first quarter
  • Regarding wages, 75% of CEOs expect to increase wages by 3% or more over the next year, down from 81% in the fourth quarter.

The survey for the report included responses from 139 CEOs and was conducted between April 10 and April 24.

Measure of US Manufacturing Sector Contracts in April: ISM

Daily News, May 1, 2023

Economic activity in the US manufacturing sector contracted in April for the 6th consecutive month, according to the Institute for Supply Management’s Manufacturing ISM Report on Business released today.

Its Manufacturing PMI purchasing managers index rose to a reading of 47.1% in April — an improvement from the reading of 46.3% in March. However, readings below 50% generally indicate a contraction.

“This is the 6th month of contraction and continuation of a downward trend that began in June 2022,” said Timothy Fiore, chair of the Institute for Supply Management Manufacturing Business Survey Committee. “Of the 5 subindexes that directly factor into the Manufacturing PMI, only one (Employment) is in growth territory.”

The measure of employment registered a reading of 50.2% in April, up from March’s reading of 46.9%.

“For the 2nd straight month, labor management sentiment at panelists’ companies reflects near parity between hiring and staffing reductions,” Fiori said. “Turnover rates declined in April, recording the lowest levels since measurements began in mid-2021. For those companies increasing their head counts, comments continue to support an improving hiring environment.”

The Manufacturing PMI is based on data compiled from purchasing and supply executives across the US.

More Than Half Say Returning to the Office will Hurt Their Mental Health: Korn Ferry

Daily News, April 26, 2023

As employers enforce the return-to-office mandate, 58% of workers say going back to the office will have a negative impact on their mental health, according to a survey by Korn Ferry. In addition, nearly two-thirds of professionals surveyed, 62%, said their employer is mandating a return to the office.

“What we’re finding is that while employers are increasingly requiring workers to return to the office, they are offering flexibility in not mandating being in the office full time,” said Flo Falayi, associate client partner at Korn Ferry. “There are some positive aspects to being face-to-face, and if employees are given the trust to operate in a hybrid environment, they will thrive.”

The report found that 72% of workers would take a lower salary if they could work from home. The top reason employees want to work remotely includes avoiding the hassle of getting ready and commuting to the office, cited by 61%. In addition, 84% of respondents said they are more productive working from home, and 92% said the boss is more interested in having workers return to the office than the workers themselves.

Of those who said employers are mandating a return to office, 38% noted they would be required to be in-office three days per week. Meanwhile, 42% of workers said the best part about returning is socializing with colleagues.

The Korn Ferry survey of professionals took place in late March.

Heidrick Q1 Net Revenue Down 13.7%, but Acquisitions Push Revenue Up in On-Demand Talent Operations

Daily News, April 25, 2023

Heidrick & Struggles International Inc. reported net revenue fell 13.7% year over year in constant currency to $293,300,000; it noted an overall slowdown in the economy.

The Chicago-based provider of executive search, on-demand talent and consulting had anticipated the slowdown, and it expects to see some continued volatility in its markets, President, and CEO Krishnan Rajagopalan said.

“Importantly, we continued to advance our diversification strategy with the acquisition of businessfourzero to augment our Heidrick Consulting offering as well as the ongoing integration of Atreus into our on-demand talent platform,” Rajagopalan said.

Looking at executive search, Heidrick had 432 executive search consultants at the end of the first quarter compared to 394 at the end of the year-ago quarter. Revenue per consultant was $1,800,000 compared to $2,500,000 a year ago.

In the company’s on-demand talent division, revenue rose primarily due to its acquisition of Atreus, but the increase was partially offset by a lower volume in legacy on-demand projects.

Revenue in Heidrick’s consulting business, meanwhile, rose by 2.5% in constant currency. The company noted it had 78 consultants at the end of the first quarter compared to 70 at the end of the first quarter of last year.

50% of Healthcare Workers Feel Undervalued, with More Than 40% Considering Leaving Their Jobs

Daily News, April 24, 2023

Nearly 50% of healthcare workers feel undervalued as employees, with more than 40% considering leaving their jobs for better pay, work-life balance or feeling burned out, according to the Keep Financial’s Healthcare Attrition Report released today.

However, the report also found 85% of respondents would accept an upfront cash bonus, beyond existing compensation, in exchange for staying with their company for a specified period.

Top reasons for healthcare workers considering leaving their jobs include a need for better pay (56%), feeling undervalued (49%), burnout (46%), better opportunities (36%) and improved work-life balance (33%). 

The report noted this is a significant industry challenge as nearly two-thirds of workers who feel undervalued are considering leaving their company in the next year.

If healthcare organizations addressed this retention challenge with upfront cash bonuses, healthcare workers said their financial priorities would be paying off debt (39%), saving for retirement (38%), investing (27%) and setting up an emergency fund (24%).

“We all know the past few years put an extreme strain on an already overextended healthcare system,” Keep Financial founder and CEO Rob Frohwein said. “With the increase in mobility, decrease in geographical commitment and a recognition by many health professionals of the unnecessary overwhelming stress of their roles, we’ve hit the epidemic stage of professional shortages.”

Frohwein continued, “Even still, the industry demands these professionals deliver the highest level of patient care possible. Something has to give, and we believe a more innovative solution is necessary.”

The report includes responses from 300 healthcare workers.

Economy and Employment Slow, but NABE Report also says Inflation Easing

Daily News, April 24, 2023

Easing economic growth is seen ahead, and employment growth is slowest since 2020, but inflation is cooling, according to the “April 2023 NABE Business Conditions Survey” of businesses economists released today by the National Association for Business Economics.

“The panel’s overall view is that inflation is continuing to ease,” said Carlos Herrera, NABE Business Conditions Survey chair and chief economist, Coca-Cola North America. “Forty percent of respondents report that prices charged are rising — down from 46% who held this view in the January 2023 survey and 49% from a year ago. However, the panel believes that there is more work to be done against inflation as the share of panelists expecting prices to rise in the next three months moved higher.”

Panelists’ views are nearly evenly split on the probability that the US economy will enter a recession in the next 12 months; 44% of panelists indicated more than 50% probability, while 53% suggested less than or about 50% probability of a recession in the next year.

The survey also found that 15% of respondents said employment had been rising at their firms over the past three months, while 15% said it had been falling — subtracting the number of those shedding staff from those adding workers results in a net rising index of zero. That’s the lowest net rising index since the July 2020 and October 2020 surveys. For the month of January, 25% of firms had added staff while 10% reduced staff for a net rising index of 15.

Meanwhile, 15% of respondents anticipate employment will rise at their firms over the next three months with 19% anticipating it will fall for a net rising index of negative four. Still, that’s improved from the negative seven net rising index in the January survey.

The percentage of respondents reporting shortages in skilled labor decreased to 33%, down from 40% in January, while 11% reported shortages of unskilled labor.

In a special question, the survey asked, “If your company is facing labor shortages, when do you expect those shortages will start to abate?” Close to half of respondents, 45%, reported that their firms are not facing any labor shortages; 11% indicated that any such shortages have already started to abate and 7% said the shortages would abate in the second quarter. However, 22% expect labor shortages to start to abate in the fourth quarter of 2023 or later.

In addition, for the third consecutive survey, 63% reported rising wages at their firms over the past three months. No respondent reported falling wages over the past three months, and none expects wages to fall over the next three months. However, 43% of respondents expect their firms’ wages to rise in the next three months — the smallest share since the October 2020 survey.

The April 2023 NABE Business Conditions Survey included 55 business economists and was conducted from April 4 to April 12.

Employment Trends Index Slips in March, but Economy Still Adding Jobs Where Labor Shortages Remain: The Conference Board

Daily News, April 10, 2023

The Conference Board’s Employment Trends Index declined in March to a reading of 116.24, down from a downwardly revised reading of 116.75 in February. 

“The ETI declined slightly in February but remains quite high, with minimal changes over the past year,” said Selcuk Eren, senior economist at The Conference Board. “Job losses are concentrated in specific industries. Overall, the economy continues to add jobs in industries where labor shortages remain, and wage growth remains above its pre-pandemic rate.”

Eren noted there are expectations the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates 2 more times by 25 basis points each to control wage growth and inflation.

“That will trigger job losses and increased unemployment in the second half of 2023 and early part of 2024,” Eren said. “The labor market remains tight, although it has cooled down somewhat from a year ago. On the demand side, the job openings rate is still well above the pre-pandemic trend but is declining. On the supply side, the labor force continues to grow and reached 166.7 million in March as a result of rising labor force participation and a rebound in immigration to its long-term trend.”

March’s decrease in the Employment Trends Index was driven by negative contributions from five of eight components. The ratio of involuntarily part-time to all part-time workers was the largest negative contributor, followed by the number of employees hired by the temporary-help industry, industrial production, initial claims for unemployment insurance, and job openings.

The Employment Trends Index aggregates eight leading indicators of employment; when the index increases, employment is likely to grow as well, and vice versa.

Job Postings for Technology Positions Reach Highest Level in 7 Months: CompTIA

Daily News, April 10, 2023

Employer job postings for tech positions rose by 76,546 month over month in March to a total of 316,000 — representing the highest level of employer hiring activity in 7 months, CompTIA reported.

“As a forward-looking indicator, the rebound in employer tech job postings is a notable positive,” said Tim Herbert, chief research officer at CompTIA. “While caution is in order given the state of uncertainty, the data suggests segments of employers may be stepping back into the tech talent market.”

CompTIA also found that tech industry employment — which includes all workers employed by technology companies — fell by an estimated 839 jobs in March. However, technology employment at companies of all types rose by 197,000 jobs, according to CompTIA’s estimate of data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics released Friday.

Markets across the country saw increases in employer job postings for tech positions, led by New York City, Chicago, San Francisco, Atlanta and Charlotte, North Carolina. The jump in hiring activity also extended to cities such as Arlington, Virginia; Huntsville, Alabama; and Plano, Texas. Among states, California, Virginia, Texas and Maryland recorded the largest month-over-month increases in tech jobs postings.

Positions for software developers and engineers accounted for the largest share of job postings in March, but employers are also in the market for IT support specialists, systems engineers and analysts, IT project managers and cybersecurity analysts and engineers.

ADP National Employment Report: Over 83% of New Job Creations Comes From Small & Medium Establishments.  Private Sector Employment Increased by 296,000 Jobs in April; Annual Pay was Up 6.7%

ROSELAND, N.J. – May 3, 2023

Private sector employment increased by 296,000 jobs in April and annual pay was up 6.7% year-over-year, according to the April ADP® National Employment ReportTM produced by the ADP Research Institute® in collaboration with the Stanford Digital Economy Lab (“Stanford Lab”).

The jobs report and pay insights use ADP’s fine-grained anonymized and aggregated payroll data of over 25,00,000 U.S. employees to provide a representative picture of the labor market.

The report details the current month’s total private employment change, and weekly job data from the previous month. ADP’s pay measure uniquely captures the earnings of a cohort of almost 10,000,000 employees over a 12-month period.

* Sum of components may not equal total, due to rounding. The March total of jobs added was revised from 145,000 to 142,000.

“The slowdown in pay growth gives the clearest signal of what’s going on in the labor market right now,” said Nela Richardson, chief economist, ADP. “Employers are hiring aggressively while holding pay gains in check as workers come off the sidelines. Our data also shows fewer people are switching jobs.”


Private employers added 296,000 jobs in April. Last month brought a burst of hiring even as pay gains for job changers slowed dramatically.

Change in U.S. Private Employment: 296,000

Change by Industry Sector

Goods-producing: 67,000

Natural resources/mining 52,000

Construction 53,000

Manufacturing -38,000

Service-providing: 229,000

Trade/transportation/utilities 32,000

Information 2,000

Financial activities -28,000

Professional/business services -16,000

Education/health services 69,000

Leisure/hospitality 154,000

Other services 16,000

Change by U.S. Regions

Northeast: 159,000

New England 54,000

Middle Atlantic 105,000

Midwest: 118,000

East North Central 69,000

West North Central 49,000

South: -100,000

South Atlantic -28,000

East South Central -44,000

West South Central -28,000

West: 109,000

Mountain -7,000

Pacific 116,000

Change by Establishment Size

Small establishments: 121,000

1-19 employees 14,000

20-49 employees 107,000

Medium establishments: 122,000

50-249 employees 95,000

250-499 employees 27,000

Large establishments: 47,000

500+ employees 47,000


Pay gains slowed rapidly in April

Pay growth continued its nearly year-long slowdown.

Job changers in particular saw a dramatic decline, with pay slowing from 14.2% growth to 13.2%, the slowest pace of growth since November 2021.

Median Change in Annual Pay (ADP matched person sample)

Job-Stayers 6.7%

Job-Changers 13.2%

Median Change in Annual Pay for Job-Stayers by Industry Sector


Natural resources/mining 6.8%

Construction 6.9%

Manufacturing 6.2%


Trade/transportation/utilities 6.6%

Information 6.0%

Financial activities 6.7%

Professional/business services 6.3%

Education/health services 7.0%

Leisure/hospitality 8.9%

Other services 6.5%

Median Change in Annual Pay for Job-Stayers by Firm Size

Small firms:

1-19 employees 5.5%

20-49 employees 6.7%

Medium firms:

50-249 employees 6.9%

250-499 employees 6.8%

Large firms:

500+ employees 6.8%

The May 2023 ADP National Employment Report will be released at 8:15 a.m. ET on June 1, 2023.

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 included in your niche!

Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary – March 2023

May 2, 2023     

The number of job openings decreased to 9,600,000 on the last business day of March, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Over the month, the number of hires and total separations were little changed at 6,100,000 and 5,900,000, respectively. Within separations, quits (3,900,000) changed little, while layoffs and discharges (1,800,000) increased. This release includes estimates of the number and rate of job openings, hires, and separations for the total nonfarm sector, by industry, and by establishment size class.

Job Openings

On the last business day of March, the number of job openings decreased to 9,600,000

(-384,000) and was 1,600,000 lower than in December. The job openings rate was 5.8% in March and was down by 1.0% since December. In March, job openings decreased in transportation, warehousing, and utilities (-144,000) but increased in educational services (+28,000).


In March, the number of hires was little changed at 6,100,000, and the rate held at 4.0%. Hires decreased in real estate and rental and leasing (-29,000).


Total separations include 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 include separations due to retirement, death, disability, and transfers to other locations of the same firm.

The number of total separations changed little at 5,900,000 in March, and the rate was 3.8% for the 4th month in a row. Over the month, the number of total separations decreased in accommodation and food services (-107,000) but increased in construction (+104,000).

In March, the number and rate of quits changed little at 3,900,000 and 2.5%, respectively. The number of quits decreased in accommodation and food services (-178,000).

In March, the number and rate of layoffs and discharges increased to 1,800,000 (+248,000) and 1.2%, respectively. Layoffs and discharges increased in construction (+112,000), accommodation and food services (+63,000), and health care and social assistance (+42,000).

The number of other separations was little changed in March at 276,000. Other separations decreased in finance and insurance (-31,000) and in real estate and rental and leasing (-7,000).

Establishment Size Class

In March, establishments with 1 to 9 employees saw a decrease in their job openings rate and an increase in their layoffs and discharges rate. Establishments with more than 5,000 employees saw little change in their job openings, hires, and total separations rates.


The Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey estimates for April 2023 are scheduled to be released on Wednesday, May 31, 2023, at 10:00 a.m. (ET).

As we recruiters know, that 9,600,000 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 9,600,000 published job openings now become a total of 48,000,000 published AND hidden job orders.



Online Labor Demand Rises in March

April 19, 2023

The Conference Board−Lightcast Help Wanted OnLine® (HWOL) Index rose in March to 170.1 (July 2018=100), up from 167.9 in February. The 1.3% increase between February and March follows a 1.7% decrease between January and February. However, the Index is down 7.3% overall from one year ago.

The Conference Board-Lightcast Help Wanted OnLine® (HWOL) Index measures the change in advertised online job vacancies over time, reflecting monthly trends in employment opportunities across the US. The Help Wanted OnLine® Index is produced in collaboration with Lightcast (formerly Emsi Burning Glass), the global leader in real-time labor market data and analysis. This 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-Lightcast 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, Lightcast (formerly Emsi Burning Glass) joined the Help Wanted OnLine® program as the new sole provider of online job ad data for HWOL. With this 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. Founded in 1916, we are a non-partisan, not-for-profit entity holding 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt status in the United States.

About Lightcast

As the global leader in labor market analytics, Lightcast illuminates the future of work with data-driven talent strategies. Formerly Emsi Burning Glass, Lightcast finds purpose in sharing the insights that build communities, educators, and companies, and takes pride in knowing our work helps others find fulfillment, too. Headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts, and Moscow, Idaho, Lightcast is active in more than 30 countries and has offices in the United Kingdom, Italy, New Zealand, and India. Lightcast is backed by global private equity leader KKR.

The next release for April 2023 is Wednesday, May 10, 2023, at 10 AM

U-6 Update

In April 2023, the regular unemployment rate edged down to 3.4% and the broader U-6 measure edged down to 6.6%.

The above 6.6% 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 20 years:

April                2022                7.0%

April                2021                10.3%

April                2020                22.9%

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 2023 BLS Analysis

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 253,000 in April and the unemployment rate edged down to 3.4%, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.  Employment continued to trend up in professional and business services, health care, leisure and hospitality, and social assistance.

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for February was revised down by 78,000, from +326,000 to +248,000, and the change for March was revised down by 71,000, from +236,000 to +165,000. With these revisions, employment in February and March combined is 149,000 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 5th, 2023, the BLS published the most recent unemployment rate for April 2023 of 3.4% (actually, it is 3.394%, down .108% from 3.502% in March.

The unemployment rate was determined by dividing the unemployed of 5,657,000

(–down from the month before by 182,000—since April 2022, this number has decreased by 311,000) by the total civilian labor force of 166,688,000 (down by 43,000 from March 2023).  Since April 2022, our total civilian labor force has increased by 2,738,000 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 266,433,000.  This is an increase of 171,000 from last month’s increase of 160,000.  In one year, this population has increased by 2,884,000.  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 2023by171,000
Up from February 2023by160,000
Up from January 2023by150,000
Up from December 2022by1,118,000
Up from November 2022by136,000
Up from October 2022by173,000
Up from September 2022by179,000
Up from August 2022by172,000
Up from July 2022by172,000
Up from June 2022by177,000
Up from May 2022by156,000
Up from April 2022by120,000
Up from March 2022by115,000
Up from February 2022by120,000
Up from January 2022by122,000
Up from December 2021by1,066,000
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

Subtract the ‘civilian labor force’ from the ‘civilian noninstitutional population’) and you get 99,755,000 ‘Not in Labor Force’—up by 214,000 from last month’s 99,541,000.  In one year, this NILF population has increased by 146,000.  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 62.6%.  This rate is .2% higher than 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 1.6% (this rate was .3% 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 April was also1.9% (this rate was .1% lower than last month’s 2.0%).

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 27th, 2023, the real gross domestic product (GDP) increased at an annual rate of 1.1% in the first quarter of 2022, according to the “advance” estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the fourth quarter, real GDP increased 2.6%.

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

The increase in consumer spending reflected increases in both goods and services. Within goods, the leading contributor was motor vehicles and parts. Within services, the increase was led by health care and food services and accommodations. Within exports, an increase in goods (led by consumer goods, except food and automotive) was partly offset by a decrease in services (led by transport). Within federal government spending, the increase was led by nondefense spending. The increase in state and local government spending primarily reflected an increase in compensation of state and local government employees. Within nonresidential fixed investment, increases in structures and intellectual property products were partly offset by a decrease in equipment.

The decrease in private inventory investment was led by wholesale trade (notably, machinery, equipment, and supplies) and manufacturing (led by other transportation equipment as well as petroleum and coal products). Within residential fixed investment, the leading contributor to the decrease was new single-family construction. Within imports, the increase reflected an increase in goods (mainly durable consumer goods and automotive vehicles, engines, and parts).

Compared to the fourth quarter, the deceleration in real GDP in the first quarter primarily reflected a downturn in private inventory investment and a slowdown in nonresidential fixed investment. These movements were partly offset by an acceleration in consumer spending, an upturn in exports, and a smaller decrease in residential fixed investment. Imports turned up.

*          *          *

Next release, May 25, 2023, at 8:30 a.m. EDT
Gross Domestic Product (Second Estimate)
Corporate Profits (Preliminary Estimate)
First Quarter 2023


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

April               2022                1,6%

April               2021               3.0%

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               2022                2.0%

April               2021                3.5%

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 2023 rates for these two categories, 1.6% and 1.9%, respectively, are pretty low.  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