BLS Analysis for Recruiters June 2020

Bob Marshall’s June 2020 BLS Analysis for Recruiters; 7/2/20

June 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 Thursday, July 2nd, at 10:10AM eastern time the DJIA is at:


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!

“Negotiating Techniques – Adapted for the Tenured Recruiter”—A Thirteen-Part Series”; April-July 2020

We began this series on April 29, 2020.  Part Ten was just released last Tuesday, June 30th.  FYI, here are the 13 topics and the release dates:

April 29 – Intro & Part One – The 3 Definitions & 5 Principles of Negotiation

May 5 – Part Two – The First Key Element is Power; The Power of Competition; The Power of Legitimacy

May 12 – Part Three – Power; The Power of Risk-Taking; The Power of Commitment

May 19 – Part Four – Power; The Power of Expertise; The Power of the Knowledge of Needs

May 26 – Part Five – Power; The Power of Investment; The Power of Rewards or Punishing

June 2 – Part Six – Power; The Power of Identification; The Power of Morality

June 9 – Part Seven – Power; The Power of Precedent; The Power of Persistence

June 16 – Part Eight – Power; The Power of Persuasive Capacity; The Power of Attitude

June 23 – Part Nine – The Second Key Element is TIME

June 30 – Part Ten – The Third Key Element is INFORMATION

July 7 – Part Eleven – Negotiating Style – Winning at All Costs

July 14 – Part Twelve – Negotiating Style – Mutual Satisfaction

July 21 – Part Thirteen – Compare and Contrast the Two Negotiating Styles


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.

US Manufacturing Activity Expands, Posts Biggest Month-Over-Month Increase Since 1980

Daily News, July 1, 2020

US manufacturing activity expanded in June for the second month in a row after contracting sharply in April, the Institute for Supply Management announced today.  Its manufacturing PMI measure of manufacturing activity rose to a level of 52.6%, up from 43.1% in May.  That represents the biggest month-over-month increase since August 1980.

“As predicted, the growth cycle has returned after 3 straight months of Covid-19 disruptions,” said Timothy Fiore, chair of the institute’s Manufacturing Business Survey Committee.  “Demand, consumption and inputs are reaching parity and are positioned for a demand-driven expansion cycle as we enter the second half of the year.”

PMI readings above 42.8% over time generally indicate the overall expansion of the economy. June’s reading of 52.6% shows the overall economy grew in June and follows a small month-over-month increase in May with its reading of 43.1%.  The PMI had contracted in April when it sank to a reading of 41.5%.

The employment portion of the index in June rose to a reading of 42.1%, which still shows contraction in manufacturing employment.  However, that’s an improvement from the readings of 32.1% in May and 27.5% in April.

“This is the 11th consecutive month of employment contraction, but at a slower rate compared to May,” Fiore said.  “3 of the 6 big industry sectors experienced expansion, as stay-at-home orders were lifted, and more people returned to work.”

ISM’s report is based on data from purchasing and supply executives nationwide.

More Than Half of Industry Says Economy to Be Better by Year’s End

Daily News, June 29, 2020

The economy, hit hard by Covid-19, should improve by the end of this year, according to 56% of recruiting professionals surveyed by staffing software firm Bullhorn.  Only 2% believe there will be a sustained depression that extends past 2021.

It also found that 30% said their businesses were doing better than, or as well as, they were this time last year.  However, healthcare and IT staffing firms were most likely to observe stable performance and suffer dramatic losses.

“The impact of Covid-19 has been profound, but as always, optimism and opportunity abound amidst challenges,” said Gordon Burnes, chief marketing officer at Bullhorn.

“While respondents expect permanent changes to the industry, such as the rise of remote jobs, staffing and recruiting is still fundamentally about people,” Burnes said, “and the top priorities for agencies — improving client and candidate engagement — demonstrate that the path to success is through relationships.”

The survey took place in May and June in both North America and the UK.

Other findings in the report:

*42% say they have not reduced their internal workforces. However, 46% of North American firms laid off or furloughed employees and 82% of UK firms did.

*Reduction in job requests was the biggest customer-related challenge, according to 81% of those surveyed.

*The top challenge when acquiring new customers was hiring freezes, 72% said.

*64% expect remote jobs to be more common post-pandemic, and 57% expect contactless recruiting to become more prevalent.

Financial Services Professionals Confident in Job Security Despite Negative Economy

Daily News, June 24, 2020

Financial services professionals are confident in their job security despite a negative economic outlook, according to a new global study by Selby Jennings, Phaidon International Group’s brand targeting the financial services industry.

More than half of global respondents, 57%, feel confident in keeping their jobs over the next 6 months, despite 62% foreseeing a worsening economy over the next year.

However, 75% of US financial services professionals surveyed are still willing to consider relocation for a new career opportunity.  Regional analysis revealed that much of this willingness is to move within the professional’s current region, perhaps out of a city center to more suburban areas.  Those willing to relocate expect a new employer to play a large role in relocation; with 64% expecting assistance with moving expenses.

The survey found 49% of financial services professionals are satisfied with their current role, and 33% of respondents are even planning to leave within the 6 months.  In Europe, only 43% indicated satisfaction with their current role, and 42% are considering an exit.  And 70% of professionals globally reported career progression, not compensation, as the most important motivational factor.

The inaugural Selby Jennings Job Confidence Index engaged more than 900 experienced financial services professionals worldwide.  Professionals were surveyed in the APAC region from February to March, and in the US and Europe from March to April.  These survey periods roughly coincided with the timeline of the Covid-19 outbreaks in the respective regions.

More Than Half of Office Professionals Second-Guessed Careers Amid Pandemic: Robert Half

Daily News, June 17, 2020

After months of maneuvering through the coronavirus crisis, many employees are rethinking what is most important when it comes to their career, suggests new research from global staffing firm Robert Half International Inc.  And as businesses focus on the future and when hiring ramps up, workers may begin to explore their options.

More than half of office professionals surveyed, 57%, said they have experienced a shift in their feelings toward work due to the pandemic.  Of those, 60% are more motivated to be employed at an organization that values its staff during unpredictable times; 40% will prioritize their personal life over their job moving forward; and 33% want to pursue a more meaningful or fulfilling position.

“This has been a time of reflection and reprioritization for businesses and people,” said Paul McDonald, senior executive director of Robert Half.  “Purpose is at the forefront of everyone’s mind right now, and professionals are assessing whether their company’s values align with their own.”

Additional findings include:

*More employees ages 25 to 40 (68%) experienced a change of perspective due to the pandemic than respondents ages 41 to 54 (45%) and 55 and older (40%).

*Of respondents who said their feelings shifted during Covid-19:

*More women (65%) than men (56%) expressed interest in working for a company that appreciates its employees during uncertain times.

*Nearly an equal number of working parents (41%) and professionals without children (39%) reported a desire to place greater focus on personal versus professional activities.

The online survey was developed by Robert Half and conducted by an independent research firm from May 14 to May 19.  It included responses from more than 1,000 workers 18 years of age or older and normally employed in office environments in the US.

IT Employment Posts Biggest Decline in 15 Years, but Still Performs Better Than Total Workforce

Daily News, June 11, 2020

IT employment in the US fell by 1.63% in May compared to April for a total of some 5,200,000 jobs, according to the TechServe Alliance, a trade association for the IT and engineering staffing and solutions industry.  TechServe Alliance CEO Mark Roberts said the decline wasn’t a surprise, but it was 15 years ago — during the dot-com bust — when a drop of this magnitude was last seen.

“Given that there was a long-standing labor shortage in IT preceding the Covid-19 induced decline, IT employment will fare far better than most other sectors in the inevitable recovery, Roberts said.

On a year-over-year basis, IT jobs were down 2.5%. This is better than the 11.7% decline in the total workforce.

Separately, engineering employment increased by 0.21% in Mary compared to April for a total of some 2,500,00 jobs.  The decline is also smaller than the 6.5% month-over-month decrease in April.

On a year-over-year basis, engineering jobs were down 5.43% in May.

Remote Working Options are Most Significant Benefit from Pandemic, Say Third of Hiring Managers

Daily News, June 10, 2020

A third of hiring manager say fully remote working options are the most significant benefit to be implemented during the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a survey of 500 hiring managers in the US by staffing firm Addison Group.

Other findings in the report include 56% of hiring managers said this is the first time they performed hiring activities remotely; 26% are prioritizing remote technology skills in new candidates; and 24% plan to focus hiring on part-time, contract-to-hire and freelance employees.

In addition, 18% expect fully remote options to be in place permanently even after the pandemic and 21% cited virtual interviewing as being put in place permanently.

“The future is not entirely clear for many organizations, but the pandemic has put a spotlight on what aspects of the hiring process work and do not work amid a crisis,” said Tom Moran, CEO of Addison Group.

The report also found 89% adjusted their hiring strategies during the pandemic. Changes included:

*58% implemented a hiring freeze

*33% fulfilled roles internally

*32% reduced/laid off recruiting staff

*31% decreased hiring budget

*26% shifted from full-time to part-time contract hires

*25% expedited hiring

More Than Half of Workplaces Plan to Reopen by July 15

Daily News, June 9, 2020

Workplaces will soon be reopening with 53% planning to reopen by July 15, according to a survey by the Society for Human Resource Management.  Another 45% have yet to set a return date.

Still, it won’t be businesses as usual.

“Workers should expect to see more masks, fewer handshakes, marked floors, more barriers and greater flexibility — especially when it comes to remote work,” said Johnny Taylor Jr., president and CEO of SHRM.

Other findings in the report included:

*68% of organizations probably or definitely will adopt broader or more flexible work-from-home policies for all workers.

*29% probably or definitely will allow workers to work from home full-time through the rest of 2020.

*86% of organizations are implementing or considering the required use of personal protective equipment such as masks and gloves.  Of those firms, 80% are providing and paying for PPE.

*73% of organizations are implementing or considering on-site medical/temperature screenings.

*59% say childcare accommodations will be handled on a case-by-case basis; only 7% are considering or providing on-site childcare services.

The survey included 1,087 HR professionals; it was conducted May 13 through May 20, 2020.

More Temps, New Roles, Fewer People Working in Offices: Trends Amid Covid

Daily News, June 5, 2020

More temporary staff and fewer people in the office are among 4 employment trends to watch amid the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a survey of employers by TrueBlue Inc.

The full 4 employment trends to watch are:

I. Wider adoption of emerging jobs – New roles were created during the pandemic to protect public health and may be around for a while:

*Health and safety stewards provide deep cleaning and ongoing sanitization services for retailers, restaurants, gyms, retirement homes and other facilities.  They may work alone or oversee a crew of trained associates, following industry-specific cleaning checklists.

*Health monitors check temperatures of people entering a building, helping to enforce safety protocols if someone is sick.

*Decontamination technicians operate systems to sterilize hospital gowns and masks for reuse and check for quality.

*Reconfiguration specialists are skilled trades professionals who help companies modify facility layouts for social distancing, install glass partitions, set up outside seating, etc.

II. More temporary and part-time staff – Similar to staffing patterns that followed other economic downturns, 40% of employers expect to rely more on temporary workers once Covid-19 ends.  Employers also said they plan to employ more part-time, permanent staff and outsource more work.

III. Fewer people in the office – 60% of employers have been providing remote work options for their employees during the pandemic.  Of these employers, more than half, 54%, said they are open to more employees working from home after the pandemic ends if productivity levels are maintained.

IV. Heightened safety measures to become routine – 86% of employers said that, when Covid-19 has passed, they will continue to enforce strict health and safety guidelines that are currently in place from increased sanitization and use of personal protective equipment to temperature checks and social distancing. 

TrueBlue’s survey also found 75% of employers said their business declined during the pandemic but most believe business activity will return to normal by the end of the year, if not sooner.  However, 18% are concerned their business may not survive Covid-19.

They survey included 580 employers in the US and was conducted online by TrueBlue and its PeopleReady subsidiary between April 21 and May 27.

The new ADP/Moody’s National Employment Report: Private Sector Employment Increased by 2,369,000 Jobs in June

July 1, 2020

Private sector employment decreased by 2,369,000 jobs from May to June according to the June 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.

*Note:  The May total of jobs added was revised from <-2,760,000> to 3,065,000.

Total U.S. Nonfarm Private Employment:             2,369,000

By Company Size

Small businesses:                   937,000

1-19 employees                       574,000

20-49 employees                     363,000

Medium businesses:              559,000

50-499 employees                   559,000

Large businesses:                 873,000

500-999 employees                 101,000

1,000+ employees                   772,000

By Sector

I.  Goods-producing:                                457,000

A.  Natural resources/mining                          <-26,000>

B.  Construction                                                394,000

C.  Manufacturing                                               88,000

II.  Service-providing:                            1,912,000

A.  Trade/transportation/utilities                        288,000

B.  Information                                                <-50,000>

C.  Financial activities                                                     65,000

D.  Professional/business services                     151,000

                        1.  Professional/technical services                              = 10,000

                        2.  Management of companies/enterprises                  <-29,000>

                        3.  Administrative/support services                              169,000

            E.  Education/health services                              283,000

                        1.  Health care/social assistance                                    246,000

                        2.  Education                                                                   36,000

            F.  Leisure/hospitality                                         961,000

            G.  Other services                                                215,000

Franchise Employment

Franchise Jobs                        4,500

“Small business hiring picked up in the month of June,” said Ahu Yildirmaz, vice president and co-head of the ADP Research Institute.  “As the economy slowly continues to recover, we are seeing a significant rebound in industries that once experienced the greatest job losses.  In fact, 70% of the jobs added this month were in the leisure and hospitality, trade and construction industries.”

(The July 2020 ADP National Employment Report will be released at 8:15 a.m. ET on August 5, 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.

June 2020 Small Business Report Highlights

Total Small Business Employment:             937,000

●By Size  
►1-19 employees 574,000
►20-49 employees 363,000
●By Sector for 1-49 Employees  
►Goods Producing 208,000
►Service Producing 729,000
●By Sector for 1-19 Employees  
►Goods Producing 136,000
►Service Producing 438,000
●By Sector for 20-49 Employees  
►Goods Producing 72,000
►Service Producing 291,000

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 – April 2020

June 9, 2020

The number of total separations decreased by 4,800,000 to 9,900,000 in April, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.  Despite the over the month decline, the total separations level is the 2nd highest in series history.  Within separations, the quits rate fell to 1.4% and the layoffs and discharges rate decreased to 5.9%.  Job openings decreased to 5,000,000 on the last business day of April.  Over the month, hires declined to 3,500,000, a series low.  The changes in these measures reflect the effects of 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 April, the number of job openings declined to 5,000,000

(-965,000).  The job openings rate was little changed at 3.7%.  Job openings fell in total private (-883,000) and in government (-82,000).  Among the industries, the largest declines were in professional and business services (-309,000), health care and social assistance (-115,000), and retail trade (-113,000).  The number of job openings decreased in all 4 regions.


In April, the number and rate of hires decreased to series lows of 3,500,000 (-1,587,000) and 2.7%, respectively.  The hires level decreased for total private (-1,439,000) and for government (-148,000).  Hires decreased in a number of industries, with the largest declines in professional and business services (-422,000), accommodation and food services (-247,000), and construction (-196,000).  The number of hires decreased 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 April, the number and rate of total separations decreased to 9,900,000 (-4,755,000) and 7.5%, respectively.  Total separations decreased in many industries, with the largest decreases in accommodation and food services (-3,001,000), professional and business services (-473,000), and retail trade (-460,000).  The number of total separations increased in real estate and rental and leasing (+47,000), state and local government, excluding education (+46,000), and information (+42,000).  Total separations decreased in all 4 regions.

In April, the number and rate of quits decreased to 1,800,000 (-1,003,000) and 1.4%, respectively.  Quits fell to 1,600,000 (-976,000) for total private and 143,000 (-27,000) for government.  Quits decreased in a number of industries, with the largest decreases in accommodation and food services (-249,000) and professional and business services

(-216,000).  The number of quits decreased in all 4 regions.

The number and rate of layoffs and discharges decreased in April to 7,700,000 (3,773,000) and 5.9%, respectively.  The number of layoffs and discharges decreased for total private to 7,500,000 (-3,816,000) but increased for government to 216,000 (+43,000).  The layoffs and discharges level decreased significantly in several industries.  The majority of the decline occurred in accommodation and food services (-2,738,000) followed by retail trade (-338,000).  Layoffs and discharges increased in construction (+85,000), information (+53,000), and wholesale trade (+50,000).  The number of layoffs and discharges decreased in all 4 regions.

The number of other separations was little changed in April.  The other separations level was little changed for total private and for government.  Other separations increased in professional and business services (+29,000) and health care and social assistance (+19,000).  The number of other separations decreased in accommodation and food services (-15,000).  Other separations were 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 April, hires totaled 67,200,000 and separations totaled 81,100,000, yielding a net employment loss of 13,900,000.  These totals include workers who may have been hired and separated more than once during the year.


The Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey estimates for May 2020 are scheduled to be released on Tuesday, July 7, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. (EDT).


As we recruiters know, that 5,000,000 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 5,000,000 published job openings now become a total of 25,000,000 published AND hidden job orders.



Online Labor Demand Continued to Fall in May

June 10, 2020


The Conference Board®-Burning Glass® Help Wanted OnLine™ (HWOL) Index fell in May and now stands at 70.3 (July 2018=100), down from an upwardly revised 88.6 in April.  The Index declined 10.0% from March to April and is down 31.6% from a year ago.

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


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

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

The Conference Board®-Burning Glass® Help Wanted OnLine™ (HWOL)

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

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

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

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

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 Technologiesdelivers 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, July 15th, 2020 at 10 AM.

U-6 Update

In June 2020, the regular unemployment rate fell 2.2% to 11.1% and the broader U-6 measure fell 3.2% to 18.0%.  Both of these percentages are almost totally due to the COVID-19 economic shutdown across the U.S and the May Reopening.

The above 18.0% 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 JuneU-6 numbers for the previous 17 years:

June 2019                    7.2%

June 2018                    7.8%

June 2017                    8.5%

June 2016                    9.6%

June 2015                    10.5%

June 2014                    12.0%

June 2013                    14.2%

June 2012                    14.8%

June 2011                    16.2%

June 2010                    16.5%

June 2009                    16.5%

June 2008                    10.1%

June 2007                    8.3%

June 2006                    8.4%

June 2005                    9.0%

June 2004                    9.6%

June 2003                    10.3%

The June 2020 BLS Analysis

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 4,800,000 in June.  These improvements in the labor market reflected the continued resumption of economic activity that had been curtailed in March and April due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and efforts to contain it.  In June, employment in leisure and hospitality rose sharply.  Notable job gains also occurred in retail trade, education and health services, other services, manufacturing, and professional and business services.
The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for April was revised down by 100,000, from -20,700,000 to -20,800,000, and the change for May was revised up by 190,000, from +2,500,000 to +2,700,000.  With these revisions, employment changes in April and May combined were 90,000 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 July 2nd, 2020, the BLS published the most recent unemployment rate for June 2020 of 11.1% (actually, it is 11.098%, down by 2.165% from 13.263% in May.

The unemployment rate was determined by dividing the unemployed of 17,750,000

(–down from the month before by 3,235,000—since June 2019, this number has increased by 11,765,000) by the total civilian labor force of 159,932,000 (up by 1,705,000 from May 2020).  Since June 2019, our total civilian labor force has decreased by 3,201,000 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 260,204,000.  This is an increase of 157,000 from last month’s increase of 151,000.  In one year, this population has increased by 1,167,000. For the last 3 years the Civilian Noninstitutional Population has increased each month—except in December 2016, December 2018 & December 2019—by…)

Up from 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
Up from May 2017by173,000

This month the BLS has decreased the Civilian Labor Force to 159,932,000 (up from May by 1,705,000, 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 100,272,000 ‘Not in Labor Force’—down by 1,547,000 from last month’s 101,820,000.  In one year, this NILF population has increased by 4,368,000.  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—remained at 61.5%.  This ‘reopening’ rate is .9% 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 June was 6.5% (this rate was 1% lower than last month’s 6.6%).  Or, you can look at it another way.  We usually place people who have college degrees.  That unemployment rate in June was6.9% (this rate was .5% lower than last month’s 7.4%).

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”

*Note:  For obvious reasons (the forced shutdown of the US economy because of the COVID-19 pandemic), I was a little reluctant to publish this quarter’s GDP report.  But, in my continuing quest for a return to normalcy, I will share this info with you.  Just keep in mind that making any major business decisions based on these numbers is not advised!
On June 25th, the US Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) announced the real gross domestic product (GDP) decreased at an annual rate of <-5.0%> in the first quarter of 2020, according to the "third" estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis.  In the fourth quarter, real GDP increased 2.1%.

The GDP estimate released today is based on more complete source data than were available for the “second” estimate issued last month.  In the second estimate, the decrease in real GDP was also 5.0%.  With the third estimate, an upward revision to nonresidential fixed investment was offset by downward revisions to private inventory investment, personal consumption expenditures (PCE), and exports.

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

The decline in first quarter GDP reflected the response to the spread of COVID-19, as governments issued “stay-at-home” orders in March. This led to rapid changes in demand, as businesses and schools switched to remote work or canceled operations, and consumers canceled, restricted, or redirected their spending. The full economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic cannot be quantified in the GDP estimate for the first quarter of 2020 because the impacts are generally embedded in source data and cannot be separately identified.

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

The decrease in PCE reflected a decrease in services, led by health care as well as food services and accommodations. The decrease in private inventory investment was mainly in manufacturing, led by petroleum and coal products. The decrease in exports primarily reflected a decrease in services, led by travel. The decrease in nonresidential fixed investment primarily reflected a decrease in equipment, led by transportation equipment.

Updates to GDP

In the third estimate, first-quarter real GDP decreased 5.0% from the fourth quarter, unrevised from the second estimate. An upward revision to nonresidential fixed investment was offset by downward revisions to private inventory investment, PCE, and exports.  

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, July 30, 2020 at 8:30 A.M. EDT
Gross Domestic Product, Second Quarter 2020 (Advance Estimate) and Annual Update



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

There are five main sources of unemployment:

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

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

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

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

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

Other factors influencing the unemployment rate:

1.  Length of unemployment – Some studies indicate that an important factor influencing a worker’s decision to accept a new job is directly related to the length of the unemployment benefit they are receiving.  Currently, in 2019, workers in most states are eligible for up to 26 weeks of benefits from the regular state-funded unemployment compensation program.  One state (MT) offers more and ten states offer less.  Studies suggest that additional weeks of benefits reduce the incentive of the unemployed to seek and accept less-desirable jobs.

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


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

If you look at the past 20 years of unemployment in the June “management, professional and related” types of worker category, you will find the following rates:

June 2019                    2.4%

June 2018                    2.5%

June 2017                    2.3%

June 2016                    2.8%

June 2015                    2.9%

June 2014                    3.5%

June 2013                    4.2%

June 2012                    4.4%

June 2011                    4.7%

June 2010                    4.9%

June 2009                    5.0%

June 2008                    2.7%

June 2007                    2.3%

June 2006                    2.4%

June 2005                    2.6%

June 2004                    2.9%

June 2003                    3.5%

June 2002                    3.3%

June 2001                    2.1%

June 2000                    1.7%

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

June 2019                    2.1%

June 2018                    2.3%

June 2017                    2.3%

June 2016                    2.6%

June 2015                    2.5%

June 2014                    3.3%

June 2013                    3.9%

June 2012                    4.1%

June 2011                    4.4%

June 2010                    4.4%

June 2009                    4.7%

June 2008                    2.4%

June 2007                    2.0%

June 2006                    2.1%

June 2005                    2.3%

June 2004                    2.7%

June 2003                    3.1%

June 2002                    3.0%

June 2001                    2.1%

June 2000                    1.6%

The June 2020 rates for these two categories, 6.5% and 6.9%, 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