BLS Analysis for Recruiters October 2020

Bob Marshall’s October 2020 BLS Analysis for Recruiters; 11/6/20

October BLS Preface

TBMG Coaching Updates and Product News:

Top Echelon Expert Recruiter Coaching Series, Next Tuesday, November 10th, 2020

Come Join Me for My Next FREE Top Echelon Webinar next Tuesday afternoon, November 10th, 2020 at 1pm, Eastern Time.

Contact Top Echelon directly

or open this hyperlink to sign up for FREE:

Register Now

Script This!

You Choose!!

The Overview

Top Echelon Webinar

Tuesday, November 10th, 2020, 1pm eastern


Bob Marshall

Top Echelon Promo:

On November 10th at 1pm eastern, Bob Marshall will conduct a FREE webinar in the Top Echelon Expert Recruiter Coaching Series entitled, “Script This – You Choose”.  This will include a little twist from those he has conducted for us in the past because you, the attendee, will choose the topics that he will address.

Bob Marshall, Founder of TBMG International, has been in the recruiting profession for over 40 years. There is not much, if anything, that he has not seen. And in this webinar Bob’s vast experience, and expertise will be at the disposal of those who attend this session.

When you sign up for this special webinar session, we’ll present you a list of some of the general steps in the recruiting process. Attendees will then vote on which pieces of the process about which they’d like to hear Bob’s thoughts and sample scripts.  Bob Marshall is famous for his expert scripts for all situations, and this is your chance to glean from his extensive knowledge and use it to close more deals and make more placements.

During this Covid-19 environment, old-school sales and recruiting techniques are coming back into vogue.  As often happens, recruiters are going “back to basics” and Bob is the master of “nuts and bolts” recruitment.  As most of you are aware, these “classic” skills have become something of a lost art—especially if you started your recruitment career after 2003 (when LinkedIn was founded).  This webinar will focus on the veteran skills developed in the pre-LinkedIn era.

With the New Year just around the corner, this is a great time to arm yourself with more proven scripts for 2021. So, join us (and Bob Marshall) on November 10 for “Script This! You Choose!!  A Webinar for Mastering the Recruiting Process!”

Now, here is where you come in.  Below we have copied various topics Bob can cover when we meet on the 10th.  You decide which ones you want him to cover and he will provide the scripts that have worked in those categories.  Before the webinar, we will tally up the results and pick the top vote getters.

Here are the SCRIPTS from which to choose…


1.  Marketing – Getting Through the Gatekeeper – Triplicate-Triplicate

2.  Marketing – Getting Through the Gatekeeper – Reality Approach

3.  Marketing – The Robocruiter Qualifying Technique

4.  Marketing – The Standard MPC FAB

5.  Marketing – The ‘Epiphany’ Presentation

6.  Marketing – Voice Mail, with an MPC

7.  Marketing – Voice Mail without an MPC

8.  Marketing – without using an MPC

9.  Marketing – with an MPC – when you know the client company

10.  Marketing – with an MPC – when you don’t know the client company


11.  Recruiting – Using the Spectrum approach

12.  Recruiting – Big Biller Three Part Presentation

13.  Recruiting – Direct Approach


14.  Matching – The Secretary/Assistant Matching Call

15.  Matching – The Pre-Matching Call


16.  Closing at the beginning of the interview

17.  Closing at the end of the interview


18.  Company Objection – No Openings or We’re Not Hiring

19.  Company Objection – We Only Pay 20% Fees

20.  Company Objection – Send Me a Resume

21.  Company Objection – We need a longer guarantee

22.  Company or Candidate Objection – The Universal Objection Response


23.  Candidate Objection – My Company Made Me A Counteroffer

24.  Candidate Objection – I’m Happy Where I Am

25.  Candidate Objection – I’m Afraid of Change

26.  Candidate Objection – Send Me to More Companies


27.  Alternate of Choice

28.  Ben Franklin Balance Sheet

29.  Sharp Angle (Porcupine)

30.  Negative Yes

31.  Order Blank

32.  Puppy dog33.  Similar Situation

34.  Call Back

35.  Lost Sale

36.  Secondary Question

37.  Closing on the Final Objection

38.  Take Away

39.  Tie Downs

40.  Job Order Close

41.  Investment Close

42.  Reduce to the Ridiculous

43.  Comparative & Feedback

44.  Multiple Conclusion Question

45.  Switch Off Questions

46.  If I…Will Yoo?

Launching a new TBMG product:

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

1. “From Failure to Success in Recruitment Sales” – 6-part series – released from Jan. 8, 2019 to Feb. 12, 2019;

2. “John Wooden’s Success Pyramid” – 6-part series – released from Feb. 19, 2019 to Mar. 26, 2019;

3. “Robocruiter and The Total Account Executive” – 11-part series – released from Apr. 23, 2019 to Jul. 9, 2019;

4. “The Opportunity Cost in Not Quitting the Dead Horse Projects” – 11-part series – released from Jul. 16, 2019 to Sep. 24, 2019;

5. “The JOB ORDER” – 6-part series – released from Oct. 1, 2019 to Nov. 5, 2019;

6. “Planning for Your Best Year Ever in 2020 – The ‘Atomic’ Approach” – 7-part series – released from Nov. 13, 2019 to Dec. 31, 2019;

7. “The Importance of Marketing – Facing the Monster” – 13-part series – released from Jan. 28, 2020 to Apr. 21, 2020;

8. “Negotiating Techniques Adapted for the Tenured Recruiter” – 13-part series – released from Apr. 29, 2020 to Jul. 21, 2020.

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


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

Is now the time to pick a Coach?

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

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

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

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

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

—David Alexander, President, Soliant, January 2017


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

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

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

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

One-Third of Companies Willing to Hire Remote Workers Living Anywhere: The Conference Board

Daily News, November 3, 2020

More companies are now willing to hire remote workers from anywhere, according to research released Monday by The Conference Board.

The September survey of more than 330 HR executives — primarily from large US companies — found more than one-third, 36%, are willing to hire workers who are fully remote living anywhere in the US or internationally.  This is up from just 12% who were receptive to that approach in a similar survey conducted in April, before the full impact of Covid-19.

Companies are now far more willing to hire remote workers in general at 88%, up from 52% before Covid-19.  However, half still prefer that employees live within commuting distance of the office location.  And looking forward, more than one-third of respondents expect that at least 40% of their employees will work remotely at least three days per week 12 months post-pandemic; that is up from 5% in the survey prior to the pandemic.

Additional findings include:

Skills shortage.  Finding qualified workers remains a challenge, despite high unemployment and a willingness to hire remotely — about 75% of companies report difficulty overall both pre-pandemic and now.

Productivity gains.  Almost half of September’s respondents, 47%, believed that productivity had increased for their workforce, up from 23% in April.  This productivity increase could be due in part to employees working longer hours since the Covid-19 outbreak, according to The Conference Board.

Declining employee well-being.  60% of companies surveyed in September reported that their employees are experiencing increased work hours; 63% are spending more time in meetings, 42% are suffering more burnouts, 46% decreased work-life balance and 40% more mental health problems.

“These sobering statistics beg the question of whether increased working hours are sustainable in the long term,” said Robin Erickson, principal researcher at The Conference Board and co-author of the report.

Wages.  One quarter of companies that implemented salary/wage cuts during the pandemic had fully reversed this action by September.  Companies were likely to reverse wage cuts as quickly as possible; one quarter had fully reversed them by September, and another 23% had partially reversed this action.

Cost-cuts head.  Despite some wage and salary restorations, cost-cutting measures are still planned for rest of year.  From October through December 2020, 13% of surveyed companies plan to restructure the organization and 11% plan to cut bonuses.  In addition, 9% plan to conduct permanent layoffs and 8% plan to defer pay increases and bonuses.

Return to workplace.  About 60% of companies have either already returned or are currently planning to return to the workplace by March.  However, this date could change based on the severity of the second Covid-19 surge.  A quarter of respondents are more uncertain, either awaiting a vaccine or noting other determining factors, such as trends in Covid-19 cases in the geographic area.  Only 19% of companies had remained open or returned to the workplace by the end of September.

US Manufacturing Sector Expands in October, Good News for Employment

Daily News, November 2, 2020

The US manufacturing sector expanded in October, according to the Institute for Supply Management’s “Manufacturing ISM Report on Business.”  There was good news in the report for manufacturing employment as well, with the employment index entering expansion territory for the first time in more than a year.

“Manufacturing performed well for the third straight month, with demand, consumption and inputs registering growth indicative of a normal expansion cycle,” said Timothy Fiore, chair of the institute’s Manufacturing Business Survey Committee.  “While certain industry sectors are experiencing difficulties that will continue in the near term, the overall manufacturing community continues to exceed expectations.”

ISM’s Manufacturing PMI rose to a reading of 59.3% in October, up from 55.4% in September.  October’s reading was the highest since September 2018.  October’s reading also indicated the overall economy expanded for the sixth month in a row after contracting in April.  Readings above 42.8%, over time, indicate expansion in the overall economy.

The PMI is based on the diffusion indexes of five indexes with equal weights: new orders, production, employment, supplier deliveries and inventories.  The diffusion index includes the percent of positive responses plus one-half of those responding the same (considered positive).  Four of the five indexes are seasonally adjusted, with inventories being the exception.

The report’s diffusion index of employment in manufacturing entered expansion territory for the first time since July 2019.  The employment index rose to a level of 53.2% in October from 49.6% in September.  An employment index reading above 50.8%, over time, is generally consistent with an increase in employment.

Up To 23,000,000 Americans Plan to Relocate Amid Remote Work Trend

Daily News, October 30, 2020

Between 14,000,000 and 23,000,000 of US households intend to move, in many cases, out of major cities and into less expensive housing markets, according to research released by online staffing provider Upwork Inc.  The “Remote Workers on the Move” report from Chief Economist Adam Ozimek found this is the result of growing acceptance of remote work amid the pandemic.

The report also found the shift to remote work will increase near-term migration within the US by 3 to 4 times the standard rate, with 6.9% to 11.5% of households planning to move.

“Remote work presents a potential solution for those seeking job opportunities that don’t want to pay the high housing costs of a major city,” Ozimek said.  “As our survey shows, many people see remote work as an opportunity to relocate to where they want and where they can afford to live.  This is an early indicator of the much larger impacts that remote work could have in increasing economic efficiency and spreading opportunity.”

Additional findings from the report include:

  • Major cities will see the biggest out-migration: 20.6% of those planning to move are currently based in a major city. 
  • People are seeking less expensive housing: Altogether, more than half, 52.5%, are planning to move to a house that is significantly more affordable than their current home.
  • People are moving beyond regular commute distances: 54.7% of people are moving 2 hours away or more from their current location, which is beyond daily or even weekly commuting distances for most.
  • Housing market data confirms that the highest priced markets are taking the biggest hits: Rental data from found that the top 10% of the most expensive markets saw a 13% percentage-point larger decrease in rent prices than rental markets in the bottom 10%.

The research included a survey of more than 20,000 people to learn about their moving intentions.

Only 28% of Workers Expect to Return to the Workplace by End of 2020

Daily News, October 8, 2020

Only 28% of US workers expect to return to the workplace by the end of this year, according to a poll of more than 1,100 US workers by The Conference Board.  Another 38% expect to return to the workplace at some point in 2021 or beyond.

The poll also found that only 17% feel very comfortable returning to the workplace; 39% are moderately comfortable and 31% are not comfortable.

Low-ranking employees are more concerned than senior leadership about returning.  The Conference Board’s survey found that 20% of individual contributors and 21% of front-line managers are most likely to feel pressure to return in order to keep their jobs.  Only 4% of C-suite executives felt the same.

“These survey results reinforce the need for employers to hear concerns about the pressure that individual contributors and front-line managers, especially, feel to return to the workplace to keep their jobs,” said Rebecca Ray, executive VP of human capital at The Conference Board.

Women are also more concerned about various aspects of returning to the workplace than men.

Women feel more pressure to return to the workplace, 17%, than men, 10%.  In addition, 67% of women are more concerned about the risk of personally contracting Covid-19 while just 61% of men are.

In addition, 39% of women are concerned with lack of adherence to safety guidelines by colleagues compared to 32% of men.

35% of US Employers are Lowering Projected Salary Increase Budgets for Next Year

October 7, 2020

About a third of US employers, 35%, are reducing their projected 2021 salary increase budgets amid weaker-than-anticipated results and cost management concerns, according to a survey of 705 employers by Towers Willis Watson.  On the other hand, 50% are keeping them intact.

Employee groups other than executives are projected to receive salary increases of 2.6% in 2021.  That’s down from an earlier survey that found projected increases of 2.8%.  About 1-in-6  employees will not receive a pay raise in 2021.

The salary increase for top executives is expected to be 2.5% in 2021.

“The pandemic’s economic implications have led employers in virtually every industry to rethink their compensation plans and budgets for the coming year,” said Catherine Hartmann, North America Rewards practice leader, Willis Towers Watson.  “For many companies, reducing salary budgets, and in some cases, suspending pay raises, was the most viable option, as they balance remaining competitive with maintaining financial stability.”

The new ADP/Moody’s National Employment Report: Over 68% of all new job growth in October 2020 came from Small and Medium-size Companies!

November 4, 2020

Private sector employment increased by 365,000 jobs from September to October according to the October ADP National Employment Report.  Broadly distributed to the public each month, free of charge, the ADP NER is produced by the ADP Research Institute in collaboration with Moody’s Analytics.  The report, which is derived from ADP’s actual payroll data, measures the change in total nonfarm private employment each month on a seasonally-adjusted basis.

The matched sample used to develop the ADP National Employment Report® was derived from ADP payroll data, which represents 460,000 U.S. clients employing nearly 26,000,000 workers in the U.S.  The September total of jobs added was revised from 749,000 to 753,000.

Total U.S. Nonfarm Private Employment:             365,000

By Company Size

Small businesses:                    114,000

1-19 employees                          63,000

20-49 employees                        51,000

Medium businesses:               135,000

50-499 employees                    135,000

Large businesses:                   116,000

500-999 employees                     32,000

1,000+ employees                       83,000

By Sector

I.  Goods-producing:                                 17,000

A.  Natural resources/mining                          3,000

B.  Construction                                               7,000

C.  Manufacturing                                            7,000

II.  Service-providing:                             348,000

A.  Trade/transportation/utilities                     53,000

B.  Information                                                        0

C.  Financial activities                                                  6,000

D.  Professional/business services                  60,000

                        1.  Professional/technical services                             19,000

                        2.  Management of companies/enterprises                  2,000

                        3.  Administrative/support services                           40,000

            E.  Education/health services                           79,000

                        1.  Health care/social assistance                                 68,000

                        2.  Education                                                              11,000

            F.  Leisure/hospitality                                    125,000

            G.  Other services                                             23,000

Franchise Employment

Franchise Jobs                        49,600

“The labor market continues to add jobs, yet at a slower pace,” said Ahu Yildirmaz, vice president and co-head of the ADP Research Institute.  “Although the pace is slower, we’ve seen employment gains across all industries and sizes.”

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

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

October 2020 Small Business Report Highlights

Total Small Business Employment:             114,000

●By Size  
►1-19 employees 63,000
►20-49 employees 51,000
●By Sector for 1-49 Employees  
►Goods Producing 2,000
►Service Producing 112,000
●By Sector for 1-19 Employees  
►Goods Producing 0
►Service Producing 63,000
●By Sector for 20-49 Employees  
►Goods Producing 2,000
►Service Producing 49,000

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 – August 2020

October 6, 2020

The number of job openings was little changed at 6,500,000 on the last business day of August, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.  Hires were little changed at 5,900,000 in August.  Total separations decreased to 4,600,000.  Within separations, the quits rate was little changed at 2.0% while the layoffs and discharges rate decreased to a series low of 1.0%.  This release includes estimates of the number and rate of job openings, hires, and separations for the total nonfarm sector, by industry, and by 4 geographic regions.

Job Openings

On the last business day of August, the number and rate of job openings were little changed at 6,500,000 and 4.4%, respectively.  Over the month, the number of job openings edged down for total private (-242,000) and was little changed for government.  Job openings decreased in construction (-68,000), and information (-25,000).  The number of job openings decreased in the Midwest region.


Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic Impact on August 2020 JOLTS Data                                                                                                                                                                                     |

Data collection for the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey was affected by the coronavirus                |


The number of job openings in August (not seasonally adjusted) decreased over the year to 6,600,000 (-685,000) reflecting the continued impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the labor market.  Job openings increased over the year for federal government reflecting recruitment efforts related to the 2020 Census.  Nondurable goods manufacturing job openings also grew since August 2019.  Job openings decreased in a number of industries with the largest decreases in accommodation and food services and in transportation, warehousing, and utilities.  The number of job openings decreased in all 4regions.


In August, the number and rate of hires were little changed at 5,900,000 and 4.2%, respectively.  Hires increased in federal government (+246,000), largely because of temporary 2020 Census hiring.  Hires also increased in durable goods manufacturing (+41,000).  Hires decreased in accommodation and food services (-177,000), health care and social assistance (-73,000), and real estate and rental and leasing (-28,000).  The number of hires was little changed in all 4 regions.

The number of hires in August (not seasonally adjusted) was little changed over the year.  Hires increased in a number of industries over the year, with the largest increases in federal government and retail trade.  Hires decreased in accommodation and food services and in state and local government education.  The number of hires was little changed in all 4 regions.


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

In August, the number and rate of total separations decreased to 4,600,000 (-394,000) and 3.3%, respectively.  Total separations decreased in other services (-80,000) and in arts, entertainment, and recreation (-56,000).  The number of total separations increased in federal government (+13,000).  Total separations decreased in the West region.

Over the year, the number of total separations (not seasonally adjusted) decreased to 5,500,000 (-1,248,000).  Total separations decreased in a number of industries with the largest decreases in accommodation and food services and in professional and business services.  Total separations increased in federal government.  The number of total separations decreased in all 4 regions.

In August, the number of quits edged down to 2,800,000 (-139,000) and the quits rate was 2.0%.  Quits decreased in a number of industries with the largest decreases in other services (-48,000), construction (-40,000), and arts, entertainment, and recreation

(-18,000).  The number of quits increased in finance and insurance (+36,000).  The number of quits decreased in the Midwest region. 

Over the year, the number of quits (not seasonally adjusted) decreased to 3,600,000

 (-838,000).  Quits declined in several industries, with the largest decreases in accommodation and food services and in professional and business services.  Over the year, the number of quits decreased in all 4 regions.

The number and rate of layoffs and discharges decreased to series lows of 1,500,000

 (-272,000) and 1.0%, respectively in August.  Layoffs and discharges decreased in a few industries, with the largest decreases in professional and business services (-95,000), accommodation and food services (-62,000), and durable goods manufacturing (-42,000).  The number of layoffs and discharges increased in federal government (+12,000).  The number of layoffs and discharges decreased in the South and West regions.

Over the year, the layoffs and discharges level (not seasonally adjusted) decreased to 1,600,000 (-418,000).  Layoffs and discharges decreased in a number of industries with the largest decreases in professional and business services and in other services.  The number of layoffs and discharges increased in health care and social assistance and in federal government.  The number of layoffs and discharges decreased over the year in the Northeast and South regions.

The number of other separations was little changed in August at 328,000.  Other separations decreased in transportation, warehousing, and utilities (-17,000) and nondurable goods manufacturing (-5,000).  Other separations increased in other services (+13,000).  Other separations was little changed in all 4 regions.

Over the year, the other separations level (not seasonally adjusted) was little changed at 350,000.  Other separations increased in other services and federal government.  The number of other separations decreased in wholesale trade.  The number of other separations was little changed in all 4 regions.

Net Change in Employment

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

Over the 12 months ending in August, hires totaled 70,400,000 and separations totaled 77,400,000, yielding a net employment loss of 7,000,000.  These totals include workers who may have been hired and separated more than once during the year.


The Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey estimates for September 2020 are scheduled to be released on Tuesday, November 10, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. (ET).


As we recruiters know, that 6,500,000 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 6,500,000 published job openings now become a total of 32,500,000 published AND hidden job orders.



Online Labor Demand Rises in September

October 7, 2020

The Conference Board®-Burning Glass® Help Wanted OnLine™ (HWOL) Index rose in September and now stands at 107.5 (July 2018=100), up from 105.1 in August.  The Index rose 1.7% from July to August and is up 2.6% from a year ago.

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

Help Wanted OnLine™ (HWOL) Index: United States, seasonally adjusted, September 2020 [July 2018=100]


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

The next release for October 2020 is Tuesday, November 10 at 10 AM.

U-6 Update

In October 2020, the regular unemployment rate fell 1.0% to 6.9% and the broader U-6 measure fell 0.7% to 12.1%.  Both of these percentages are still almost totally due to the COVID-19 economic shutdown across the U.S and the slow ‘Reopening’.

The above 12.1% 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 October U-6 numbers for the previous 17 years:

October 2019              7.0%

October 2018              7.5%

October 2017              8.0%

October 2016              9.5%

October 2015              9.8%

October 2014              11.5%

October 2013              13.7%

October 2012              14.5%

October 2011              16.0%

October 2010              17.0%

October 2009              17.4%

October 2008              12.0%

October 2007              8.4%

October 2006              8.1%

October 2005              8.6%

October 2004              9.7%

October 2003              10.2%

The October 2020 BLS Analysis

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 638,000 in October.  These improvements in the labor market reflect the continued resumption of economic activity that had been curtailed due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and efforts to contain it.  In October, notable job gains occurred in leisure and hospitality, professional and business services, retail trade, and construction.  Employment in government declined.
The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for August was revised up by 4,000, from +1,489,000 to +1,493,000, and the change for September was revised up by 11,000, from +661,000 to +672,000.  With these revisions, employment in August and September combined was 15,000 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 November 6th, 2020, the BLS published the most recent unemployment rate for October 2020 of 6.9% (actually, it is 6.876 down by 0.979% from 7.855% in September.

The unemployment rate was determined by dividing the unemployed of 11,061,000

(–down from the month before by 1,519,000—since October 2019, this number has increased by 5,204,000) by the total civilian labor force of 160,867,000 (up by 724,000 from September 2020).  Since October 2019, our total civilian labor force has decreased by 3,534,000 workers.

(The continuing ‘Strange BLS Math’ saga—after a detour in December 2016 when the BLS {for the first time in years} DECREASED the total Civilian Noninstitutional Population—this month the BLS once again increased this total to 260,925,000.  This is an increase of 183,000 from last month’s increase of 184,000.  In one year, this population has increased by 1,080,000. For the last 3 years the Civilian Noninstitutional Population has increased each month—except in December 2016, December 2018 & December 2019—by…)

Up from September 2020by183,000
Up from August 2020by184,000
Up from July 2020by185,000
Up from June 2020by169,000
Up from May 2020by157,000
Up from April 2020by151,000
Up from March 2020by138,000
Up from February 2020by130,000
Up from January 2020by126,000
Down from December 2019by679,000
Up from November 2019by161,000
Up from October 2019by175,000
Up from September 2019by207,000
Up from August 2019by206,000
Up from July 2019by207,000
Up from June 2019by188,000
Up from May 2019by176,000
Up from April 2019by168,000
Up from March 2019by156,000
Up from February 2019by145,000
Up from January 2019by153,000
Down from December 2018by649,000
Up from November 2018by180,000
Up from October 2018by194,000
Up from September 2018by224,000
Up from August 2018by224,000
Up from July 2018by223,000
Up from June 2018by201,000
Up from May 2018by188,000
Up from April 2018by182,000
Up from March 2018by175,000
Up from February 2018by163,000
Up from January 2018by154,000
Up from December 2017by671,000
Up from November 2017by160,000
Up from October 2017by183,000

This month the BLS has increased the Civilian Labor Force to 160,867,000 (up from September by 724,000, mainly due to the reopening of the economy).

Subtract the second number (‘civilian labor force’) from the first number (‘civilian noninstitutional population’) and you get 100,058,000 ‘Not in Labor Force’—down by 541,000 from last month’s 100,599,000.  In one year, this NILF population has increased by 4,614,000.  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 .3% to 61.7%.  This ‘reopening’ rate is 0.7% below the historically low rate of 62.4% recorded in September 2015—and, before that, the rate recorded in October 1977—9 months into Jimmy Carter’s presidency—almost 40 years ago!

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

Anyway, back to the point I am trying to make.  On the surface, these new unemployment rates are scary, but let’s look a little deeper and consider some other numbers.

The unemployment rate includes all types of workers—construction workers, government workers, etc.  We recruiters, on the other hand, mainly place management, professional and related types of workers.  That unemployment rate in October was 3.7% (this rate was .8% lower than last month’s 4.5%).  Or you can look at it another way.  We usually place people who have college degrees.  That unemployment rate in Octoberwas4.2% (this rate was .6% lower than last month’s 4.8%).

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 October 29th, the US Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) announced the real gross domestic product (GDP) increased at an annual rate of 33.1% in the third quarter of 2020, according to the “advance” estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis.  In the second quarter, real GDP decreased <-31.4%>.

The GDP estimate released today is based on source data that are incomplete or subject to further revision by the source agency.  The “second” estimate for the third quarter, based on more complete data, will be released on November 25, 2020.

COVID-19 Impact on the Third-Quarter 2020 GDP Estimate

The increase in third quarter GDP reflected continued efforts to reopen businesses and resume activities that were postponed or restricted due to COVID-19.  The full economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic cannot be quantified in the GDP estimate for the third quarter of 2020 because the impacts are generally embedded in source data and cannot be separately identified.

The increase in real GDP reflected increases in personal consumption expenditures (PCE), private inventory investment, exports, nonresidential fixed investment, and residential fixed investment that were partly offset by decreases in federal government spending (reflecting fewer fees paid to administer the Paycheck Protection Program loans) and state and local government spending. Imports, which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP, increased.

The increase in PCE reflected increases in services (led by health care as well as food services and accommodations) and goods (led by motor vehicles and parts as well as clothing and footwear).  The increase in private inventory investment primarily reflected an increase in retail trade (led by motor vehicle dealers).  The increase in exports primarily reflected an increase in goods (led by automotive vehicles, engines, and parts as well as capital goods).  The increase in nonresidential fixed investment primarily reflected an increase in equipment (led by transportation equipment).  The increase in residential fixed investment primarily reflected an increase in brokers’ commissions and other ownership transfer costs.

Updates to GDP

In the third estimate, the second-quarter change in real GDP was revised up 0.3% from the second estimate.  PCE, residential investment, and state and local government spending were revised up.  These upward revisions were partly offset by downward revisions to exports and to private nonresidential fixed investment (mainly intellectual property products).

Bringing Together National, Industry, and State GDP Statistics

BEA has accelerated the release of its industry and state GDP statistics to align with the quarterly estimates of national GDP.  Starting with today’s GDP release, GDP by industry statistics are issued on the same day – and in the same news release – as the third estimate of national GDP.  GDP by state statistics will follow in a separate news release within 2 days.  These 3 major dimensions of GDP are now synchronized to cover the same quarter, giving users a fuller and more timely view of the U.S. economy.

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.  Private goods-producing industries decreased 34.4%, private services-producing industries decreased 33.1%, and government decreased 16.6%.  Overall, 20 of 22 industry groups contributed to the second-quarter decline in real GDP.  Within private goods-producing industries, the leading contributor to the decrease was durable goods manufacturing (led by motor vehicles, bodies and trailers, and parts).

Within private services-producing industries, the leading contributors to the decrease were accommodation and food services (led by food services and drinking places); health care and social assistance (led by ambulatory health care); transportation and warehousing (led by air transportation); arts, entertainment, and recreation; wholesale trade; and professional, scientific, and technical services.  Offsetting these decreases was an increase in finance and insurance (led by the securities and banking industries).

The decrease in government was more than accounted for by a decrease in state and local government which was partly offset by an increase in federal government.

*          *          *

Next release: November 25, 2020 at 8:30 A.M. EST
Gross Domestic Product (Second Estimate)
Third Quarter 2020


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

There are five main sources of unemployment:

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

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

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

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

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

Other factors influencing the unemployment rate:

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

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


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

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

October 2019              1.8%

October 2018              1.9%

October 2017              2.1%

October 2016              2.5%

October 2015              2.2%

October 2014              2.7%

October 2013              3.4%

October 2012              3.8%

October 2011              4.4%

October 2010              4.5%

October 2009              4.7%

October 2008              3.0%

October 2007              2.0%

October 2006              1.9%

October 2005              2.2%

October 2004              2.4%

October 2003              2.9%

October 2002              2.8%

October 2001              2.7%

October 2000              1.7%

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

October 2019              2.1%

October 2018              2.0%

October 2017              2.0%

October 2016              2.6%

October 2015              2.5%

October 2014              3.0%

October 2013              3.8%

October 2012              3.7%

October 2011              4.4%

October 2010              4.7%

October 2009              4.7%

October 2008              3.1%

October 2007              2.1%

October 2006              1.9%

October 2005              2.3%

October 2004              2.5%

October 2003              3.1%

October 2002              3.0%

October 2001              2.7%

October 2000              1.6%

The October 2020 rates for these two categories, 3.7% and 4.2%, 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