BLS Analysis for Recruiters August 2020

Bob Marshall’s August 2020 BLS Analysis for Recruiters; 9/4/20

August BLS Preface

TBMG Coaching Updates and Product News:

Before we start this BLS Analysis for Recruiters, how about some good news for a change!

As many of you are aware, the Stock Market is a good barometer of how business feels about the future of the economy.  Not where we are today, but where we will go in the future.  So, in this report, the DJIA numbers give us hope for the future.  Right now, on Friday, September 4th, at 1 PM eastern time the DJIA is at:

28,292.73 (last month at this time it was at 27,433.340).

Now, to give some perspective, consider these DJIA milestones, when most of us were working:

22,000 barrier was crossed on August 2nd, 2017;

23,000 barrier was crossed on October 18th, 2017;

24,000 barrier was crossed on November 30th, 2017:

25,000 barrier was crossed on January 4th, 2018;

26,000 barrier was crossed on January 17th, 2018;

27,000 barrier was crossed on July 11th, 2019

28,000 barrier was crossed on November 15, 2019

29,000 barrier was crossed on January 10, 2020

29,551.42 was achieved on January 12, 2020

So, considering that the pandemic economic disruption is still with us, this little look to the future, provided by our investors, continues to show a lot of promise!

Launching a new TBMG product:

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

1. “From Failure to Success in Recruitment Sales” – 6-part series – released from Jan. 8, 2019 to Feb. 12, 2019;

2. “John Wooden’s Success Pyramid” – 6-part series – released from Feb. 19, 2019 to Mar. 26, 2019;

3. “Robocruiter and The Total Account Executive” – 11-part series – released from Apr. 23, 2019 to Jul. 9, 2019;

4. “The Opportunity Cost in Not Quitting the Dead Horse Projects” – 11-part series – released from Jul. 16, 2019 to Sep. 24, 2019;

5. “The JOB ORDER” – 6-part series – released from Oct. 1, 2019 to Nov. 5, 2019;

6. “Planning for Your Best Year Ever in 2020 – The ‘Atomic’ Approach” – 7-part series – released from Nov. 13, 2019 to Dec. 31, 2019;

7. “The Importance of Marketing – Facing the Monster” – 13-part series – released from Jan. 28, 2020 to Apr. 21, 2020;

8. “Negotiating Techniques Adapted for the Tenured Recruiter” – 13-part series – released from Apr. 29, 2020 to Jul. 21, 2020.

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.

Insurance Industry Still Plans to Add Staff Over Next 12 Months: Staffing Firm Survey

Daily News, August 31, 2020

The insurance industry is holding up better than others during the pandemic, and 83% of insurance industry executives surveyed plan to either maintain or increase staff in the next 12 months.  That survey was conducted by The Jacobson Group, a Chicago-based staffing provider serving the insurance industry, and Aon plc.

“The insurance industry has proven relatively stable in comparison to the overall economy and insurers continue to compete for top talent,” said Gregory Jacobson, co-chief CEO of Jacobson.

“Recruiting difficulty has not eased during the pandemic and has even increased slightly for most insurance functions,” Jacobson continued.  “Though employment will continue to grow in the next 12 months, it will be at a significantly slower pace.”

It also found that most vacant positions are still moderately difficult to fill and that companies are most likely to increase staffing within their technology functions.

Overall, the survey points to a 0.99% increase in insurance industry employment during the next 12 months.

Workers Divided on Return to Workplace by Age and Gender: ManpowerGroup

Daily News, August 27, 2020

How workers feel about returning to the workplace amid the Covid-19 crisis varies by age and gender, with members of Gen Z most interested in returning to the workplace and men more positive than women about the return, according to a global survey by ManpowerGroup.

Here are some of the findings, according to the report:

*Gen-Z vs. millennials: Members of Gen Z are most keen to return to the workplace to develop their careers and socialize, at 51%.  Meanwhile, millennials are least positive, with only 38% positive about the return.

*Gen X vs. boomers: Gen Xers value being in the workplace to concentrate and collaborate away from household responsibilities.  Boomers choose socializing and collaborating with colleagues, 34%, as top reason to return.

*Gender divide: Almost half of men, 46%, feel positive about returning, while only one-third of women, 35%, feel the same.  Women report feeling more concerned or nervous about the return.  Both men and women rank not having to commute and having flexibility to work when convenient in their top three benefits of working from home.

*Working parents: Men with children list spending time with their family as a top benefit to working remotely.  Women feel more negatively about going back to work, increasing in concern the younger the child: 61% for children 0-5, 53% for children 6-17 and 50% for 18 and up.

ManpowerGroup’s survey included more than 8,000 workers, including furloughed workers, in the US, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Singapore, Spain and the UK.

75% of Employees Report Burnout, with 56% Stating That HR Does Not Encourage Talk About It

Daily News, August 26, 2020

A majority of employees, 75%, say they have experienced burnout at work, and 40% said they are experiencing work burnout during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, according to a survey by FlexJobs and Mental Health America.

It also found that 37% of employees are working longer hours than usual during the pandemic.

On the other hand, only 21% said they were able to have open, productive conversations with HR about fixing their burnout.  In fact, 56% said HR did not encourage conversations about burnout.

The survey took place in late July and included 1,500 respondents.

It noted 76% of respondents were working remotely.

Tips from FlexJobs for remote workers to avoid burnout include:

1.  Develop boundaries.  One of the difficult things about being a remote worker is that you’re never really “away” from your work physically, and you need to develop actual barriers between your work and personal life.  One boundary is to have a dedicated workspace that you can join and leave.  Or, put your laptop in a drawer or closet when you’re done with work.  Start and end your workday with some kind of ritual that signals to your brain it’s time to change from work to personal or vice versa.

2.  Turn off email and work notifications after work hours.  Turning off email when you’re not “at work” is important — you shouldn’t be available all the time.  Let your teammates and manager know when they can expect you.  Let people know your general schedule and when you’re “off the clock” so they aren’t left wondering.

3.  Encourage more personal activities by scheduling them.  Most people struggle with the “work” part of work-life balance.  Schedule personal activities and have several go-to hobbies that you enjoy so you’ll have something specific to do with your personal time.  If you don’t have anything planned, like a hike after work or a puzzle project, you may find it easier to slip back to work unnecessarily.

4.  Ask your boss for flexible scheduling so you can better control your days and balance both your personal and professional responsibilities.

5.  Focus on work during your work time, rather than letting “life” things creep into your work hours too much.  If you’re productive and efficient throughout the day, then at the end of the day it will be easier to walk away feeling accomplished and not be tempted to work into the night to finish what should have been completed during the day.

6.  Take a mental health screen.

One-Third of Companies Will Have Half of Workforce Remote Post-Pandemic, Study Finds

Alexa Lardieri, U.S. News & World Report, August 25, 2020

A study published by human resources consulting firm Mercer found that the number of companies expecting to have half or more of their employees working remotely post the COVID-19 pandemic increased to 1 in 3, compared with 1 in 30 companies that had that many employees working remotely pre-pandemic.

As COVID-19 spread across the globe and companies were forced to rethink how to do business, 72% of companies said they offer flexibility around hours and work scheduling.  Nearly half, 49%, said flexible policies have been implemented on how work is done and what technology is used and 24% said there is flexibility about what activities and tasks are being done.

The study also found that 16% of companies said who does the work, such as contract and/or gig workers, has changed, while 17% of companies say things have stayed the same.

A majority of businesses, 60%, are providing flexibility for caregivers during the pandemic, allowing parents to change their schedules, with 22% allowing parents to temporarily shift their hours to part time.  Additionally, 36% of companies are allowing parents to perform other work that can be done outside of normal business hours.

12% of companies have both allowed parents to take extended leaves of absence with reduced pay and created weekend and evening shifts to provide more flexibility.  9% of companies, according to Mercer’s survey, have begun to provide new or enhanced childcare benefits.

Despite shifting hours and duties, nearly all companies, 90%, said that productivity has remained the same or actually improved since employees began working remotely.

60% of Companies Have Hired Employees Since Pandemic Began

ValuePenguin, Tamara E. Holmes, August 21, 2020

Rising unemployment numbers and small business shutdowns have captured their fair share of headlines during the pandemic, yet a majority of companies have done some hiring since the coronavirus outbreak began.

While companies have faced a multitude of challenges in the last few months — such as keeping employees safe and finding ways to interact with customers while practicing social distancing — 60% of businesses have hired at least one new employee, according to a survey of employees and human resources professionals by The Manifest, a small business website.

However, the survey suggests that companies may have to be proactive about meeting employees’ needs to ensure they stick around.

Hiring happening for the long term during the pandemic

The pandemic has forced many businesses to retool, with some investing in infrastructure and other resources to help their businesses weather the storm. Bringing in new workers is one way that some companies are doing that. In fact, nearly half of the businesses surveyed that have hired employees during the pandemic — 46% — said they have added 10 or more new workers.

For the most part, these new hires aren’t being brought in just for the short-term.  Of the HR professionals surveyed:

With news reports broadcasting that many companies are anticipating layoffs in the months ahead as a result of the pandemic, some employees may be reluctant to leave their current jobs in search of greener pastures if they already have a job secured.  To that point, only 3% of companies surveyed said they expect more than one-third of their workers to leave in the next 12 months.

Employers must address employee concerns to keep them around

Though employees may be looking to their employers as a source of economic stability in the months ahead, the survey suggests that employee dissatisfaction may prompt some to leave their jobs.

The workforce has seen a dramatic shift to remote working since the pandemic began.  Some companies are even considering having employees work remotely after the pandemic ends.  However, not all employees have embraced the shift. In fact, an earlier survey found that 55% were working longer hours during the pandemic, which could make it difficult to balance professional responsibilities with parenting and other personal obligations.

The Manifest survey underscored how important it is for employers to help their workers achieve and maintain work-life balance.  Among the HR professionals surveyed, more than one-third — 37% — said they believe some employees will leave the company within the next year because of their inability to find balance in their personal and professional lives.

Methodology: The Manifest surveyed 234 employees in August 2020, as well as 505 human resources managers. The employees polled represented all areas of the country, with 34% from the South, 29% from the Midwest, 22% from the West and 14% from the Northeast. Among the HR representatives surveyed, 35% were from the South, 24% from the Midwest, 19% from the West and 18% from the Northeast.

Firms Plan Upticks in Employee Pay, Bonuses Despite Economy: Survey

Daily News, August 18, 2020

Most US companies plan to give employees pay raises and annual bonuses next year despite the economic fallout from the pandemic, according to a survey of more than 1,000 employers conducted by Willis Towers Watson.

The survey found companies are projecting average salary increases of 2.8% for all employees in 2021, including exempt, non-management, and management employees; the increase is 2.7% for nonexempt salaried and hourly employees as well as executives.

Companies granted employees increases between 2.5% and 2.7% this year, below the 3% companies had budgeted before the pandemic hit.  Salary increases have hovered around 3% for the past decade.  Only 7% of companies are not planning pay increases next year, down significantly from 14% this year, an indication that many organizations are projecting a turn toward normalcy in 2021.

The hard-hit healthcare and retail industries are projecting a slight bump but still fall shy of pre-pandemic levels with salary increases projected to average 2.6% and 2.8%, respectively.  The insurance and nondurable goods industries expect above-average increases of 2.9% and 3.0%, respectively.

“This has been the most challenging compensation planning year for many companies since the Great Recession,” said Catherine Hartmann, North America Rewards practice leader at Willis Towers Watson.  “However, unlike then, companies have been hit differently depending on their industry, the nature of how work gets done and the type of talent they need.”

The survey also found companies continue to reward star performers with significantly larger pay raises than average-performing employees.  Employees receiving the highest possible rating were granted an average increase of 4.7% this year, 68% higher than the 2.8% increase granted to those receiving an average rating.

Three-quarters of companies, 76%, are planning to award annual performance bonuses next year, roughly the same percentage as this year.  Bonuses are projected to average 11% of salary for exempt employees, while bonuses for nonexempt salaried and hourly employees will average around 6.8% and 5.6%, respectively.

The Willis Towers Watson Data Services General Industry Salary Budget Survey was conducted between April and July 2020.  It includes responses from 1,010 companies representing a cross section of industries.

61% of Professional Workers More Worried About Economy Than Virus; 48% Surprised Pandemic is Still Critical

Daily News, August 14, 2020

A majority of professionals, 61%, say they are more worried about the economic fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic than the virus itself, according a survey of 1,064 professional workers by Korn Ferry.

In addition, 48% say they are surprised the pandemic is still at a critical stage, and 60% say it is more difficult to concentrate on work now than at the beginning of the crisis.

When asked why it is difficult to concentrate, 45% said they are dealing with too many responsibilities, and 31% say they are overwhelmed with the pandemic and issues surrounding it.  However, working from home was cited by only 9% as a cause.

“With all of the social unrest, health concerns, and economic issues being thrown at us right now, it’s no surprise many feel overwhelmed,” said Dennis Baltzley, Korn Ferry’s global solution head for leadership development.

Korn Ferry also found that 67% say they are busier at work now than before the pandemic.  And only 2% say they plan to take a vacation.

The survey took place in late July.

14 Ways Artificial Intelligence Will Disrupt Job Searches and Recruiting

Forbes Coaches Council, August 10, 2020

Hiring top tier talent is a challenge in itself. Retaining them as long-term assets to your company can be even more difficult.

The good news is, there are ever-evolving technological advances that can help hiring managers meet these challenges. The rise of artificial intelligence, for instance, offers huge potential for a company’s hiring and recruiting processes.

We asked the experts of Forbes Coaches Council how they see AI disrupting the job search and recruiting industry. Below, 14 members share their thoughts and predictions about the role of AI in hiring.

Forbes Coaches Council members share their thoughts on how AI may impact current and future hiring.

1. Predictive Analytics For Workforce Planning

AI has the inherent capability to curate the skills and competencies of candidates and integrate predictive analytics in recruiting. This will allow employers to leverage AI to recruit with foresight, synthesizing the growth and development of the potential employee to the organizational succession plan with the understanding that workforce KPIs are the leading indicators of resulting business success. – Dr. Kasthuri Henry, PhD, Six Sigma Black BeltKasHenry Inc

2. Entry-Level Candidate Screening

I expect to see AI as the new face of hiring for entry-level positions. The job market is competitive for recent grads and the number of applicants vying for a single position can be well into the hundreds. AI programs can conduct virtual interviews and make snap decisions on potential candidates much faster than any HR manager. Grads will have to impress AI before a recruiter. – Ashlee AndersonWork From Home Happiness

3. Employee Mood and Mindset Monitoring

For retaining top talent, AI can be used to monitor publicly available information to help monitor the mood and mindset of employees. For recruiters, AI can be used to discover a key candidate’s personal cell number or personal email, which is many times harder than finding their business phone number and email. AI can intelligently locate and analyze this information quickly and automatically. – Steven PfrenzingerSelf-Awareness Mastery

4. Fine-Tuning Employer Reach

I can see AI fine-tuning the reach of employers to find, attract and retain exceptionally diverse talent throughout their organizations, particularly at the leadership level. Since personal connections and networks are still a powerful (and often preferred) way to fill desirable positions, AI can bring more diversity, specifically across race, gender and age, to the attention of more employers. – Carol Parker WalshCarol Parker Walsh Consulting, LLC

5. Culture Fit Identification

The key to both recruiting and retaining great talent is developing and communicating a purpose-driven organizational culture and innovation environment. Traditionally, this was communicated in job postings and during the interview process. Now, AI can also help to identify candidates with strong person-job fit and person-organization fit during the recruitment, screening and selection process. – Jonathan H. Westover, Ph.DHuman Capital Innovations, LLC

6. Executive Headhunting

AI will remove the traditional executive search functions and see an end to the leverage that search firms had in the past. With AI becoming more sophisticated and being able to present more candidates to organizations with a specific search for a job match, headhunters would be put out of a job. AI would be more cost-effective, however, some job matches are still best found through relationships. – Jedidiah Alex KohCoaching Changes Lives

7. Removing Human Participation In The Initial Screening

AI has made great strides in candidate interviewing and applicant resume segmentation. We will see an even greater shift toward removing any remaining human participation in the initial selection and review element in large corporations. The world is changing and there are many elements to consider, but tech is constantly rising to meet those challenges and make the initial steps hands-off. – Laura DeCarlo, Career Directors International 

8. Improved Diversity And Inclusion

AI has been making extraordinary progress in many areas, none more so, perhaps, than in human talent and recruitment. There are a number of hopes that AI will allow for a much “fairer” diverse and inclusive view of a candidate’s potential by trying to eliminate some of the core unconscious biases that can sometimes arise. So far, the results are quite promising, but there is still much that needs to be studied – Ash VarmaVarma & Associates

9. New Opportunities For Coaching Job Seekers

I actually see AI opening up a whole new coaching industry targeted at job seekers on how to best pass the initial AI screening process. From passing the AI screen, preparing for virtual interviews and preparing for final round interviews to negotiating compensation, job seekers will need to learn how to deploy multiple tactics to increase their probability of making it to the final interview. – Karan RhodesShockingly Different Leadership

10. More Transparent Hiring Process Updates

A bot that tells candidates exactly where they are at any point in the process would be a game-changer. Sadly, most AI products out there tend to alienate candidates rather than engage them. – Cara HeilmannReady Reset Go

11. Faster Shortlisting

AI will bring a faster way to shortlist candidates for interviews. AI can search their CV, history and social media to verify employment and experience. AI can also search for cultural fit to confirm that there are no prior statements that could come back to embarrass both the organization or prospective candidate. AI can fast-track procedural tasks and searches but can’t replace the interview—yet! – Kevin KanBreak Out Consulting Asia

12. Data-Backed Support For Gut Feelings

As many organizations across the globe are using AI as a decision-making tool for retaining and evaluating talent, the data would make this approach more robust, which can complement the gut feelings of the recruiter and the manager. AI can strengthen the entire recruiting process by enabling more appropriate searches, outsmarting ghost candidates and eliminating them from the databases. – Sudhakar Reddy GadeNirvedha Executive Coaching Solutions Pvt Ltd

13. Immediate Interpretation Of Qualifications

While AI cannot (and should not) replace human interaction, it can provide an immediate interpretation of qualifications and scores from pre-employment testing. AI can narrow the field and specifically target the desired skill set from a sea of applicants. Utilizing AI can make the interview and hiring process streamlined for maximum efficiency. – Deborah HightowerDeborah Hightower, Inc.

15. Greater Success For Small Boutique Recruiting Firms

AI within the recruiting industry will potentially disrupt large recruiting firms if they too do not start utilizing AI. Smaller boutique recruiting firms have the ability to utilize some of the best AI tools for finding top candidates. There may be a shift in the recruiting industry, but it will not make the industry obsolete. More small recruiting firms will be more successful. – Melissa KingMELISSAKING

The new ADP/Moody’s National Employment Report: Private Sector Employment Increased by 428,000 Jobs in August

September 2, 2020

Private sector employment increased by 428,000 jobs from July to August according to the August 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 July total of jobs added was revised from 167,000 to 212,000.

Total U.S. Nonfarm Private Employment:             428,000

By Company Size

Small businesses:                   52,000

1-19 employees                       43,000

20-49 employees                       9,000

Medium businesses:              79,000

50-499 employees                   79,000

Large businesses:                298,000

500-999 employees                  28,000

1,000+ employees                  270,000

By Sector

I.  Goods-producing:                                40,000

A.  Natural resources/mining                             2,000

B.  Construction                                                28,000

C.  Manufacturing                                               9,000

II.  Service-providing:                            389,000

A.  Trade/transportation/utilities                         58,000

B.  Information                                                 <-1,000>

C.  Financial activities                                                    11,000

D.  Professional/business services                      66,000

                        1.  Professional/technical services                              19,000

                        2.  Management of companies/enterprises                   1,000

                        3.  Administrative/support services                            47,000

            E.  Education/health services                             100,000

                        1.  Health care/social assistance                                  85,000

                        2.  Education                                                               15,000

            F.  Leisure/hospitality                                        129,000

            G.  Other services                                                 25,000

Franchise Employment

Franchise Jobs                        21,500

“The August job postings demonstrate a slow recovery,” said Ahu Yildirmaz, vice president and co-head of the ADP Research Institute.  “Job gains are minimal, and businesses across all sizes and sectors have yet to come close to their pre-COVID-19 employment levels.”

(The September 2020 ADP National Employment Report will be released at 8:15 a.m. ET on September 30, 2020.)

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.

August 2020 Small Business Report Highlights

Total Small Business Employment:             52,000

●By Size  
►1-19 employees 43,000
►20-49 employees 9,000
●By Sector for 1-49 Employees  
►Goods Producing <-8,000>
►Service Producing 60,000
●By Sector for 1-19 Employees  
►Goods Producing <-4,000>
►Service Producing 47,000
●By Sector for 20-49 Employees  
►Goods Producing <-4,000>
►Service Producing 13,000

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 – June 2020

August 10, 2020

The number of job openings increased to 5,900,000 on the last business day of June, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.  Hires decreased to 6,700,000 in June but was still the second highest level in the series history.  The largest monthly increase in hires occurred in May 2020.  Total separations increased to 4,800,000.  Within separations, the quits rate rose to 1.9% while the layoffs and discharges rate was unchanged at 1.4%.  These changes in the labor market reflected a limited resumption of economic activity that had been curtailed in March and April due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and efforts to contain it.  This release includes estimates of the number and rate of job openings, hires, and separations for the total nonfarm sector, by industry, and by 4 geographic regions.

Job Openings

On the last business day of June, the number of job openings increased to 5,900,000 (+518,000) while the rate was little changed at 4.1%.  Job openings rose in a number of industries with the largest increases in accommodation and food services (+198,000), other services (+69,000), and arts, entertainment, and recreation (+34,000).  Job openings decreased in construction (-70,000) and in state and local government education

(-26,000). The number of job openings increased in the Northeast and Midwest regions.


Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic Impact on June 2020 JOLTS Data                                                                                 

Data collection for the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey was affected by the coronavirus |(COVID-19) pandemic. ________________________________________________________________________


In June, the number of hires decreased to 6,700,000 (-503,000), the second highest level in series history, the series high occurred in May 2020.  The June hires rate decreased to 4.9%.  Hires decreased in a number of industries, with the largest fall in other services

(-326,000), followed by health care and social assistance (-282,000), and construction

(-181,000). Hires increased in professional and business services (+255,000), accommodation and food services (+78,000), and state and local government, excluding education (+30,000).  The number of hires decreased in the West region.


Total separations includes quits, layoffs and discharges, and other separations.  Total separations is referred to as turnover.  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 June, the number and rate of total separations increased to 4,800,000 (+522,000) and 3.5%, respectively.  A year ago, total separations levels and rates were higher at 5,600,000 and 3.7% in June 2019.  Total separations increased in many industries in June 2020 with the largest increases in accommodation and food services (+175,000), retail trade (+103,000), and durable goods manufacturing (+58,000).  The number of total separations decreased in state and local government education (-59,000) and federal government (-12,000).  Total separations increased in the Northeast and West regions.

In June, the number and rate of quits increased to 2,600,000 (+531,000) and 1.9%, respectively.  Quits increased in a number of industries with the largest increases in health care and social assistance (+106,000), accommodation and food services (+104,000), and retail trade (+99,000).  Quits decreased in state and local government education (-40,000).  The number of quits increased in all 4 regions.

The number of layoffs and discharges was little changed at 1,900,000 and the rate was unchanged at 1.4% in June.  The rate, which had reached a series high of 7.6% in March, declined to 1.4% in May, and remains near its pre-pandemic rate of 1.2% in February.  In June, the layoffs and discharges level decreased in health care and social assistance

(-71,000), state and local government, excluding education (-24,000), and federal government (-10,000).  Layoffs and discharges increased in accommodation and food services (+70,000) and durable goods manufacturing (+38,000).  The number

of layoffs and discharges was little changed in all 4 regions.

The number of other separations was little changed in June.  Other separations increased in retail trade (+23,000) and arts, entertainment, and recreation (+3,000).  Other separations decreased in state and local government education (-11,000) and educational services (-4,000).  Other separations 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 June, hires totaled 70,200,000 and separations totaled 79,100,000, yielding a net employment loss of 8,900,000.  These totals include workers who may have been hired and separated more than once during the year.


The Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey estimates for July 2020 are scheduled to be released on Wednesday, September 9, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. (EDT).


As we recruiters know, that 5,900,000 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 5,900,000 published job openings now become a total of 29,500,000 published AND hidden job orders.



Online Labor Demand Rises in July

August 11, 2020

The Conference Board®-Burning Glass® Help Wanted OnLine™ (HWOL) Index rose in July and now stands at 90.2 (July 2018=100), up from 89.2 in June.  The Index rose 5.7% from May to June and is down 12.5% 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) Indexmeasures 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 is Friday, September 11 at 10 AM.

U-6 Update

In August 2020, the regular unemployment rate fell 1.8% to 8.4% and the broader U-6 measure fell 2.3% to 14.2%.  Both of these percentages are still almost totally due to the COVID-19 economic shutdown across the U.S and the slow current ‘Reopening’.

The above 14.2% 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 August U-6 numbers for the previous 17 years:

August 2019                7.2%

August 2018                7.4%

August 2017                8.6%

August 2016                9.7%

August 2015                10.3%

August 2014                12.0%

August 2013                13.6%

August 2012                14.7%

August 2011                16.2%

August 2010                16.7%

August 2009                16.8%

August 2008                10.9%

August 2007                8.4%

August 2006                8.4%

August 2005                8.9%

August 2004                9.5%

August 2003                10.2%

The August 2020 BLS Analysis

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 1,400,000 in August.  These improvements in the labor market reflect the continued resumption of economic activity that had been curtailed due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and efforts to contain it.  In August, an increase in government employment largely reflected temporary hiring for the 2020 Census.  Notable job gains also occurred in retail trade, in professional and business services, in leisure and hospitality, and in education and health services.
The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for June was revised down by 10,000, from +4,791,000 to +4,781,000, and the change for July was revised down by 29,000, from +1,763,000 to +1,734,000.  With these revisions, employment in June and July combined was 39,000 less 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 September 4th, 2020, the BLS published the most recent unemployment rate for August 2020 of 8.4% (actually, it is 8.425% down by 1.795% from 10.220% in July.

The unemployment rate was determined by dividing the unemployed of 13,550,000 (–down from the month before by 2,788,000—since August 2019, this number has increased by 7,551,000) by the total civilian labor force of 160,838,000 (up by 968,000 from July 2020).  Since August 2019, our total civilian labor force has decreased by 3,056,000 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 once again increased this total to 260,558,000.  This is an increase of 185,000 from last month’s increase of 169,000.  In one year, this population has increased by 1,126,000. For the last 3 years the Civilian Noninstitutional Population has increased each month—except in December 2016, December 2018 & December 2019—by…)

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 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
Up from March 2018by175,000
Up from February 2018by163,000
Up from January 2018by154,000
Up from December 2017by671,000
Up from November 2017by160,000
Up from October 2017by183,000
Up from September 2017by204,000
Up from August 2017by205,000
Up from July 2017by206,000

This month the BLS has increased the Civilian Labor Force to 160,838,000 (up from July by 968,000, mainly due to the reopening of the economy).

Subtract the second number (‘civilian labor force’) from the first number (‘civilian noninstitutional population’) and you get 99,720,000 ‘Not in Labor Force’—down by 783,000 from last month’s 100,503,000.  In one year, this NILF population has increased by 4,182,000.  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 .3% 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 August was 5.5% (this rate was 1.1% lower than last month’s 6.6%).  Or you can look at it another way.  We usually place people who have college degrees.  That unemployment rate in August was5.3% (this rate was 1.4% lower than last month’s 6.7%).

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 August 27th, the US Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) announced the real gross domestic product (GDP) decreased at an annual rate of <-31.7%> in the second quarter of 2020, according to the “second” estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis.  In the first quarter, real GDP decreased <-5.0%>.

The GDP estimate released today is based on more complete source data than were available for the “advance” estimate issued last month. In the advance estimate, the decrease in real GDP was <-32.9%>.  With the second estimate, private inventory investment and personal consumption expenditures (PCE) decreased less than previously estimated.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Impact on the Second-Quarter 2020 GDP Estimate

The decline in second quarter GDP reflected the response to COVID-19, as “stay-at-home” orders issued in March and April were partially lifted in some areas of the country in May and June, and government pandemic assistance payments were distributed to households and businesses.  This led to rapid shifts in activity, as businesses and schools continued remote work and consumers and businesses canceled, restricted, or redirected their spending.  The full economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic cannot be quantified in the GDP estimate for the second quarter of 2020 because the impacts are generally embedded in source data and cannot be separately identified.

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

The decrease in PCE reflected decreases in services (led by health care) and goods (led by clothing and footwear).  The decrease in exports primarily reflected a decrease in goods (led by capital goods).  The decrease in nonresidential fixed investment primarily reflected a decrease in equipment (led by transportation equipment).  The decrease in private inventory investment primarily reflected a decrease in retail (led by motor vehicle dealers).  The decrease in residential investment primarily reflected a decrease in new single-family housing.

Updates to GDP

In the second estimate, real GDP decreased <-31.7%> in the second quarter, an upward revision of +1.2% points from the previous estimate issued last month.  The revision primarily reflected upward revisions to private inventory investment and PCE.

Three Update Releases to GDP
BEA releases 3 vintages of the current quarterly estimate for GDP:  "Advance" estimates are released near the end of the first month following the end of the quarter and are based on source data that are incomplete or subject to further revision by the source agency; “second” and “third” estimates are released near the end of the second and third months, respectively, and are based on more detailed and more comprehensive data as they become available.

*          *          *

Next release, September 30, 2020 at 8:30 A.M. EDT
Gross Domestic Product, Second Quarter 2020 (Third Estimate)

GDP by Industry, Second Quarter 2020, and Annual Update



‘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, in 2019, workers in most states are eligible for up to 26 weeks of benefits from the regular state-funded unemployment compensation program.  One state (MT) offers more and ten states offer less.  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 20 years of unemployment in the August “management, professional and related” types of worker category, you will find the following rates:

August 2019                2.3%

August 2018                2.5%

August 2017                2.8%

August 2016                3.1%

August 2015                2.9%

August 2014                3.4%

August 2013                3.8%

August 2012                4.5%

August 2011                4.9%

August 2010                5.1%

August 2009                5.4%

August 2008                3.3%

August 2007                2.6%

August 2006                2.4%

August 2005                2.5%

August 2004                2.9%

August 2003                3.6%

August 2002                3.4%

August 2001                2.5%

August 2000                1.8%

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

August 2019                2.1%

August 2018                2.0%

August 2017                2.4%

August 2016                2.7%

August 2015                2.5%

August 2014                3.2%

August 2013                3.5%

August 2012                4.1%

August 2011                4.3%

August 2010                4.6%

August 2009                4.7%

August 2008                2.7%

August 2007                2.1%

August 2006                1.8%

August 2005                2.1%

August 2004                2.7%

August 2003                3.1%

August 2002                2.8%

August 2001                2.2%

August 2000                1.7%

The August 2020 rates for these two categories, 5.5% and 5.3%, 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