BLS Analysis for Recruiters July 2020

Bob Marshall’s July 2020 BLS Analysis for Recruiters; 8/7/20

July 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, August 7th, at 4 PM eastern time the DJIA is at:

27,433.34 (last month at this time it was at 26,167.13)

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 most of our workers are still at home and the reopening of the U.S. is just beginning, this little look to the future, provided by our investors, shows 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.

Major Reason Why Workers Choose to Temp: Pathway to Traditional Employment, SIA Report

Daily News, August 4, 2020

One of the primary reasons temporary workers choose to temporary work is as a way of finding a traditional/permanent job or because they think temporary work will lead to a permanent job, according to SIA’s “Temporary Work Survey 2020” report.

It found that 49% of temporary workers choose to temp because they feel it will lead to a traditional job.  That was by far the main reason for their choice.

The survey, which was conducted prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, also found that 11% chose temp work to supplement their income while they look for a permanent job, while 14% temp to supplement their income while not looking for a permanent job.  In addition, 13% chose temp work to learn new skills or get work experience.

Another 13% said they temp for “other” reasons.  These included flexibility/variety, travel opportunities and better compensation.

“It should be noted, however, that reasons for temping vary markedly by age and pay rate,” said Jon Osborne, VP of strategic research at SIA.  “Those younger and/or at the lower end of the pay scale are more likely to choose temporary work as a method of finding a permanent position; those older and/or at the higher end of the pay scale are more likely to choose temporary work as a way to supplement income while not looking for permanent work.”

The report is based on a survey included nearly 6,000 temporary workers in North America.

Executives Expect Greater Use of Contingent Workers Post-Pandemic: The Conference Board

Daily News, July 30, 2020

Business will emerge from Covid-19 with more contract workers and fewer permanent staff, according to a report based on a global survey of CEOs and C-Suite executives by The Conference Board.

“Post-Covid-19, CEOs expect their organizations to emerge leaner and more agile, redefining how work gets done,” said Chuck Mitchell, a report author and director of knowledge, content, and quality at The Conference Board.

CEOs in the survey said using more contract and gig workers along with fewer permanent, in-house workers was the fourth-most important human capital change.  However, other members of the C-Suite surveyed cited it as 10th.

The survey also found that 47% of CEOs globally predict pre-Covid-19 revenue levels will return sometime in 2021.  Looking at just the US, 51% of executives say this will be the case.

Executives also plan to expand the ability for employees to work flexible hours or telecommute permanently.

The survey included more than 1,300 CEOs and other C-Suite executives.

Covid-19 Increases Difficulty for Employers, Frustration for Job Seekers

Daily News, July 29, 2020

Covid-19 appears to have made the struggle by employers to find qualified candidates more difficult as well as increased the frustration faced by job candidates when they don’t hear back from potential employers, according to the “State of Online Recruiting Report” released by jobs website iHire.

“As recently unemployed professionals flood the job market, employers are poised to experience an applicant overload,” iHire President and CEO Steve Flook said.  “Although this will intensify the quest for qualified candidates and attribute to the ‘applicant black hole,’ we are optimistic that organizations will continue to make progress in addressing these challenges.”

The survey found 77.1% of employers are struggling to find qualified talent.  In addition, 39.0% of employers said “receiving unqualified/irrelevant applicants” was their No. 1 challenge when recruiting through a job board.  Also, 38.1% said “finding qualified candidates in my area” was their main concern.

Still, when it comes to hiring, 72.8% of employers said they were actively hiring despite the pandemic.

For job applicants, 18.8% said they were most frustrated by not hearing back from employers after applying or interviewing.  And iHire noted that employers will face more of a challenge getting back to applicants because of “mass applies” from unemployed workers.

The survey also found 21.5% of candidates said they first go to industry-specific platforms when searching for a job, up from 17.1% in a similar survey in 2019.

Included in the survey were 343 employers and 2,841 job seekers across 56 different industries.

Job Board Says Applications Jumped in Q2, Biggest Spike is in Marketing

Daily News, July 27, 2020

Applications for US jobs increased by 11.3% in the second quarter, job board Resume-Library reported today.  It also found that marketing was the industry that saw the biggest spike in people looking for work.

“Millions of Americans have had no choice but to file for unemployment, as businesses continue to suffer at the helm of Covid-19,” said Lee Biggins, founder and CEO of Resume-Library.  “As a result, we’re seeing a big spike in people registering their resumes online and searching and applying for new jobs.”

The company listed the top 10 industries with the largest spikes in job applications during the second quarter:

1.  Marketing, up 127.9%

2.  Finance, up 69.1%

3.  Education, up 53.4%

4.  Sales, up 41.8%

5.  Human resources, up 24.4%

6.  Customer service, up 21.7%

7.  Engineering, up 14.5%

8.  Accounting, up 8.9%

9.  Healthcare, up 3.7%

10. Security, up 3.6%

Among job titles that saw the biggest increases in searches were physician assistant, data analyst and nurse practitioner.

“Our findings offer a snapshot into the job market and the types of roles people are searching for,” Biggins said.  “Unfortunately, it’s been pretty slim pickings in terms of job opportunities, but we are starting to see more vacancies being advertised.”

Covid-19 May Be Reducing Skills Shortage, Hiring Outlook Improves

Daily News, July 27, 2020

Covid-19 may be taking a bite out of the skills shortage, according to the “Business Conditions Survey” released today by the National Association for Business Economics.

The report, which is based on a survey of 104 NABE members, found 16% reported skilled labor shortages compared to 21% who said the same in a similar report released in April.  In addition, those reporting shortages in unskilled labor fell to 3% from 8%.

This month’s report, which looked at overall economic conditions, did find the economic outlook was, overall, more upbeat than April’s report.

“Respondents in this survey report a significant snapback in expectations from the depths reached across nearly all categories in April, suggesting that the economy and business operating environment are no longer on quicksand after the Covid-19 lockdowns in the United States and elsewhere,” said NABE Business Conditions Survey Chair Megan Greene, senior fellow, Harvard Kennedy School.

Respondents’ outlooks for the next 3 months improved for sales, profit margins, prices, employment and capital spending.  Meanwhile, the second quarter was regarded as the worst since the Great Recession for sales, price and capital spending.

The outlook for hiring improved in the new survey, with 22% of respondents anticipating increases in employment at their firms, up from 1% in the April survey.  However, nearly a fifth of respondents indicated their firms reduced wages and salaries in Q2.

“Firms have imposed a number of special measures to limit the negative financial impact of Covid-19 on their firms, including freezing hiring and terminating and furloughing employees,” Greene said.  “1 in 3 firms has resumed normal operations, but nearly as many respondents say they don’t expect their firms to return to normal operations for more than 6 months.”

NABE’s report also found that 80% of firms expect employees working remotely to some degree post crisis.

More Employees Feeling Burnout Due to Working from Home

Daily News, July 17, 2020

Working from home is leading to increased burnout among many employees, according to data from Monster.  It found that 69% of employees are experiencing burnout symptoms while working from home, according to a poll this month of 284 US workers.  That’s up from 51% in May.

In addition, workers are taking less time off.  Monster’s poll found that 59% said they are taking less time away from work than they normally would.  In fact, 42% of workers this month said they are not planning to take time off or vacation time; that compares to 52% who said the same in a similar poll in May.

Still, remote work is drawing attention from job seekers.  Monster, citing separate data from the week of July 6 to July 12, said the word “remote” saw its highest search levels in the past 14 weeks.  It’s now in the top 10 locations searched on Monster.  “The spike indicates that work from home is settling in as the new normal for job search and employment,” according to the company.

Looking ahead at returning to work, a separate poll by the American Staffing Association found that 79% of US employees are satisfied with their employer’s pandemic-related return-to-work plans.

Baby boomers were the most satisfied at 85% while millennials were nearly as satisfied at 82%.  The least satisfied were members of Gen Z at 62%.

IT Jobs Down 211,400 Over Year, But Segment Still Better than Overall Workforce

Daily News, July 16, 2020

There were 211,400 fewer IT workers in June compared to the same month last year, the TechServe Alliance reported on Wednesday.

IT employment totaled 5,100,000 jobs in June, down 1.46% month over month and down by 3.95% year over year, according to the TechServe Alliance’s calculations.

But there was some good news.

“Unlike a lot of sectors that shed a vast number of employees quickly, the job loss in IT has evolved more slowly,” TechServe Alliance CEO Mark Roberts said.  “Despite the drop, IT continues to fare significantly better than the overall workforce with a year-over-year decline less than half total nonfarm employment.”

On the other hand, the organization noted that engineering employment rose by 1.73% month over month to nearly 2,600,000.  The increase follows a sharp drop of 6.5% in April and modest increase of just 0.52% in May.

Still, the number of engineering jobs was down 98,600 year over year in June.

Remote Work Key Benefit for Technologists; 53% say it’s More Productive: DICE

Daily News, July 13, 2020

Employers offering long-term flex, remote work will outpace competition, according to a report by tech jobs website Dice.

For years, technologists wanted to work remotely, and some sought out employers that specifically offered this benefit.

Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, most employers did not offer formal remote and flex work policies to their employees; while some employers worried it would have an impact on productivity, others believed it would be a detriment to organizational culture, according to the report.

But Covid-19 forced most employers to mandate remote work indefinitely.  Whether businesses had formalized policies, resources and infrastructure, they needed to act quickly to equip their teams with the right tools and information – and hope that productivity wouldn’t drop.  What most businesses found, instead, was that productivity maintained, according to the report.  At the same time, many businesses that collected employee sentiments found that their workers were largely content working out of the office.

“Given technologists’ desire for flexible and remote work options and the proven success of at-home work over many months, technologists will increasingly seek out employers that offer this type of work/life balance moving forward,” said Art Zeile, CEO of DHI Group Inc., parent company of Dice.  “This is an excellent opportunity for employers to tap into pools of remote workers across the US to increase talent pipelines and diversify workforces as part of the nationwide shift toward remote work.”

Technologists noted more productivity as one of the main professional benefits of working remotely.  When asked, “What the main professional benefits you receive from working remotely vs. working in an office?” their responses included:

In addition to the professional benefits of flex and remote work, technologists’ personal benefits of working remotely included commuting-related benefits at the top of the list with 80% of technologists selecting “saving money on commuting” and 67% selecting “an easier commute.”  Technologists have also found benefit in more comfortable attire and more control of the environment at 67% and 54% respectively.

The new ADP/Moody’s National Employment Report: Private Sector Employment Increased by 167,000 Jobs in July

August 5, 2020

Private sector employment increased by 167,000 jobs from June to July according to the July 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 June total of jobs added was revised from 2,369,000 to 4,314,000.

Total U.S. Nonfarm Private Employment:             167,000

By Company Size

Small businesses:                   63,000

1-19 employees                        45,000

20-49 employees                      18,000

Medium businesses:            <-25,000>

50-499 employees                 <-25,000>

Large businesses:                  129,000

500-999 employees                    19,000

1,000+ employees                    111,000

By Sector

I.  Goods-producing:                                 1,000

A.  Natural resources/mining                          <-1,000>

B.  Construction                                               <-8,000>

C.  Manufacturing                                              10,000

II.  Service-providing:                            166,000

A.  Trade/transportation/utilities                         41,000

B.  Information                                                 <-3,000>

C.  Financial activities                                                <-18,000>

D.  Professional/business services                      58,000

                        1.  Professional/technical services                               8,000

                        2.  Management of companies/enterprises                  1,000

                        3.  Administrative/support services                           49,000

            E.  Education/health services                               46,000

                        1.  Health care/social assistance                                  40,000

                        2.  Education                                                                 7,000

            F.  Leisure/hospitality                                          38,000

            G.  Other services                                                   3,000

Franchise Employment

Franchise Jobs                        21,200

“The labor market recovery slowed in the month of July,” said Ahu Yildirmaz, vice president and co-head of the ADP Research Institute.  “We have seen the slowdown impact businesses across all sizes and sectors.”

(The August 2020 ADP National Employment Report will be released at 8:15 a.m. ET on September 2, 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.

July 2020 Small Business Report Highlights

Total Small Business Employment:             63,000

●By Size  
►1-19 employees 45,000
►20-49 employees 18,000
●By Sector for 1-49 Employees  
►Goods Producing <-9,000>
►Service Producing 72,000
●By Sector for 1-19 Employees  
►Goods Producing <-6,000>
►Service Producing 51,000
●By Sector for 20-49 Employees  
►Goods Producing <-3,000>
►Service Producing 20,000

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 – May 2020

July 7, 2020

The number of hires increased by 2,400,000 to a series high of 6,500,000 in May, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.  This was the largest monthly increase of hires since the series began.  Total separations decreased by 5,800,000 to 4,100,000, the single largest decrease since the series began.  Within separations, the quits rate rose to 1.6% while the layoffs and discharges rate fell to 1.4%.  Job openings increased to 5,400,000 on the last business day of May.  These improvements 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 May, the number of job openings increased to 5,400,000 (+401,000) while the rate was little changed at 3.9%.  Job openings rose in accommodation and food services (+196,000), retail trade (+147,000), and construction (+118,000).  Job openings decreased in information (-55,000), federal government

(-37,000), and educational services (-27,000).  The number of job openings increased in the South region.


Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic Impact on May 2020 JOLTS Data collection for the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey was affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.



In May, the number of hires increased to 6,500,000 (+2,440,000) and the rate increased to 4.9%, a high for both series.  Conversely, hires levels and rates saw series lows in April.  In May, the hires level increased for total private (+2,432,000) and was little changed for government.  Hires increased in a number of industries, with the greatest rise in accommodation and food services (+763,000), followed by health care and social assistance (+479,000), and construction (+427,000).  The number of hires increased in all 4 regions.


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 May, the number and rate of total separations decreased to 4,100,000 (-5,830,000) and 3.1%, respectively.  The number of total separations in May was 1,500,000 lower than the February level.  Total separations decreased in many industries in May, with the largest decreases in accommodation and food services (-1,159,000), retail trade

(-751,000), and other services (-704,000).  The number of total separations increased in federal government (+28,000).  Total separations decreased in all 4 regions.

In May, the number and rate of quits increased to 2,100,000 (+190,000) and 1.6%, respectively.  Quits rose to 2,000,000 (+228,000) for total private and fell to 108,000

(-38,000) for government.  Quits increased in accommodation and food services (+88,000), durable goods manufacturing (+38,000), and transportation, warehousing, and utilities (+27,000).  Quits decreased in state and local government education (-26,000), state and local government, excluding education (-25,000), and educational services       (-22,000).  The number of quits increased in the South region.

The number and rate of layoffs and discharges decreased in May to 1,800,000

(-5,912,000) and 1.4%, respectively.  The rate, which had reached a series high of 7.6% in March, is now much closer to the pre-pandemic rate of 1.2% in February.  The number of layoffs and discharges decreased for total private to 1,700,000 (-5,809,000) and for government to 124,000 (-103,000).  The layoffs and discharges level decreased in all but one industry.  The largest declines occurred in accommodation and food services

(-1,251,000), followed by retail trade (-758,000), and other services

(-698,000).  Layoffs and discharges increased in federal government (+16,000).  The number of layoffs and discharges decreased in all 4 regions.

The number of other separations decreased in May (-108,000).  Other separations decreased in professional and business services (-50,000), construction (-30,000), and state and local government, excluding education (-9,000).  Other separations decreased in the Midwest region.

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 May, hires totaled 68,500,000 and separations totaled 79,800,000, yielding a net employment loss of 11,300,000.  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 June 2020 are scheduled to be released on Monday, August 10, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. (EDT).


As we recruiters know, that 5,400,000 number only represents 20% of the jobs currently available in the marketplace.  The other 80% of job openings are unpublished and are filled through networking or word of mouth or by using a RECRUITER.   So, those 5,400,000 published job openings now become a total of 27,000,000 published AND hidden job orders.



Online Labor Demand Rises in June

July 15, 2020

The Conference Board®-Burning Glass® Help Wanted OnLine™ (HWOL) Index rose in June and now stands at 89.5 (July 2018=100), up from 84.3 in May.  The Index rose 8.0% from April to May and is down 13.3% 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.

HWOL 2020 Annual Revision

With the June 2020 press release, the HWOL program has incorporated its annual revision, which helps ensure the accuracy and consistency of the HWOL Index and HWOL Data Series.  This year’s annual revision includes updates to the job board coverage, a revision of the HWOL Index from January 2005-forward and the HWOL Data Series from January 2015-forward.

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

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

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

Those using this data are urged to review the information on the database and methodology available on The Conference Board website and contact us with questions and comments. Background information and technical notes and discussion of revisions to the series are available at: http://www.conference

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.  For more information, please visit:

 The next release is Wednesday, August 11, 2020 at 10 AM.

U-6 Update

In July 2020, the regular unemployment rate fell .9% to 10.2% and the broader U-6 measure fell 1.5% to 16.5%.  Both of these percentages are almost totally due to the COVID-19 economic shutdown across the U.S and the May Reopening.

The above 16.5% 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 July U-6 numbers for the previous 17 years:

July 2019                    7.0%

July 2018                    7.5%

July 2017                    8.5%

July 2016                    9.7%

July 2015                    10.4%

July 2014                    12.2%

July 2013                    13.9%

July 2012                    14.9%

July 2011                    16.1%

July 2010                    16.5%

July 2009                    16.4%

July 2008                    10.4%

July 2007                    8.3%

July 2006                    8.5%

July 2005                    8.9%

July 2004                    9.5%

July 2003                    10.3%

The July 2020 BLS Analysis

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 1,800,000 in July.  These improvements in the labor market reflected the continued resumption of economic activity that had been curtailed due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and efforts to contain it.  In July, notable job gains also occurred in leisure and hospitality, government, retail trade, professional and business services, other services, and health care.
The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for May was revised up by 26,000, from +2,699,000 to +2,725,000, and the change for June was revised down by 9,000, from +4,800,000 to +4,791,000.  With these revisions, employment in May and June combined was 17,000 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 August 7th, 2020, the BLS published the most recent unemployment rate for July 2020 of 10.2% (actually, it is 10.220% down by .878%% from 11.098% in June.

The unemployment rate was determined by dividing the unemployed of 16,338,000

(–down from the month before by 1,412,000—since July 2019, this number has increased by 10,311,000) by the total civilian labor force of 159,870,000 (down by 62,000 from June 2020).  Since July 2019, our total civilian labor force has decreased by 3,503,000 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 260,373,000.  This is an increase of 169,000 from last month’s increase of 157,000.  In one year, this population has increased by 1,148,000. For the last 3 years the Civilian Noninstitutional Population has increased each month—except in December 2016, December 2018 & December 2019—by…)

Up from 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
Up from June 2017by194,000

This month the BLS has decreased the Civilian Labor Force to 159,870,000 (down from June by 62,000, 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 100,503,000 ‘Not in Labor Force’—up by 230,000 from last month’s 101,273,000.  In one year, this NILF population has increased by 4,651,000.  Almost all of this increase is because of the economic shutdown.  Also, 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—dropped .1% to 61.4%.  This ‘reopening’ rate is 1.0% 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 July was 6.6% (this rate was 1% higher than last month’s 6.5%).  Or, you can look at it another way.  We usually place people who have college degrees.  That unemployment rate in July was6.7% (this rate was .2% lower than last month’s 6.9%).

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 July 30th, the US Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) announced the real gross domestic product (GDP) decreased at an annual rate of <-32.9%> in the second quarter of 2020, according to the “advance” 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 source data that are incomplete or subject to further revision by the source agency.  The “second” estimate for the second quarter, based on more complete data, will be released on August 27, 2020.

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 personal consumption expenditures (PCE), exports, private inventory investment, nonresidential fixed 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 private inventory investment primarily reflected a decrease in retail (led by motor vehicle dealers).  The decrease in nonresidential fixed investment primarily reflected a decrease in equipment (led by transportation equipment), while the decrease in residential investment primarily reflected a decrease in new single-family housing.

Updates for the First Quarter of 2020

For the first quarter of 2020, real GDP is estimated to have decreased <-5.0%>, the same decrease as previously published.  An upward revision to private inventory investment was offset by a downward revision to exports and an upward revision to imports.

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, August 27, 2020 at 8:30 A.M. EDT
Gross Domestic Product, Second Quarter 2020 (Second Estimate)



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

There are five main sources of unemployment:

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

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

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

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

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

Other factors influencing the unemployment rate:

1.  Length of unemployment – Some studies indicate that an important factor influencing a worker’s decision to accept a new job is directly related to the length of the unemployment benefit they are receiving.  Currently, 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 July “management, professional and related” types of worker category, you will find the following rates:

July 2019                    2.4%

July 2018                    2.4%

July 2017                    2.7%

July 2016                    3.0%

July 2015                    3.1%

July 2014                    3.5%

July 2013                    4.1%

July 2012                    4.8%

July 2011                    5.0%

July 2010                    5.0%

July 2009                    5.5%

July 2008                    2.9%

July 2007                    2.5%

July 2006                    2.5%

July 2005                    2.7%

July 2004                    3.1%

July 2003                    3.7%

July 2002                    3.5%

July 2001                    2.2%

July 2000                    1.8%

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

July 2019                    2.2%

July 2018                    2.2%

July 2017                    2.3%

July 2016                    2.5%

July 2015                    2.5%

July 2014                    3.1%

July 2013                    3.8%

July 2012                    4.1%

July 2011                    4.3%

July 2010                    4.5%

July 2009                    4.7%

July 2008                    2.5%

July 2007                    2.1%

July 2006                    2.1%

July 2005                    2.4%

July 2004                    2.7%

July 2003                    3.1%

July 2002                    3.0%

July 2001                    2.2%

July 2000                    1.7%

The July 2020 rates for these two categories, 6.6% and 6.7%, 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