BLS Analysis for Recruiters November 2021

Bob Marshall’s November 2021 BLS Analysis for Recruiters; 12/3/21

November BLS Preface

TBMG Coaching Updates and Product News:

Our new TBMG Training Program:

The New 2021 Elite Recruiter Masterclass (ERM) Training Program

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


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

“The biggest risk to productivity is always the same: working on the wrong thing.”

-James Clear

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

It’s true! The Elite Recruiter Masterclass, consists of everything you need to learn about becoming a top-earning recruiting professional. and how to find and retain the best clients and the top-quality job orders to build your own opportunities and shape your future to the exact direction you want.

LEARN MORE   For my long-time supporters I’d like to offer the code SAVENOW to save nearly 30% off enrollment fees.

My Masterclass is the EXACT same formula we implement for our VIP clients that has helped them reach over $1,000,000 a year in placements.  Use code SAVENOW to save nearly 30% off enrollment fees.


Best Regards,


Elite Recruiter Masterclass

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

*Successful learners of the material presented

*Confident recruitment professionals

*Responsible members of our profession

*Effective contributors who make placement earlier and more often

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

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

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

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

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

5. “The JOB ORDER” – 6-part series

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

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

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

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

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


We had some technical issues with our last 9-part series entitled, “The 6 Lies That Block Your Success”.  Some of you received all of the parts, but most of you did not.  So, starting next Tuesday, November 9th, and running through the end of the year, we will re-run all 9 parts.  If you are a current member of my distribution list, you will receive all 9 sessions.  As with all my series’, there is no charge!

From the series preamble…

It is said that passion and skill are almost always connected.

“Passion for something leads to disproportionate time practicing or working at it.  That time spent eventually translates to skill, and when skill improves, results improve.  Better results generally lead to more enjoyment, and more passion and more time is invested.  It can be a virtuous cycle all the way to extraordinary results.”—Keller, The One Thing

So then, why don’t extraordinary results happen for those of us who possess that passion and have attained that skill?

In my new series, entitled “The 6 Lies That Block Your Success”, we will explore why extraordinary results don’t happen. And learn how to develop the ability to focus on ‘the one thing’ that will lead to extraordinary results!

Unfortunately, 6 lies mislead and derail you.   Those 6 lies stand between you and your success.  You must put these 6 lies to bed.

Here are the chapters in this series: Everything Matters Equally – Our VUCA World; Everything Matters Equally – The Two Analogies; Everything Matters Equally – The Magical 4%; The Fallacy of Multitasking – Task Switching; The Fallacy of Multitasking – Focus & Concentration; A Disciplined Life; Willpower is Always on Will-Call; A Balanced Life; Big is Bad—Not!


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 in November, But Labor Remains a Challenge

Daily News, December 1, 2021

Activity in the US manufacturing sector expanded in November, but labor remains a challenge, according to the Institute for Supply Management’s “Manufacturing ISM Report on Business,” released today.

“The US manufacturing sector remains in a demand-driven, supply chain-constrained environment, with some indications of slight labor and supplier delivery improvement,” said Timothy Fiore, chair of the ISM’s manufacturing business survey committee.

Meeting demand remains an issue due in part to hiring difficulties, according to the report.  One respondent at a fabricated metal products firm noted finding qualified workers remains the biggest challenge.

However, Fiore noted 7% of respondents in November indicated improvements regarding employment compared to 5% in October.  In addition, he said a majority of manufacturers, 86%, said their companies are hiring or attempting to hire.

Overall, the ISM’s Manufacturing PMI measure of activity in the US manufacturing sector rose to a reading of 61.1% in November from 60.8% in October, indicating expansion at a faster rate.  A reading above 50% indicates the manufacturing economy is generally expanding.  A Manufacturing PMI above 43.1% over time generally indicates an expansion of the overall economy.

The employment subindex of the Manufacturing PMI rose to a level of 53.3% in November from 52.0% in October, indicating an expansion in employment.

US Expansion will continue into Next Year despite Rising Prices, Supply Chain Bottlenecks

Daily News, November 18, 2021

The US economic expansion will continue into next year though headwinds will remain, according to analysis of The Conference Board Leading Economic Index.  It rose to a reading of 118.3 in October, up 0.1% from September and 0.7% from August.

“The US [Leading Economic Index] rose sharply in October, suggesting the current economic expansion will continue into 2022 and may even gain some momentum in the final months of this year,” said Ataman Ozyildirim, senior director of economic research at The Conference Board.

Ozyildirim noted the gains were widespread among indicators; however, rising prices and supply chain bottlenecks pose challenges and aren’t expected to dissipate until well into 2022.

The Conference Board forecast US gross domestic product to increase at a 5.0% annualized rate in the fourth quarter before moderating to a rate of 2.6% in the first quarter — still a historically robust rate.

The CEO of the world’s biggest job portal says he has a solution to the labor shortage: getting rid of the resume

Fortune, November 16, 2021

The company behind the world’s biggest employment portal says it has a solution to the labor shortage gripping the U.S.: getting rid of the traditional resume. 

Despite the acute need for workers, “the hiring process is still resumes, sending resumes, checking resumes,” said Hisayuki “Deko” Idekoba, chief executive officer of Japan’s Recruit Holdings Co., which runs and Glassdoor.  “This is a great opportunity for us to move forward from old-school, incumbent resume-profile culture to asking: what can you do?” 

The U.S. is set to enter the tightest job market since the 1950s according to one estimate, and employers are struggling to fill both white- and blue-collar positions as jobseekers reevaluate their priorities post-pandemic.  That demand for hiring saw revenue more than double at Recruit’s hiring technology division in the quarter ended September, earnings figures released this week show.  Shares are up more than 80% in 2021, a surge that has made it Japan’s fourth-largest enterprise by market value. 

Modern hiring processes need to adapt for the times, Idekoba said, with many small- and medium-sized businesses still seeking to fill jobs the way they did a decade ago.  He raises the example of one restaurant which hasn’t updated its job description for a entire decade.  “You are requiring a college degree, why?” he asked.  “Forget about it!” 

Idekoba, who divides his time between Tokyo and Austin, Texas, where Indeed is headquartered, said he had to wait 40 minutes recently in a restaurant in the U.S. due to the shortage of serving staff.

Instead, Recruit suggests posing questions and assessment tests to job seekers to see if they know how to navigate the specific tasks the job will require.  It also stores the answers, so unsuccessful job seekers can use them elsewhere. 

For truck drivers, who are “needed desperately” in the U.S., Recruit has started offering a chat-based hiring process, according to Idekoba, because drivers spend most of their days on the road and tend not to have laptops. 

In addition, “there are a huge amount of people who can’t write resumes” or don’t have the skills to fill one, he said, as well as the issue of the tens of millions of Americans with criminal records.  Recruit is expanding its training options to help people write better resumes for jobs that need them and aims to use technology to identify skills that an applicant might have that could be transferable to another area. 

Recruit bought Indeed, then a startup, for a reported $1 billion almost a decade ago.  Idekoba ran the unit before being promoted to CEO of Recruit in April this year.  In addition to recruiting and staffing, it runs sites to find properties, used cars, book hotels and restaurants in Japan, where it is looking to expand its software as a service offerings. 

Idekoba says now helps double the number of people find jobs as it did before the pandemic.  “20 hires per every minute,” he said, “but still we couldn’t fix” the labor shortage.

Forecasters Lower GDP Growth Estimate for Remainder of Year, Q1 of Next

Daily News, November 15, 2021

The US economy is looking weaker now than it did in August, according to the Survey of Professional Forecasters released today by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.

US gross domestic product is expected to grow at an annual rate 4.6% in this quarter, down from 5.2% in the previous forecast.  For full-year 2021, forecasters now believe GDP will increase 5.5% with full-year 2022 growth estimated at 3.9%.  Previously, they had forecast growth of 6.1% and 4.4%, respectively.

On the other hand, GDP is slated to increase at an annual rate of 4.0% in the second quarter of next year, a higher forecast than the previous estimate.

In addition, forecasters were more upbeat on the unemployment rate.  This quarter’s rate is now estimated at 4.5%, down from 4.9% in the previous estimate.  First-quarter 2021 unemployment is estimated to be 4.3%, down from the previous estimate of 4.6%.

When it comes to jobs, however, forecasters lowered their estimates through the second quarter of next year.  Average monthly gains for this quarter were lowered to 469,400 from the previous estimate of 508,800.

Record 4,400,000 Quit Their Jobs in September

Daily News, November 12, 2021

The number of US workers quitting their jobs reached a new high in September, according to data released today by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.  Some 4,400,000 people quit their jobs in September, up by 164,000 from August.

Quits increased in several industries, according to the BLS.  The largest increases were in “arts, entertainment and recreation,” where quits rose by 56,000 from the previous month; “other services,” where quits rose by 47,000; and “state and local government education,” where 30,000 more people quit than in the previous month.

“Labor now has the initiative, and the era of paying individuals less than a livable wage has ended,” Joseph Brusuelas, chief economist at RSM US, told CNN.  “This strongly suggests that rising wages are going to be part and parcel of the economic landscape going forward.”

Overall, the total number of separations — which include quits as well as layoffs, discharges and other separations — were little changed.

The BLS also noted little change in the number of job openings — although they remained high — and hires in September were little changed as well.

IT Employment Flat in October, Tech Talent Shortage ‘Hurting Companies’

Daily News, November 11, 2021

As expected, IT employment remained flat in October, according to newly released data from the TechServe Alliance, the national trade association of the IT and engineering staffing and solutions industry.

IT employment in the US rose by 0.04% month over month in October, to nearly 5,400,000 jobs.  Looking at growth on a year-over-year basis, IT employment has risen by nearly 3.7%.

“It’s clear from the employment numbers that the tech talent shortage is hurting companies in terms of hiring but there are steps that employers can take now to attract and retain talent,” TechServe Alliance CEO Mark Roberts said.

Some companies are introducing top-down DE&I initiatives — not only because their workforce expects it but also because their clients want it.

“In today’s new norm, IT professionals are not willing to compromise on work-life balance and demand the flexibility to work remotely,” Roberts said.  “Additionally, they seek employment at companies that champion diversity and social causes.”

In addition, the TechServe Alliance reported that engineering employment rose by 0.4% in October month over month to total employment of more than 2,600,000.  The increase was 3.3% on a year-over-year basis.

Adding Benefits Descriptions to Job Ads Can Increase Apply Rate by 22%

Daily News, November 1, 2021

Adding descriptions of benefits in job ads can increase the apply rate by 22%, according to research by programmatic job advertising platform Appcast.  However, only 52% of job descriptions include mention of benefits.

“Our analysis of apply rates reveals that certain benefits are more enticing to job seekers than others, depending on the industry or job function in which you’re hiring,” said Heather Salerno, senior VP of marketing at Appcast.  “Unfortunately, our findings also indicate that nearly half of job ads make no mention of benefits in their job descriptions at all.”

Mentions of healthcare benefits — including health insurance, dental insurance, vision and mental health benefits — in job descriptions were, generally, associated with higher apply rates, according to Appcast.  One caveat: Vision insurance was mentioned frequently in job descriptions, but there was no positive impact on apply rate.

Appcast also reported pet insurance seems to be growing in popularity, driving a 37% increase in apply rates.  Appcast did note that pet insurance was most often mentioned in job descriptions containing four or more benefits.

Marketing and advertising jobs demonstrated the strongest correlation between increased apply rates and health insurance mentions — job descriptions that included this benefit saw an increase of nearly 50% in the average apply rate.

Within the healthcare industry, job descriptions that mentioned pet insurance saw an increase of nearly 70% in the average apply rate.

Upon studying the impact of additional compensation benefits on job advertising performance, Appcast found that including regular, incremental bonuses most dramatically increased apply rates.  Despite employers’ efforts at enticing candidates with signing bonuses, “warehousing and logistics” was the only industry that saw a correlation between increased apply rates and signing bonus mentions.

Also, when job descriptions mentioned stock options or employee stock purchase plans, the ads yielded a higher apply rate across a variety of disciplines.

Including 401(k) in a job description is a draw for some disciplines, but this individual benefit, overall, did not have as dramatic of an impact on apply rates as others, Appcast noted.

Appcast’s research looked at a sample of 100,000 job descriptions across 23 industries/job functions from Jan. 1 to July 31.

The new ADP/Moody’s National Employment Report: Over 48% of all new job growth in November 2021 came from Small and Medium-size Companies!

December 1, 2021

Private sector employment increased by 534,000 jobs from October to November according to the November 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 data of those who are on a company’s payroll, measures the change in total nonfarm private employment each month on a seasonally-adjusted basis.

The matched sample used to develop the ADP National Employment Report® was derived from ADP payroll data, which represents 460,000 U.S. clients employing nearly 26,000,000 workers in the U.S.  The October total of jobs added was revised from 571,000 to 570,000.

Total U.S. Nonfarm Private Employment:             534,000

By Company Size

Small businesses:                                  115,000

1-19 employees                                        62,000

20-49 employees                                      53,000

Medium businesses:                             142,000

50-499 employees                                  142,000

Large businesses:                                 277,000

500-999 employees                                   43,000

1,000+ employees                                   234,000

By Sector

I.  Goods-producing:                                            110,000

A.  Natural resources/mining                                                   7,000

B.  Construction                                                                      52,000

C.  Manufacturing                                                                   50,000

II.  Service-providing:                                         424,000

A.  Trade/transportation/utilities                                              78,000

B.  Information                                                                        10,000

C.  Financial activities                                                                         13,000

D.  Professional/business services                                         110,000

                        1.  Professional/technical services                               51,000

                        2.  Management of companies/enterprises                     5,000

                        3.  Administrative/support services                             53,000

            E.  Education/health services                                                   55,000

                        1.  Health care/social assistance                                   46,000

                        2.  Education                                                                10,000

            F.  Leisure/hospitality                                                            136,000

            G.  Other services                                                                     22,000

Franchise Employment

Franchise Jobs                                     35,300

“The labor market recovery continued to power through its challenges last month, “said Nela Richardson, chief economist, ADP.  “November’s job gains bring the three month average to 543,000 monthly jobs added, a modest uptick from the job pace earlier this year.  Job gains have eclipsed 15 million since the recovery began, though 5 million jobs short of pre-pandemic levels.  Service providers, which are more vulnerable to the pandemic, have dominated job gains this year.  It’s too early to tell if the Omicron variant could potentially slow the jobs recovery in coming months.”

(The December 2021 ADP National Employment Report will be released at 8:15 a.m. ET on January 5, 2022.)

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.

November 2021 ADP Small Business Report Highlights

Total Small Business Employment:             115,000

●By Size  
►1-19 employees 62,000
►20-49 employees 53,000
●By Sector for 1-49 Employees  
►Goods Producing 12,000
►Service Producing 103,000
●By Sector for 1-19 Employees  
►Goods Producing 6,000
►Service Producing 57,000
●By Sector for 20-49 Employees  
►Goods Producing 6,000
►Service Producing 47,000

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 – September 2021

November 12, 2021  

The number of job openings was little changed at 10,400,000 on the last business day of September, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.  Hires and total separations were little changed at 6,500,000 and 6,200,000, respectively.  Within separations, the quits level and rate increased to a series high of 4,400,000 and 3.0% respectively.  The layoffs and discharges rate was unchanged at 0.9%.  This release includes estimates of the number and rate of job openings, hires, and separations for the total nonfarm sector, by industry, by four geographic regions, and by establishment size class.

Job Openings

On the last business day of September, the number and rate of job openings were little changed at 10,400,000 and 6.6%, respectively.  Job openings increased in health care and social assistance (+141,000); state and local government, excluding education (+114,000); wholesale trade (+51,000); and information (+51,000).  Job openings decreased in state and local government education (-114,000); other services (-104,000); real estate and rental and leasing (-65,000); and educational services (-45,000).  The number of job openings was little changed in all 4 regions.


In September, the number and rate of hires were little changed at 6,500,000 and 4.4%, respectively.  Hires increased in health care and social assistance (+109,000) and finance and insurance (+60,000).  Hires decreased in state and local government education

(-92,000) and educational services (-89,000).  The number of hires was little changed in all 4 regions.


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

In September, the number and rate of total separations were little changed at 6,200,000 and 4.2%, respectively.  Total separations decreased in retail trade (-100,000).  The total separations level increased in several industries with the largest increases in other services (+87,000); health care and social assistance (+86,000); and finance and insurance (+61,000).  Total separations were little changed in all 4 regions.

The number of quits increased in September to a series high of 4,400,000 (+164,000).  The quits rate also increased to a series high 3.0%.  Quits increased in several industries with the largest increases in arts, entertainment, and recreation (+56,000); other services (+47,000); and state and local government education (+30,000).  Quits decreased in wholesale trade (-30,000).  The number of quits increased in the West region.

In September, the number of layoffs and discharges was little changed at 1,400,000.  The layoffs and discharges rate was unchanged at 0.9%.  Layoffs and discharges were little changed in all industries and in all 4 regions.

The number of other separations was little changed in September at 410,000.  Other separations increased in finance and insurance (+41,000); state and local government education (+13,000); and other services (+12,000).  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 September 2021, hires totaled 73,300,000 and separations totaled 67,700,000, yielding a net employment gain of 5,600,000.  These totals include workers who may have been hired and separated more than once during the year.

Establishment Size Class

In September, the job openings rate decreased in large establishments with 250-999 employees.  The total separations rate increased in large establishments with 1,000-4,999 employees.  


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

As we recruiters know that 10,400,000 number only represents 20% of the jobs currently available in the marketplace.  The other 80% of job openings are unpublished and are filled through networking or word of mouth or by using a RECRUITER.   So, those 10,400,000 published job openings now become a total of 52,000,000 published AND hidden job orders.



Online Labor Demand Fell Slightly in October

November 10, 2021

The Conference Board®−Burning Glass® Help Wanted OnLine® (HWOL) Index fell slightly in October and now stands at 164.4 (July 2018=100), down from 165.2 in September.  The 0.49% decline between September and October follows a 4.1% increase between August and September.  Overall, the Index is up 57.3% from a year ago.

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


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

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

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

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

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

About The Conference Board

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

About Burning Glass Technologies, Inc.

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

The next release for November 2021 is Wednesday, December 8th at 10 AM.

U-6 Update

In November 2021, the regular unemployment rate fell .4% to 4.2% and the broader U-6 measure fell .5% to 7.8%.  Both percentages are still almost totally due to the COVID-19 economic shutdown across the U.S and the slow ‘Reopening’.

The above 7.8% is referred to as the U-6 unemployment rate (found in the monthly BLS Employment Situation Summary, Table A-15; Table A-12 in 2008 and before).  It counts not only people without work seeking full-time employment (the more familiar U-3 rate), but also counts “marginally attached workers and those working part-time for economic reasons.”  Note that some of these part-time workers counted as employed by U-3 could be working as little as an hour a week.  And the “marginally attached workers” include those who have gotten discouraged and stopped looking, but still want to work.  The age considered for this calculation is 16 years and over.

Here is a look at the November U-6 numbers for the previous 18 years:

November 2020                      12.0%

November 2019                      6.8%

November 2018                      7.6%

November 2017                      8.0%

November 2016                      9.3%

November 2015                      9.9%

November 2014                      11.4%

November 2013                      13.1%

November 2012                      14.4%

November 2011                      15.6%

November 2010                      17.0%

November 2009                      17.2%

November 2008                      12.6%

November 2007                      8.4%

November 2006                      8.0%

November 2005                      8.7%

November 2004                      9.4%

November 2003                      10.1%

The November 2021 BLS Analysis

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 210,000 in November and the unemployment rate fell by 0.4% to 4.2%, the U.S. bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.  Notable job gains occurred in professional and business services, transportation and warehousing, construction, and manufacturing.  Employment in retail trade declined over the month.
The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for September was revised up by 67,000, from +312,000 to +379,000, and the change for October was revised up by 15,000, from +531,000 to +546,000.  With these revisions, employment in September and October combined is 82,000 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 December 3rd, 2021, the BLS published the most recent unemployment rate for November 2021 of 4.2% (actually, it is 4.244% down 0.351% from 4.595% in October.

The unemployment rate was determined by dividing the unemployed of 6,877,000

(–down from the month before by 542,000—since November 2020, this number has decreased by 3,851,000) by the total civilian labor force of 162,052,000 (up by 594,000 from October 2021).  Since November 2020, our total civilian labor force has increased by 1,516,000 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 262,029,000.  This is an increase of 121,000 from last month’s increase of 142,000.  In one year, this population has increased by 944,000.  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 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
Up from February 2020by130,000
Up from January 2020by126,000
Down from December 2019by679,000
Up from November 2019by161,000
Up from October 2019by175,000
Up from September 2019by207,000
Up from August 2019by206,000
Up from July 2019by207,000
Up from June 2019by188,000
Up from May 2019by176,000
Up from April 2019by168,000
Up from March 2019by156,000
Up from February 2019by145,000
Up from January 2019by153,000
Down from December 2018by649,000
Up from November 2018by180,000
Up from October 2018by194,000
Up from September 2018by224,000

Subtract the ‘civilian labor force’ from the ‘civilian noninstitutional population’) and you get 99,977 ‘Not in Labor Force’—down by 1,473,000 from last month’s 100,450,000.  In one year, this NILF population has decreased by 571,000.  The government tells us that most of these NILFs got discouraged and just gave up looking for a job.  My monthly recurring question is: “If that is the case, how do they survive when they don’t earn any money because they don’t have a job?  Are they ALL relying on the government to support them??”

This month, our Employment Participation Rate—the population 16 years and older working or seeking work—remained at 61.8%.  This rate is .6% 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 November was 1.9% (this rate was .3% lower than last month’s 2.2%).  Or you can look at it another way.  We usually place people who have college degrees.  That unemployment rate in November was2.3% (this rate was .1% lower than last month’s 2.4%).

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”

On November 24th, the real gross domestic product (GDP) increased at an annual rate of 2.1% in the third quarter of 2021, according to the “second” estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis.  In the second quarter, real GDP increased 6.7%.

The GDP estimate released today is based on more complete source data than were available for the “advance” estimate issued last month.  In the advance estimate, the increase in real GDP was 2.0%.  The update primarily reflects upward revisions to personal consumption expenditures (PCE) and private inventory investment.

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

The increase in third quarter GDP reflected the continued economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.  A resurgence of COVID-19 cases resulted in new restrictions and delays in the reopening of establishments in some parts of the country.  Government assistance payments in the form of forgivable loans to businesses, grants to state and local governments, and social benefits to households all decreased.  The full economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic cannot be quantified in the GDP estimate for the third quarter because the impacts are generally embedded in source data and cannot be separately identified.

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

The increase in private inventory investment reflected increases in wholesale trade (led by nondurable goods industries) and in retail trade (led by motor vehicles and parts dealers).  The increase in PCE reflected an increase in services that was partly offset by a decrease in goods.  Within services, increases were widespread with the largest contributions coming from “other” services (mainly international travel), transportation services, and health care.  The decrease in goods primarily reflected a decrease in spending on motor vehicles and parts.  The increase in state and local government spending was led by employee compensation (notably, education).  The increase in nonresidential fixed investment reflected an increase in intellectual property products (led by software and research and development) that was partly offset by decreases in structures and equipment.

The decrease in residential fixed investment primarily reflected decreases in improvements and in new single-family structures.  The decrease in federal government spending primarily reflected a decrease in nondefense spending on intermediate goods and services after the processing and administration of Paycheck Protection Program loan applications by banks on behalf of the federal government ended in the second quarter.  The decrease in exports reflected a decrease in goods that was partly offset by an increase in services.  The increase in imports primarily reflected an increase in services (led by travel and transport).

The deceleration in real GDP in the third quarter was more than accounted for by a slowdown in PCE.  From the second quarter to the third quarter, spending for goods turned down (led by motor vehicles and parts) and services decelerated (led by food services and accommodations).

Current dollar GDP increased 8.1% at an annual rate, or $446.0 billion, in the third quarter to a level of $23.19 trillion.  In the second quarter, GDP increased 13.4%, or $702.8 billion.

The price index for gross domestic purchases increased 5.5% in the third quarter, compared with an increase of 5.8% in the second quarter.  The PCE price index increased 5.3%, compared with an increase of 6.5%.  Excluding food and energy prices, the PCE price index increased 4.5%, compared with an increase of 6.1%.

Updates to GDP

In the second estimate for the third quarter, real GDP increased 2.1%, 0.1% higher than in the advance estimate.  Upward revisions to PCE, private inventory investment, and state and local government spending were partly offset by downward revisions to exports, nonresidential fixed investment, residential fixed investment, and federal government spending.  Imports, which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP, were revised down.

*          *          *

Next release, December 22, 2021, at 8:30 A.M. EST
Gross Domestic Product (Third Estimate)
Gross Domestic Product by Industry
Corporate Profits (Revised Estimate)
Third Quarter 2021


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

There are five main sources of unemployment:

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

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

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

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

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

Other factors influencing the unemployment rate:

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

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

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

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


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

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

November 2020                      3.7%

November 2019                      1.8%

November 2018                      2.1%

November 2017                      2.0%

November 2016                      2.3%

November 2015                      2.1%

November 2014                      2.8%

November 2013                      3.1%

November 2012                      3.6%

November 2011                      4.2%

November 2010                      4.7%

November 2009                      4.6%

November 2008                      3.2%

November 2007                      1.8%

November 2006                      1.7%

November 2005                      2.1%

November 2004                      2.4%

November 2003                      2.9%

November 2002                      2.9%

November 2001                      2.8%

November 2000                      1.7%

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

November 2020                      4.2%

November 2019                      2.0%

November 2018                      2.2%

November 2017                      2.1%

November 2016                      2.3%

November 2015                      2.5%

November 2014                      3.2%

November 2013                      3.4%

November 2012                      3.9%

November 2011                      4.4%

November 2010                      5.1%

November 2009                      4.9%

November 2008                      3.2%

November 2007                      2.2%

November 2006                      1.9%

November 2005                      2.2%

November 2004                      2.5%

November 2003                      3.1%

November 2002                      2.9%

November 2001                      2.9%

November 2000                      1.6%

The November 2021 rates for these two categories, 1.9% and 2.3%, respectively, are still fairly high because so many workers are sheltering in place in their homes and not going to work.  But regardless, these unemployment numbers usually include a good number of job hoppers, job shoppers and rejects.  We, on the other hand, are engaged by our client companies to find those candidates who are happy, well-appreciated, making good money and currently working and we entice them to move for even better opportunities—especially where new technologies are expanding.  This will never change.  And that is why, no matter the overall unemployment rate, we still need to MARKET to find the best possible job orders to work and we still need to RECRUIT to find the best possible candidates for those Job Orders.

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

Less than H.S. diploma – Unemployment Rate


H.S. Grad; no college – Unemployment Rate


Some College; or AA/AS – Unemployment Rate


BS/BS + – Unemployment Rate


Management, Professional & Related – Unemployment Rate


Or employed…(,000)


And unemployed…(,000)


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


Management, Business and Financial Operations – Unemployment Rate


Professional & Related – Unemployment Rate


Sales & Related – Unemployment Rate