BLS Analysis for Recruiters – March 2023

Bob Marshall’s March 2023 BLS Analysis for Recruiters;


March BLS Preface

TBMG Coaching Updates and Product News:

Time to engage a Coach?

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

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

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

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

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

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

3-month, Platinum Plan

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

1-month, Gold Plan

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

Every other week, Silver Plan

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

Hourly, Bronze Plan

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

Our new TBMG Training Program:



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

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

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

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

Small Business Owners’ Confidence in US Economy Declines in Q1, Inflation Top Challenge

Daily News, March 31, 2023

The measure of small business owners’ confidence in the US economy fell this quarter to 60 from a reading of 62.1 in the fourth quarter, according to the US Chamber of Commerce’s Small Business Index released this week. 54% of small businesses cited inflation as a top challenge.

“This quarter, small businesses’ concerns over inflation are soaring and their view of the broader economy is darkening, though they still report that their businesses are in good health,” said Tom Sullivan, VP of small business policy at the US Chamber of Commerce. “Small business owners are pulling back a bit on spending as they see storm clouds in the economy appearing ahead.”

The percentage of small business owners who believe the economy is in good health fell to 20% in this quarter from 27% reported in the fourth quarter. In addition, fewer small businesses, 38%, said they plan to increase investment over the next year, down from 47% in the previous quarter.

However, despite small business owners seeing a weak economy, a majority (63%) said their business is in good health, and 64% are comfortable with their cash flow. 7 in 10 said they have retained the same number of employees over the past year, and 19% report increasing staff over the same period, according to the report.

The survey is part of a multiyear collaboration by MetLife and the US Chamber of Commerce. The quarterly index is an online survey of approximately 750 small business owners and decision-makers. It was conducted between Jan. 16 and Feb. 2.

Nearly Half of Professionals Currently Use ChatGPT in the Workplace: Korn Ferry

Daily News, March 29, 2023

Nearly half of professionals, 46%, are currently using OpenAI’s language model, ChatGPT, as part of their daily work, according to a survey by Korn Ferry. 83% said they plan on using the AI in the future.

However, fewer than half, 43%, said they trust that ChatGPT will provide accurate results. 

“ChatGPT is a useful tool, but it shouldn’t replace the personalized approach people bring to their daily work or even job searches,” said Brad Frank, senior client partner at Korn Ferry’s technology practice. “ChatGPT can streamline the process but should always be checked for both accuracy and the nuances that make a candidate or employee stand out.”

More than half of the respondents, 54%, said beyond using it in their daily work, they would use ChatGPT to craft their résumé. Meanwhile, 80% of survey respondents said they believe ChatGPT is a legitimate, beneficial work tool that is here to stay, and 24% said their employers are already encouraging the use of ChatGPT in the workplace.

“This new technology has the ability to streamline workflows so team members can focus on important value-generating initiatives such as client service and innovation,” Frank said.

For the report, Korn Ferry surveyed 312 professionals in early March.

Employers Increase Tech Budgets to Improve Hiring Efficiency

Daily News, March 24, 2023

Some employers are increasing tech budgets to improve hiring efficiency as talent shortages persist, according to HireVue’s global trends survey. The report found that 30% of employers increased hiring budgets while 50% reported a greater emphasis on internal mobility, especially in sectors that experienced more hiring freezes or layoffs.

“This year’s survey confirms that we’re at an inflection point in global workforce trends, where demand for new skills is colliding with changing candidate demographics and expectations,” said Anthony Reynolds, CEO at HireVue. “The good news is that many job seekers are pausing searches to stay longer-term in careers at companies that will help them upskill, reskill and grow. Equally, employers are willing to fill new roles by retaining and investing in their current team members.”

The report also found that employers are exploring alternatives to traditional hiring approaches such as relying solely on résumés. Instead, almost half of those surveyed, 48%, adopted a skills-first approach to talent acquisition, forgoing education requirements and past work experience.

In addition, organizations are prioritizing hiring technology to efficiently validate candidate skills amid changing requirements. Of the leaders surveyed, 58% leveraged standardized assessments, 32% implemented game-based assessments and 40% added chatbots or text recruiting to their processes, according to the report.

For the report, HireVue surveyed more than 4,000 talent leaders across the software, finance and retail industries. In addition to talent leaders, HireVue surveyed 1,000 US candidates about how the current economic state affects their job search.

Candidates want Flexibility: Express Employment Professionals

Daily News, March 22, 2023

Although US workers increasingly seek flexibility in non-traditional benefits — including more control over work hours and location — less than 50% of businesses offer these benefits, according to the recently released survey from The Harris Poll commissioned by Express Employment Professionals.

The survey found that 59% of hiring managers report offering paid leave, including paid maternity (47%), paternity (33%), paid parental leave for parents fostering and/or adopting (24%) and/or paid caregiver leave such as for those caring for elderly parents (15%). Other benefits offered to employees include flexible work hours (47%), flexible work location (40%), the ability to work part time (40%) and/or unpaid parental leave (33%).

However, the report noted a gap between the benefits companies currently offer and what employees deem important. It found 62% of employees believe it is important for a company to offer flexible work, while 51% want flexible work locations, 48% prioritize paid leave and 36% prioritize shortened work weeks; conversely, less than half of hiring decision makers report their companies offer these benefits.

The report also found that 54% of US hiring managers anticipate traditional benefits to remain the same in 2023, with only 37% expecting an increase in traditional benefits this year, down from 50% in 2022. 

“Finding qualified employees continues to be a challenge, and from these statistics, it’s clear job seekers value flexibility in their careers,” Express Employment International CEO Bill Stoller said. “Benefits play an important part in a healthy and dedicated company culture, and even small offerings can go a long way toward recruiting and retention in this competitive environment.”

Additional findings:

  • 64% of hiring managers report their company has modified benefits to retain current employees or attract new ones. 
  • About three in 10 hiring managers say they have increased the amount of paid time off offered to employees, while 27% report their company has offered additional healthcare incentives such as gym memberships or mental health resources.
  • 63% of employed Americans would quit their job and find one closer to where they live because of the current commuting cost.

The Job Insights survey was conducted between Dec. 1 and Dec. 15, 2022, among 1,002 adult US hiring decision makers who are employed full time or self-employed.

72% of Tech Executive Plan to Grow Revenue in 2023, Focus on Cost Cutting: Gartner

Daily News, March 20, 2023

Despite the current economic uncertainty, 72% of high-tech leaders in the US, Canada, and Western Europe have plans to grow revenue in 2023, according to a survey released today by Gartner. Nearly half of those leaders believe they will be able to outperform their competition.

According to the report, many technology leaders entered 2023 prepared for a potential recession. However, many of the actions taken concentrated on reducing costs rather than focusing on growing revenue and market relevance. The top cost-cutting action already taken by technology service providers is “slowed down hiring for open/new positions,” cited by 55% of survey respondents, followed by “implemented spending cuts across the board,” cited by 52%.

“Outperforming the market through an uncertain market requires an above-average ability to execute on revenue ambitions,” said Gartner VP Mark McDonald. “The survey results indicate that almost half of the firms (46%) do not have a sufficient ability to execute to reliably realize their revenue goals.”

Meanwhile, Gartner forecasts overall IT spending will grow 2.4% in 2023, with enterprise IT spending projected to grow 4.1%. The report noted that the context of IT spending is changing as buyers increasingly value and make investments in business outcomes rather than buying solutions.

For the report, Gartner surveyed 195 respondents in the US, Canada, the UK, France and Germany in the second half of 2022 to understand how economic turbulence poses challenges to general managers.

82% of US Workers More Likely to Apply to Jobs with Listed Pay Range: SHRM

March 15, 2023

Organizations with pay transparency are more likely to attract qualified job applicants, according to a survey by the Society for Human Resource Management. The report found that 82% of US workers are more likely to consider applying to a job if the pay range was listed in the job posting.

“The path toward equity requires more than recognizing that there are systemic gaps that adversely impact one group over another and then addressing them proactively,” said Emily Dickens, SHRM’s chief of staff and head of public affairs. “It requires more directed education on the compensation process, increased engagement with compensation specialists and HR professionals, and an understanding of how to leverage one’s talent through personal advocacy when armed with this information and allyship within the organization.” 

The report also found that 74% of US workers are less interested in applying to job postings without a pay range, while 73% are more likely to trust organizations that list pay range than those that do not.

42% of the HR professionals surveyed said their organization operates in a location that requires pay ranges to be included in job postings. However, when not required by law, more than two-thirds of HR professionals, 67%, say their organization voluntarily lists start pay in their job postings sometimes, often, or always.

SHRM surveyed 1,386 HR professionals across the US from Feb. 21 to Feb. 27 for the report. 

Salary transparency in job postings, even when not required: Hiring Lab

Separately, Indeed reported Tuesday that research from its Hiring Lab found than 43.7% of US job postings on Indeed now include employer-provided salary information, an increase of 137% in the last 3 years, due in large part to the introduction of transparency legislation and the tight US labor market — and the trend continues to rise.

Despite the overall increase in salary visibility in postings, the numbers vary significantly based on geography and occupation. 

Pay transparency requirements and tight labor market conditions are influencing higher rates of salary advertising in US job postings on Indeed. While some of the fastest increases in transparency are occurring in areas with active pay disclosure requirements, locations without regulations are rising significantly as well. In the last year, there has also been a surge in the share of high-wage jobs openly advertising salaries as employers seek ways to attract workers in the hot labor market.

According to the research, salary transparency tends to be highest in the West, where regulations are more common, and lowest in the South. Job postings for roles in childcare, security and public safety, and the dental fields are the most transparent, while positions in engineering and banking and finance typically offer less salary information in postings. Over the last year, the most significant rise in transparency has occurred in high-wage jobs, which have historically provided less pay information upfront.

US Hiring Outlook Remains Strong for Q2 Despite Concerns Over Recession, Layoffs: ManpowerGroup

Daily News, March 14, 2023

Despite recessionary concerns and layoffs, the US hiring outlook for the second quarter remains strong, according to the ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook released today. The net employment outlook now stands at 30%, up 1% from last quarter and down 5% year over year.

The net employment outlook is calculated by subtracting the percentage of employers who anticipate reductions to staffing levels from those who plan to hire.

“This labor market continues to defy signs of economic gravity with another robust hiring outlook for the quarter ahead,” said Becky Frankiewicz, ManpowerGroup chief commercial officer and North America president. “Employers are still impacted by pandemic paranoia — they remember how long it took to bring workers back and are holding onto and hiring business critical talent. We’re still seeing a concentration of demand in our real-time data, and this survey reflects concentration too, with IT leading the way in hiring plans despite layoffs dominating the headlines.”

The report found that despite high-profile layoffs, the IT sector reports the strongest hiring outlook of all sectors at 34%.

The overall hiring expectations in North America are the highest of all world regions. However, both the US and Canada expect hiring to be weaker compared to last year.

Globally, the strongest hiring intentions are among organizations in Panama (41%), Costa Rica (38%) and Guatemala (38%). The least optimistic outlooks were reported by employers in Hungary (2%), Greece (7%) and Poland (8%).

ManpowerGroup’s survey included nearly 39,000 employers in 41 countries.

Tech-Sector Employment Falls by 11,184 Jobs in February: CompTIA

Daily News, March 13, 2023

Tech-sector employment fell by 11,184 positions in February, according to CompTIA’s analysis of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics job report data.

The analysis noted that tech manufacturing added a net new 2,800 jobs, the fifth consecutive month of positive gains. However, all other tech subsectors experienced net employment losses for the month. As a percentage of the tech sector’s total base of employment, the losses represent a fraction of one percent, 0.2%.

“As expected, the lag in labor market data means prior layoffs announcements are now appearing in BLS reporting,” said Tim Herbert, chief research officer of CompTIA. “Context is critical. The recent pullback represents a relatively small fraction of the massive tech workforce. The long-term outlook remains unchanged, with demand for tech talent powering employment gains across the economy.”

CompTIA also found employer job postings for tech positions declined by about 40,000 to just over 229,000 in February. Most metropolitan markets experienced fallbacks from January to February, with a few exceptions. However, Seattle saw job postings increase by just over 10% to nearly 4,100 for the month.

Among industries, the largest number of job postings for tech positions occurred in the professional, scientific and tech services industry sectors.

ADP National Employment Report: Over 70% of New Job Creations Comes From Small Establishments.  Private Sector Employment Increased by 145,000 Jobs in March; Annual Pay was Up 6.9%

ROSELAND, N.J. – April 5, 2023

Private sector employment increased by 145,000 jobs in March and annual pay was up 6.9% year-over-year, according to the March ADP® National Employment Report TM produced by the ADP Research Institute® in collaboration with the Stanford Digital Economy Lab (“Stanford Lab”).

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

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

* Sum of components may not equal total, due to rounding. The February total of jobs added was revised from 242,000 to 261,000.

“Our March payroll data is one of several signals that the economy is slowing,” said Nela Richardson, chief economist, ADP. “Employers are pulling back from a year of strong hiring and pay growth, after a 3-month plateau, is inching down.”


Private employers added 145,000 jobs in March.  The job market is beginning to find its balance as consumer demand ebbs and the cost of borrowing goes up. 

Change in U.S. Private Employment: 145,000

Change by Industry Sector

Goods-producing: 70,000

Natural resources/mining 47,000

Construction 53,000

Manufacturing -30,000

Service-providing: 75,000

Trade/transportation/utilities 56,000

Information -7,000

Financial activities -51,000

Professional/business services -46,000

Education/health services 17,000

Leisure/hospitality 98,000

Other services 8,000

Change by U.S. Regions

Northeast: 141,000

New England 41,000

Middle Atlantic 100,000

Midwest: 132,000

East North Central 84,000

West North Central 48,000

South: -228,000

South Atlantic -60,000

East South Central -87,000

West South Central -81,000

West: 95,000

Mountain -5,000

Pacific 100,000

Change by Establishment Size

Small establishments: 101,000

1-19 employees 38,000

20-49 employees 63,000

Medium establishments: 33,000

50-249 employees 75,000

250-499 employees -42,000

Large establishments: 10,000

500+ employees 10,000


Pay gains fell faster in March

Pay growth decelerated for both job stayers and job changers.

For job stayers, year-over-year gains fell to 6.9% from 7.2% in February.

Pay growth for job changers was 14.2%, down from 14.4%.

Median Change in Annual Pay (ADP matched person sample)

Job-Stayers 6.9%

Job-Changers 14.2%

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


Natural resources/mining 7.3%

Construction 7.0%

Manufacturing 6.5%


Trade/transportation/utilities 7.0%

Information 6.3%

Financial activities 6.8%

Professional/business services 6.4%

Education/health services 7.2%

Leisure/hospitality 9.6%

Other services 6.6%

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

Small firms:

1-19 employees 5.5%

20-49 employees 6.9%

Medium firms:

50-249 employees 7.2%

250-499 employees 7.1%

Large firms:

500+ employees 7.0%

The April 2023 ADP National Employment Report will be released at 8:15 a.m. ET on May 3, 2023.

Bottom-line:  To my audience of recruiters, always remember this:  Our ‘bread and butter’, especially on the contingency side of the house, has historically been, and continues to be, small and medium-sized client companies.  Along with the large companies, these companies need to be included in your niche!

Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary – February 2023

April 4, 2023     

The number of job openings decreased to 9,900,000 on the last business day of February, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Over the month, the number of hires and total separations changed little at 6,200,000 and 5,800,000, respectively. Within separations, quits (4,000,000) edged up, while layoffs and discharges (1,500,000) decreased. This release includes estimates of the number and rate of job openings, hires, and separations for the total nonfarm sector, by industry, and by establishment size class.

Job Openings

On the last business day of February, the number and rate of job openings decreased to 9,900,000 (-632,000) and 6.0%, respectively. The largest decreases in job openings were in professional and business services (-278,000); health care and social assistance

(-150,000); and transportation, warehousing, and utilities (-145,000). The number of job openings increased in construction (+129,000) and in arts, entertainment, and recreation (+38,000).


In February, the number and rate of hires changed little at 6,200,000 and 4.0%, respectively. Hires increased in the federal government (+8,000).


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

In February, the number of total separations changed little at 5,800,000. The rate was little changed at 3.7%. The number of total separations decreased in transportation, warehousing, and utilities (-45,000) but increased in educational services (+21,000)

In February, the number of quits edged up to 4,000,000 (+146,000), and the rate was little changed at 2.6%. Quits increased in professional and business services (+115,000); accommodation and food services (+93,000); wholesale trade (+31,000); and educational services (+18,000). The number of quits decreased in finance and insurance (-39,000).

In February, the number of layoffs and discharges decreased to 1,500,000 (-215,000). The rate was little changed at 1.0%. Layoffs and discharges decreased in professional and business services (-157,000).

The number of other separations was little changed in February at 291,000. Other separations increased in finance and insurance (+19,000) and in wholesale trade (+10,000).

Establishment Size Class

In February, establishments with 1 to 9 employees saw little change in their job openings rate, hires rate, and total separations rate; but the layoffs and discharges rate decreased. Establishments with more than 5,000 employees saw little change in their hires rate and total separations rate while the job openings rate decreased.


The Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey estimates for March 2023 are scheduled to be released on Tuesday, May 2, 2023, at 10:00 a.m. (ET).

As we recruiters know, that 9,900,000 number only represents 20% of the jobs currently available in the marketplace.  The other 80% of job openings are unpublished and are filled through networking or word of mouth or by using a RECRUITER.   So, those 9,900,000 published job openings now become a total of 49,500,000 published AND hidden job orders.



Online Labor Demand Rises in February

March 15, 2023

The Conference Board−Lightcast Help Wanted OnLine® (HWOL) Index rose in February to 167.9 (July 2018=100), up from 165.1 in January. The 1.7% increase between January and February follows a 3.6% decrease between December and January. Overall, the Index is down 5.1% from 1 year ago.

The Conference Board-Lightcast Help Wanted OnLine® (HWOL) Index measures the change in advertised online job vacancies over time, reflecting monthly trends in employment opportunities across the US. The Help Wanted OnLine® Index is produced in collaboration with Lightcast (formerly Emsi Burning Glass), the global leader in real-time labor market data and analysis. This collaboration enhances the Help Wanted OnLine® program by providing additional insights into important labor market trends.


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

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

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

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

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

About The Conference Board

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

About Lightcast

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

The next release for March 2023 is Wednesday, April 12, 2023, at 10 AM

U-6 Update

In March 2023, the regular unemployment rate edged down to 3.5% and the broader U-6 measure edged down to 6.7%.

The above 6.7% 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 March U-6 numbers for the previous 20 years:

March              2022                6.9%

March              2021                10.7%

March              2020                8.8%

March             2019                7.4%

March              2018                7.9%

March             2017                8.8%

March             2016                9.8%

March             2015                10.9%

March             2014                12.6%

March             2013                13.8%

March             2012                14.5%

March             2011                15.7%

March              2010                16.8%

March             2009                15.6%

March             2008                9.1%

March             2007                8.0%

March             2006                8.2%

March             2005                9.1%

March              2004                9.9%

March              2003                10.0%

The March 2023 BLS Analysis

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 236,000 in March and the unemployment rate edged down to 3.5%, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.  Employment continued to trend up in leisure and hospitality, government, professional and business services, and health care.

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for January was revised down by 32,000, from +504,000 to +472,000, and the change for February was revised up by 15,000, from +311,000 to +326,000. With these revisions, employment in January and February combined is 17,000 lower than previously reported. (Monthly revisions result from additional reports received from businesses and government agencies since the last published estimates and from the recalculation of seasonal factors.

The unemployment rate is also published by the BLS.  That rate is found by dividing the number of unemployed by the total civilian labor force.  On April 7th, 2023, the BLS published the most recent unemployment rate for March 2023 of 3.5% (actually, it is 3.502%, down .069% from 3.571% in February.

The unemployment rate was determined by dividing the unemployed of 5,839,000

(–down from the month before by 97,000—since March 2022, this number has decreased by 133,000) by the total civilian labor force of 166,731,000 (up by 480,000 from February 2023).  Since March 2022, our total civilian labor force has increased by 2,430,000 workers.

(The continuing ‘Strange BLS Math’ saga—after a detour in December 2016 when the BLS {for the first time in years} DECREASED the total Civilian Noninstitutional Population—this month the BLS increased this total to 266,272,000.  This is an increase of 160,000 from last month’s increase of 150,000.  In one year, this population has increased by 2,828,000.  For the last 3 years the Civilian Noninstitutional Population has increased each month—except in December 2016, December 2018, December 2019, & December 2020—by…)

Up from February 2023by160,000
Up from January 2023by150,000
Up from December 2022by1,118,000
Up from November 2022by136,000
Up from October 2022by173,000
Up from September 2022by179,000
Up from August 2022by172,000
Up from July 2022by172,000
Up from June 2022by177,000
Up from May 2022by156,000
Up from April 2022by120,000
Up from March 2022by115,000
Up from February 2022by120,000
Up from January 2022by122,000
Up from December 2021by1,066,000
Up from November 2021by107,000
Up from October 2021by121,000
Up from September 2021by142,000
Up from August 2021by155,000
Up from July 2021by142,000
Up from June 2021by131,000
Up from May 2021by128,000
Up from April 2021by107,000
Up from March 2021by100,000
Up from February 2021by85,000
Up from January 2021by67,000
Down from December 2020by379,000
Up from November 2020by145,000
Up from October 2020by160,000
Up from September 2020by183,000
Up from August 2020by184,000
Up from July 2020by185,000
Up from June 2020by169,000
Up from May 2020by157,000
Up from April 2020by151,000
Up from March 2020by138,000

Subtract the ‘civilian labor force’ from the ‘civilian noninstitutional population’) and you get 99,541,000 ‘Not in Labor Force’—down by 320,000 from last month’s 99,861,000.  In one year, this NILF population has increased by 397,000.  The government tells us that most of these NILFs got discouraged and just gave up looking for a job.  My monthly recurring question is: “If that is the case, how do they survive when they don’t earn any money because they don’t have a job?  Are they ALL relying on the government to support them??”

This month, our Employment Participation Rate—the population 16 years and older working or seeking work—rose to 62.6%.  This rate is .2% higher than the historically low rate of 62.4% recorded in September 2015—and, before that, the rate recorded in October 1977—9 months into Jimmy Carter’s presidency—almost 40 years ago!

Final take on these numbers:  Fewer people looking for work will always bring down the unemployment rate.

Anyway, back to the point I am trying to make.  On the surface, these new unemployment

rates are scary, but let’s look a little deeper and consider some other numbers.

The unemployment rate includes all types of workers—construction workers, government workers, etc.  We recruiters, on the other hand, mainly place management, professional and related types of workers.  That unemployment rate in March was 1.9% (this rate was .1% lower than last month’s 2.0%).  Or you can look at it another way.  We usually place people who have college degrees.  That unemployment rate in March was also2.0% (this rate was the same as last month’s 2.0%).

Now stay with me a little longer.  This gets better.  It’s important to understand (and none of the pundits mention this) that the unemployment rate, for many reasons, will never be 0%, no matter how good the economy is.  Without boring you any more than I have already, let me add here that Milton Friedman (the renowned Nobel Prize-winning economist), is famous for the theory of the “natural rate of unemployment” (or the term he preferred, NAIRU, which is the acronym for Non-Accelerating Inflation Rate of Unemployment).  Basically, this theory states that full employment presupposes an ‘unavoidable and acceptable’ unemployment rate of somewhere between 4-6% with it.  Economists often settle on 5%, although the “New Normal Unemployment Rate” has been suggested to fall at 6.7%.

Nevertheless (if you will allow me to apply a ‘macro’ concept to a ‘micro’ issue), if this rate is applied to our main category of Management, Professional and Related types of potential recruits, and/or our other main category of College-Degreed potential recruits, because of the COVID-19 shutdown, we are not that far above the 4-6% threshold for full employment…and that will change as soon as we all return to work!


“The economic goal of any nation, as of any individual, is to get the greatest results with the least effort.  The whole economic progress of mankind has consisted in getting more production with the same labor…Translated into national terms, this first principle means that our real objective is to maximize production.  In doing this, full employment—that is, the absence of involuntary idleness—becomes a necessary by-product.  But production is the end, employment merely the means.  We cannot continuously have the fullest production without full employment.  But we can very easily have full employment without full production.”

–Economics in One Lesson, by Henry Hazlitt, Chapter X, “The Fetish of Full Employment”

On March 30th, 2023, the real gross domestic product (GDP) increased at an annual rate of 2.6% in the fourth quarter of 2022, according to the “third” estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the third quarter, real GDP increased 3.2%.

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 increase in real GDP was 2.7%. The revision primarily reflected downward revisions to exports and consumer spending. Imports, which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP, were revised down.

The increase in real GDP primarily reflected increases in private inventory investment, consumer spending, nonresidential fixed investment, federal government spending, and state and local government spending that were partly offset by decreases in residential fixed investment and exports. Imports decreased.

The increase in private inventory investment was led by manufacturing (mainly petroleum and coal products) as well as mining, utilities, and construction (led by utilities). The increase in consumer spending reflected an increase in services that was partly offset by a decrease in goods. Within services, the increase was led by health care as well as housing and utilities. Within goods, the leading contributor to the decrease was “other” durable goods (mainly jewelry). Within nonresidential fixed investment, increases in structures and intellectual property products (mainly software) were partly offset by a decrease in equipment.  The increase in federal government spending was led by nondefense spending. The increase in state and local government spending primarily reflected an increase in the compensation of state and local government employees.

Within residential fixed investment, the leading contributors to the decrease were new single-family construction and brokers’ commissions. Within exports, a decrease in goods (led by nondurable goods excluding petroleum) was partly offset by an increase in services (led by travel as well as transport). Within imports, both goods (led by durable consumer goods) and services (led by transport) decreased.

Real GDP decelerated in the fourth quarter, increasing 2.6% after increasing 3.2% in the third quarter. The deceleration primarily reflected a downturn in exports and decelerations in consumer spending, nonresidential fixed investment, and state and local government spending. These movements were partly offset by an upturn in private inventory investment, a smaller decrease in residential fixed investment, and an acceleration in federal government spending. Imports decreased less in the fourth quarter than in the third quarter.

Updates to GDP

With the third estimate, downward revisions to exports and consumer spending were partly offset by upward revisions to nonresidential fixed investment, residential fixed investment, and state and local government spending. Imports, which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP, were revised down. 

Real GDP by Industry

Today’s release includes estimates of GDP by industry, or value added—a measure of an industry’s contribution to GDP. In the fourth quarter, private goods-producing industries increased 4.0%, private services-producing industries increased 2.3%, and government increased 2.1%. Overall, 17 of 22 industry groups contributed to the fourth-quarter increase in real GDP.

Gross Output by Industry

GDP for 2022

Real GDP increased 2.1% in 2022 (from the 2021 annual level to the 2022 annual level), compared with an increase of 5.9% in 2021. The increase in real GDP in 2022 primarily reflected increases in consumer spending, exports, private inventory investment, and nonresidential fixed investment that were partly offset by decreases in residential fixed investment and federal government spending. Imports increased.

Measured from the fourth quarter of 2021 to the fourth quarter of 2022, real GDP increased 0.9% during the period, compared with an increase of 5.7% from the fourth quarter of 2020 to the fourth quarter of 2021.

Real GDP by Industry for 2022

In 2022, private goods-producing industries decreased 2.8%, private services-producing industries increased 3.4%, and government increased 1.3%. Overall, 15 of 22 industry groups contributed to the increase in real GDP.

Real gross output increased 2.8%. In 2022, private goods-producing industries decreased 0.6%, private services-producing industries increased 4.3%, and government increased 1.0%. Overall, 17 of 22 industry groups contributed to the increase in real gross output.

*          *          *

Next release, April 27, 2023, at 8:30 a.m. EDT
Gross Domestic Product (Advance Estimate)


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

There are five main sources of unemployment:

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

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

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

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

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

Other factors influencing the unemployment rate:

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

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

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

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


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

If you look at the past 23 years of unemployment in the March “management, professional and related” types of worker category, you will find the following rates:

March             2022                1,5%

March             2021               3.1%

March             2020                2.4%

March             2019                2.0%

March             2018                2.0%

March             2017                2.0%

March             2016                2.4%

March             2015                2.4%

March             2014                3.3%

March             2013                3.6%

March             2012                4.2%

March             2011                4.3%

March             2010                4.7%

March             2009                4.2%

March             2008                2.1%

March             2007                1.8%

March             2006                2.1%

March             2005                2.3%

March             2004                2.7%

March             2003                2.9%

March             2002                2.8%

March             2001                2.0%

March             2000                1.8%

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

March             2022                2.0%

March             2021                3.7%

March             2020                2.5%

March             2019                2.0%

March             2018                2.2%

March             2017                2.5%

March             2016                2.6%

March             2015                2.5%

March             2014                3.4%

March             2013                3.8%

March             2012                4.2%

March             2011                4.4%

March             2010                4.8%

March             2009                4.4%

March             2008                2.1%

March             2007                1.8%

March             2006                2.2%

March             2005                2.4%

March             2004                2.9%

March             2003                3.1%

March             2002                2.8%

March             2001                1.9%

March              2000               1.6%

The March 2023 rates for these two categories, 1.9% and 2.0%, respectively, are pretty low.  But regardless, these unemployment numbers usually include a good number of job hoppers, job shoppers and rejects.  We, on the other hand, are engaged by our client companies to find those candidates who are happy, well-appreciated, making good money and currently working and we entice them to move for even better opportunities—especially where new technologies are expanding.  This will never change.  And that is why, no matter the overall unemployment rate, we still need to MARKET to find the best possible job orders to work and we still need to RECRUIT to find the best possible candidates for those Job Orders.

Below are the numbers for the over 25-year old’s:

Less than H.S. diploma – Unemployment Rate


H.S. Grad; no college – Unemployment Rate


Some College; or AA/AS – Unemployment Rate


BS/BS + – Unemployment Rate


Management, Professional & Related – Unemployment Rate


Or employed… (,000)


And unemployed… (,000)


For a total Management, Professional & Related workforce of…(,000)


Management, Business and Financial Operations – Unemployment Rate


Professional & Related – Unemployment Rate


Sales & Related – Unemployment Rate