BLS Analysis for Recruiters August 2021

Bob Marshall’s August 2021 BLS Analysis for Recruiters; 9/3/21

August BLS Preface

TBMG Coaching Updates and Product News:

The New 2021 Elite Recruiter Masterclass (ERM) Training Program – UPDATE

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


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

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

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Elite Recruiter Masterclass

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

*Successful learners of the material presented

*Confident recruitment professionals

*Responsible members of our profession

*Effective contributors who make placement earlier and more often

Contact us to take advantage of the Labor Day Savings on all of Our TBMG products which includes:

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

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

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

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

5. “The JOB ORDER” – 6-part series

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Is now the time to pick a Coach?

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

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

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

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

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

—David Alexander, President, Soliant, January 2017


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

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

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

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

Majority are Comfortable Returning to the Office: Express Employment Professionals Survey

Daily News, August 25, 2021

A majority of US workers, 81%, are comfortable returning to the office during the pandemic, but 87% believe there is more their employers can do to mitigate virus risk, according to a survey of 1,001 US hiring decision-makers commissioned by Express Employment Professionals.

3 in 4 workers already go to their company’s physical workspace at least once a week with 40% attending every day, according to the survey.  It also found that 75% say they feel completely safe in the office compared to 71% in a similar survey at this time last year.

Still, 87% believe businesses can do more to make them feel comfortable around colleagues.  The survey found 42% believe employers should make sure all employees are vaccinated, 31% seek clear protocols on what will happen if an employee tests positive for Covid-19 and 30% want greater cleaning efforts and social distancing.

“Flexibility and proper safety protocols can go a long way in business continuity as the Covid-19 pandemic continues,” Express CEO Bill Stoller said.  “As someone who enjoys interacting with my colleagues, I look forward to moving closer to an in-person workforce, in some capacity, once again.”

Employees at small firms — those with 2 to 9 employees — are most likely to say they would be very comfortable going into a physical workspace now.

The survey took place between March 23 and April 12.

Employers Expect Difficulty in Finding Employees to Last until 2022

Daily News, August 25, 2021

Current struggles to hire and retain workers will continue into next year, according to a survey of 380 US and Canadian employers by Willis Towers Watson.

The survey found 73% of employers are having difficulty attracting employees, up from a similar survey last year that found only 26% were having difficulty.  It’s also up from 56% in a survey earlier this year.  And 70% of employers expect difficulty in recruiting to continue into 2022.

Retaining employees is also difficult, with 61% having a hard time keeping employees now, according to Willis Towers Watson’s survey.

Reasons for the difficulty in attracting and keeping employees varied by position, career and industry.  Postponing return to work and collecting unemployment is the most commonly cited driver of difficulties for hospitality and restaurant employees as well as warehouse and distribution employees.  The survey found 72% of hospitality employers cited this as a reason while 62% of warehouse employers cited it.  Meanwhile, 48% of employers in the digital space cited high wage expectations.

“Employers are in the middle of an intense war for talent that’s not likely to let up anytime soon,” said Adrienne Altman, managing director and North American head of rewards, Willis Towers Watson.

“The challenge of hiring and keeping employees has now spread from isolated industries and skill sets to most industries and workforce segments,” Altman said.  “To compete, it’s imperative for employers to take strategic actions and find ways to differentiate the value proposition they offer to current and prospective workers.”

Steps employers are taking to attract talent include raising starting salaries, cited by 43%; improving the employee experience, 39%; making changes to health and wellbeing benefits, 36%; and increasing workplace flexibility, 33%.

The survey took place between Aug. 4 and Aug. 9.

65% of Workers are looking for a new job, and the numbers could get higher

CNBC, Jennifer Liu, August 19, 2021

The share of workers thinking of calling it quits could be higher than expected.

Some 65% of employees are looking for a new job right now, according to an August poll of 1,007 full- and part-time U.S. workers conducted by PwC.  That’s nearly double the 35% of workers who said they were seeking new work in May.

Workers say their top reason for finding a new job is negotiating for a better salary, followed by expanded benefits and more workplace flexibility, such as the ability to work remotely full-time or on a hybrid schedule.

Among 752 executives surveyed in the same report, just 23% believe workers are leaving because they want better benefits.

Women, Black and Hispanic workers seek higher pay

The current labor market may be an opportunity for underpaid and marginalized workers to close pay gaps, the PwC report finds.

Women, 46%, are more likely than men, 34%, to report they’re looking for a new job because they want higher pay.  When considering race and ethnicity, 82% of Hispanic and 67% of Black workers say they’re seeking more pay in a new job compared with 57% of white, non-Hispanic workers.

Bhushan Sethi, PwC’s global people and organization co-leader tells CNBC Make It that leaders must consider these factors in both their retention and their hiring practices.

“Our recommendation there is that companies need to get ahead of this and analyze the data,” Sethi says.  “If they see pay gaps skewed around gender or ethnicity or generation for people performing the same job, that’s something they need to address.  As you see from the data, it drives more retention risks.”

But while data suggests quitters are leveraging higher wages in the job market, the benefits are uneven due to longstanding inequities in pay practices along race and gender lines.

For example, women who recently quit for a new job are seeing above-average wage growth, ADP data shows — 6.4% wage growth for women versus 5.5% for men.  But because of the wage gap, women are starting from a lower average hourly wage level of $27.79, compared to $32.61 for men.

Benefits can improve diversity, equity, and inclusion

Organizations have a responsibility to uphold transparent and equitable compensation practices, Sethi says.  They must also consider the labor market factors that mean women, Black and Hispanic workers make up a disproportionate share of people who are unemployed, underemployed or have been pushed out of the labor force altogether.

Firms should provide benefits to help retain certain demographics of workers, Sethi says, including paid time off or the ability to work from home, which could make the workplace more accommodating to women who’ve overwhelmingly been pushed out of work during the pandemic due to care responsibilities.

Flexibility will be increasingly important in the coming weeks, Sethi adds, as the Covid-19 delta variant throws school and child-care plans into question.

Leaders should expect new hires to ‘negotiate hard’

A majority, 88%, of executives say they’re seeing higher turnover than normal.

Some are bracing for even more disruption in the months to come. Neil Dhar, chief clients officer at PwC, says employers in some sectors, including in financial services, generally believe they’ve hit their peak turnover period.

In other sectors, particularly technology, clients are expressing concern that the share of people quitting could continue to climb based on tightening demand in the job market.

And workers in service jobs throughout leisure and hospitality are driving a nationwide quitting spree throughout the spring and summer, with many moving jobs to land better pay, perks and flexibility.  Employers there are saying it’s too early to tell what the ongoing attrition patterns will be.

“In talking to all functional leads, at all companies, in all sectors, there’s a feeling the employee base right now seems to have quite a bit of power in terms of options in the market,” Dhar says. Leaders on a hiring spree “should expect new people to negotiate hard for compensation and perks.”

Work-Life Balance Tops List of What Creative Professionals Seek in a Job

Daily News, August 18, 2021

Work-life balance tops the list of what creative professionals are looking for a job with 75% citing it as a top factor, according to a survey by marketing/creative staffing provider Cella. 

The survey also found that 90% are interested in working remotely at least some of the time and that remote work is the most-desired perk.

Cella’s survey included more than 400 creative, marketing, and digital professionals.  More than 80% of respondents were millennials or members of Gen X.

It also found more than 40% of respondents are considering leaving their current company and 51% are so unhappy that they would take the first opportunity to make a lateral move.

Concerns with their current positions included poor leadership and management as well as toxic environments.

Other findings in the report include:

  • 45% would accept a job offer if they liked the potential manager even if the salary was 5% to 10% lower than what they expected.
  • 56% believe that conducting more than three interviews with a candidate is too much.
  • 60% of job seekers in the creative space rated a positive policy on diversity, equity and inclusion as important or very important.

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

September 1, 2021

Private sector employment increased by 374,000 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

330,000 to 326,000.

Total U.S. Nonfarm Private Employment:             374,000

By Company Size

Small businesses:                                   86,000

1-19 employees                                       25,000

20-49 employees                                     61,000

Medium businesses:                            149,000

50-499 employees                                  149,000

Large businesses:                                138,000

500-999 employees                                  41,000

1,000+ employees                                    96,000

By Sector

I.  Goods-producing:                                            45,000

A.  Natural resources/mining                                                   9,000

B.  Construction                                                                      30,000

C.  Manufacturing                                                                     6,000

II.  Service-providing:                                        329,000

A.  Trade/transportation/utilities                                              18,000

B.  Information                                                                                 0

C.  Financial activities                                                                         13,000

D.  Professional/business services                                           19,000

                        1.  Professional/technical services                               18,000

                        2.  Management of companies/enterprises                 <-1,000>

                        3.  Administrative/support services                               3,000

            E.  Education/health services                                                   59,000

                        1.  Health care/social assistance                                   39,000

                        2.  Education                                                                19,000

            F.  Leisure/hospitality                                                            201,000

            G.  Other services                                                                     19,000

Franchise Employment

Franchise Jobs                                     52,300

“Our data, which represents all workers on a company’s payroll, has highlighted a downshift in the labor market recovery.  We have seen a decline in new hires, following significant job growth from the first half of the year, “said Nela Richardson, chief economist, ADP.

 “Despite the slowdown, job gains are approaching 4,000,000 this year, yet still 7,000,000 jobs short of pre-COVID-19 levels.  Service providers continue to lead growth, although the Delta variant creates uncertainty for this sector.  Job gains across company sizes grew in lockstep, with small businesses trailing a bit more than usual.”

Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics, said, “The Delta variant of COVID-19 appears to have denied the job market recovery.  Job growth remains strong, but well off the pace of recent months.  Job growth remains inextricably tied to the path of the pandemic.”

(The September 2021 ADP National Employment Report will be released at 8:15 a.m. ET on October 6, 2021.)

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

August 2021 Small Business Report Highlights

Total Small Business Employment:             86,000

●By Size  
►1-19 employees 25,000
►20-49 employees 61,000
●By Sector for 1-49 Employees  
►Goods Producing 3,000
►Service Producing 83,000
●By Sector for 1-19 Employees  
►Goods Producing <-2,000>
►Service Producing 27,000
●By Sector for 20-49 Employees  
►Goods Producing 5,000
►Service Producing 56,000

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 2021

August 9, 2021

The number of job openings increased to a series high of 10,100,000 on the last business day of June, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.  Hires rose to 6,700,000 and total separations edged up to 5,600,000.  Within separations, the quits rate increased to 2.7%.  The layoffs and discharges rate was unchanged at 0.9%, matching the series low reached last month.  This release includes estimates of the number and rate of job openings, hires, and separations for the total nonfarm sector, by industry, by 4 geographic regions, and by establishment size class.

Job Openings

On the last business day of June, the job openings level increased to a series high of 10,100,000 (+590,000).  The job openings rate rose to 6.5%.  Job openings increased in several industries, with the largest increases in professional and business services (+227,000); retail trade (+133,000); and accommodation and food services (+121,000).  The number of job openings increased in the South region.


In June, the number and rate of hires increased to 6,700,000 (+697,000) and 4.6%, respectively.  Hires increased in retail trade (+291,000); state and local government education (+94,000); and durable goods manufacturing (+36,000).  The number of hires increased in the South and Midwest regions.


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

In June, the number of total separations edged up to 5,600,000 (+254,000).  The rate was little changed at 3.8%.  The total separations level increased in professional and business services (+124,000); durable goods manufacturing (+48,000); and state and local government, excluding education (+30,000).  Total separations decreased in state and local government education (-43,000).  Total separations was little changed in all 4 regions.

In June, the quits level and rate increased to 3,900,000 (+239,000) and 2.7%, respectively.  Quits increased in professional and business services (+72,000); durable goods manufacturing (+47,000); and state and local government, excluding education (+33,000).  Quits decreased in state and local government education (-26,000).  The number of quits increased in the South region.

In June, the number of layoffs and discharges was little changed at 1,300,000, a series low.  The rate was unchanged at 0.9%, matching last month’s series low.  Layoffs and discharges were little changed in all 4 regions.

The number of other separations increased in June to 405,000 (+58,000).  Other separations increased in professional and business services (+43,000) and in durable goods manufacturing (+6,000).  Other separations decreased in arts, entertainment, and recreation (-4,000).  The other separations level was little changed in all 4 regions.

Net Change in Employment

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

Over the 12 months ending in June, hires totaled 72,100,000 and separations totaled 65,200,000, yielding a net employment gain of 6,900,000.  These totals include workers who may have been hired and separated more than once during the year.

Establishment Size Class

In June, the job openings rate increased in large establishments with 250-999 employees, 1,000-4,999 employees, and 5,000 or more employees.  The hires rate increased in medium establishments with 50-249 employees and in large establishments with 250-999 employees and 5,000 or more employees.  The quits rate and the layoffs and discharges rate for large establishments with 250-999 employees increased in June.  The other separations rate increased in large establishments with 1,000-4,999 employees.


The Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey estimates for July 2021 are scheduled to be released on Wednesday, September 8, 2021, at 10:00 a.m. (ET).

As we recruiters know that 10,100,000 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 10,100,000 published job openings now become a total of 50,500,000 published AND hidden job orders.



Online Labor Demand Rises in July

August 11, 2021

The Conference Board®-Burning Glass® Help Wanted OnLine® (HWOL) Index rose in July and now stands at 145.7 (July 2018=100), up from 140.4 in June.  The 3.8% increase between June and July follows a 0.2% increase between May and June.  Overall, the Index is up 42.6% from a year ago.

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


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

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

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

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

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

About The Conference Board

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

About Burning Glass Technologies, Inc.

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

The next release for August 2021 is Wednesday, September 8th at 10 AM.

U-6 Update

In August 2021, the regular unemployment rate fell .2% to 5.2% and the broader U-6 measure fell .4% to 8.8%.  Both of these percentages are still almost totally due to the COVID-19 economic shutdown across the U.S and the slow ‘Reopening’.

The above 8.8% 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 18 years:

August 2020                14.2%

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 2021 BLS Analysis

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 235,000 in August, and the unemployment rate declined by 0.2% to 5.2%, the U.S. bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.  Notable job gains occurred in professional and business services, transportation and warehousing, private education, manufacturing, and other services.  Employment in retail trade declined over the month.
The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for June was revised up by 24,000, from +938,000 to +962,000, and the change for July was revised up by 110,000, from +943,000 to +1,053,000.  With these revisions, employment in June and July combined is 134,000 higher than previously reported.  (Monthly revisions result from additional reports received from businesses and government agencies since the last published estimates and from the recalculation of seasonal factors.)

The unemployment rate is also published by the BLS.  That rate is found by dividing the number of unemployed by the total civilian labor force.  On September 3rd, 2021, the BLS published the most recent unemployment rate for August 2021 of 5.2% (actually, it is 5.190% down 0.203% from 5.393% in July.

The unemployment rate was determined by dividing the unemployed of 8,384,000

(–down from the month before by 318,000—since August 2020, this number has decreased by 5,158,000) by the total civilian labor force of 161,537,000 (up by 190,000 from July 2020).  Since August 2020, our total civilian labor force has increased by 719,000 workers.

(The continuing ‘Strange BLS Math’ saga—after a detour in December 2016 when the BLS {for the first time in years} DECREASED the total Civilian Noninstitutional Population—this month the BLS increased this total to 261,611,000.  This is an increase of 142,000 from last month’s increase of 131,000.  In one year, this population has increased by 1,053,000.  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 July 2021by142,000
Up from June 2021by131,000
Up from May 2021by128,000
Up from April 2021by107,000
Up from March 2021by100,000
Up from February 2021by85,000
Up from January 2021by67,000
Down from December 2020by379,000
Up from November 2020by145,000
Up from October 2020by160,000
Up from September 2020by183,000
Up from August 2020by184,000
Up from July 2020by185,000
Up from June 2020by169,000
Up from May 2020by157,000
Up from April 2020by151,000
Up from March 2020by138,000
Up from February 2020by130,000
Up from January 2020by126,000
Down from December 2019by679,000
Up from November 2019by161,000
Up from October 2019by175,000
Up from September 2019by207,000
Up from August 2019by206,000
Up from July 2019by207,000
Up from June 2019by188,000
Up from May 2019by176,000
Up from April 2019by168,000
Up from March 2019by156,000
Up from February 2019by145,000
Up from January 2019by153,000
Down from December 2018by649,000
Up from November 2018by180,000
Up from October 2018by194,000
Up from September 2018by224,000
Up from August 2018by224,000
Up from July 2018by223,000

This month the BLS has increased the Civilian Labor Force to 161,537,000 (up from July by 190,000, mainly due to the continuing reopening of the economy).

Subtract the second number (‘civilian labor force’) from the first number (‘civilian noninstitutional population’) and you get 100,074,000 ‘Not in Labor Force’—down by 49,000 from last month’s 100,123,000.  In one year, this NILF population has increased by 334,000.  The government tells us that most of these NILFs got discouraged and just gave up looking for a job.  My monthly recurring question is: “If that is the case, how do they survive when they don’t earn any money because they don’t have a job?  Are they ALL relying on the government to support them??”

This month, our Employment Participation Rate—the population 16 years and older working or seeking work—remained at 61.7%.  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 3.2% (this rate was .1% lower than last month’s 3.3%).  Or you can look at it another way.  We usually place people who have college degrees.  That unemployment rate in August was2.8% (this rate was .3% lower than last month’s 3.1%).

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 26th, the US Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) announced the real gross domestic product (GDP) increased at an annual rate of 6.6% in the second quarter of 2021, according to the “second” estimate.   In the first quarter of 2021, real GDP increased 6.3%.

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 increase in real GDP was 6.5%.  The update reflects upward revisions to nonresidential fixed investment and exports that were partly offset by downward revisions to private inventory investment, residential fixed investment, and state and local government spending.  Imports, which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP, were revised down.

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

The increase in second quarter GDP reflected the continued economic recovery reopening of establishments, and continued government response related to the COVID-19 pandemic.  In the second quarter, government assistance payments in the form of loans to businesses and grants to state and local governments increased, while social benefits to households, such as the direct economic impact payments, declined.  The full economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic cannot be quantified in the GDP estimate for the second quarter because the impacts are generally embedded in source data and cannot be separately identified.

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

The increase in PCE reflected increases in services (led by food services and accommodations) and goods (led by “other” nondurable goods, notably pharmaceutical products, as well as clothing and footwear).  The increase in nonresidential fixed investment reflected increases in intellectual property products (led by research and development as well as software) and equipment (led by transportation equipment).  The increase in exports reflected an increase in goods (led by nonautomotive capital goods) and services (led by travel).  The decrease in private inventory investment was led by a decrease in retail trade inventories.  The decrease in federal government spending primarily reflected a decrease in nondefense spending on intermediate goods and services.  In the second quarter, nondefense services decreased as the processing and administration of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan applications by banks on behalf of the federal government declined.

Updates to GDP

In the second estimate for the second quarter, real GDP increased 6.6%, an upward revision of 0.1%.  Upward revisions to nonresidential fixed investment, exports, and PCE were partly offset by downward revisions to private inventory investment, residential fixed investment, state and local government spending, and federal government spending. Imports were revised down.

*          *          *

Next release, September 30, 2021, at 8:30 A.M. EDT
Gross Domestic Product, Second Quarter 2021 (Third Estimate)
Gross Domestic Product by Industry, Second Quarter 2021, and Annual Update
Corporate Profits, Second Quarter 2021 (Revised Estimate)


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

There are five main sources of unemployment:

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

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

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

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

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

Other factors influencing the unemployment rate:

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

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

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

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


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

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

August 2020                5.5%

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 2020                5.3%

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 2021 rates for these two categories, 3.2% and 2.8%, 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