BLS Analysis for Recruiters January 2022

Bob Marshall’s January 2022 BLS Analysis for Recruiters; 2/4/22

January BLS Preface

TBMG Coaching Updates and Product News:

“The New 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

11. “What to do When Your Office is in A Malaise in 2021” – 7-part series

12. “The 6 Lies That Block Your Success” – 9-part series

Our new TBMG Training Program:

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


“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 which is now open for enrollment—and is engineered to answer the needs of professional recruiters just like you!

Now open for enrollment. The 2022 Elite Recruiter Masterclass (ERM) offering my most comprehensive training to help you reach new levels of success in your recruiting career. Including how to find and retain the best clients and candidates as well as understanding how to spot the best job orders. Make this year you’re best ever by signing up today!

Enroll today by clicking the link below.


Best Regards,


Elite Recruiter Masterclass


*” The Simple Brilliance of…” is a series of articles focusing on ideas and techniques from some of the great thinkers, movers and shakers in the field of recruitment and human development who I have had the privilege of meeting and discussing various topics over the past 40 years.

In this newly revised series, entitled “The SIMPLE Brilliance of*” we will explore how brilliant ideas come from simple beginnings and yet can have major impacts.

For this series I have decided to publish on the next several Tuesdays.  Here are the ten parts and the dates I will release each:

Tuesday, January 25 – Part One – The SIMPLE Brilliance of…John Schuhmacher (Theme: Flexibility)

Tuesday, February 1 – Part Two – The SIMPLE Brilliance of…Bo Schembechler (Theme: Leadership)

Tuesday, February 8 – Part Three – The SIMPLE Brilliance of…Robocruiter – Module One (Theme: Pre-Qualification)

Tuesday, February 15 – Part Four – The SIMPLE Brilliance of…Robocruiter – Module Two (Theme: Set-up)

Tuesday, February 22 – Part Five – The SIMPLE Brilliance of…Lou Scott – Module One (Theme: Initial Marketing Approach)

Tuesday, March 1 – Part Six – The SIMPLE Brilliance of…Lou Scott – Module Two (Theme: Motivation)

Tuesday, March 8 – Part Seven – The SIMPLE Brilliance of…John Lewis (Theme: Candidate Self Closes)

Tuesday, March 15 – Part Eight – The SIMPLE Brilliance of…Larry, The Super Manager (Theme: Recruiter Structure)

Tuesday, March 22 – Part Nine – The SIMPLE Brilliance of…Ron Allen (Theme: Recruiter Guidance)

Tuesday, March 29 – Part Ten – The SIMPLE Brilliance of…Mike Crosswell (Theme: Goal Setting & Planning for each New Year)

The Plan

So, if you are ready to take your ‘first’ step toward learning some of the simple brilliances that can change your life and help you to become supremely successful, then go to my website at and click on the Featured Articles tab.  The most current article in the series will be there.  Enjoy!!


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.

Wages in America Rise by 4.3%, Both Job Holders and Switchers Hit All-Time Highs

Daily News, January 27, 2022

US workers’ wages rose 4.3% year over year in the fourth quarter, up from a 3.2% average in the third quarter, according to the ADP Research Institute’s Workforce Vitality report, released Jan. 26.  In December, wage growth for both job holders and job switchers hit all-time highs of 5.9% and 8.0% respectively.

The average wage rose $1.33 year over year to $31.53 per hour.

“ADP data showed US wage growth increased 4.4% on average for all workers in December 2021, with job switchers and younger job holders [seeing] the largest wage growth,” said Nela Richardson, chief economist, ADP.  “Leisure and hospitality, which experienced the greatest job loss due to the pandemic, was a notable exception to this overall trend.  While leisure and hospitality led employment gains in the first half of 2021, it is the only industry where job switchers’ wages were basically flat on average in December 2021 compared to previous year.”

Individual-level wage growth measures provide a more precise view of how the pandemic and a tight labor market are impacting wages, according to the report.  Job holder wages in December 2021 surged by 5.9% from December 2020, an all-time high level of growth.

But wage growth among job switchers has been the biggest beneficiary of current labor market conditions as firms are struggling to find available workers.  Job switchers’ wage growth averaged 7.5% in the fourth quarter, up from 4.7% at the beginning of 2021.

The impact of the pandemic has varied across many dimensions, including gender.  Overall wage growth for men and women each bottomed out just above 1% in May.  However, since that time, female wage growth has surged to 5.7% while the increase for men has been much more tepid at only 3.4% in December.

US Employers Increase Salary Projection for this Year

Daily News, January 18, 2022

US employers are boosting their salary increase projections for this year, according to a survey taken of 1,004 US companies in October and November by WTW, the new brand for Willis Towers Watson.

It found that nearly a third of US companies increased their salary projections from earlier in the year.  Companies are now budgeting an overall average salary increase of 3.4% this year compared with the average 3.0% increase they had budgeted in June.

“There’s a great reprioritization of work, rewards and careers underway, and it’s putting significant pressure on compensation programs for many employers,” said Catherine Hartmann, North America rewards practice leader at WTW.

This year’s increase was already above the average pay increase of 2.8% in 2021.

Employees in these five industries are expected to see the largest salary increases in 2022 compared with their actual increases in 2021:

The survey found that 74% cited the tight labor markets for their increased salary budgets while only 34% cited stronger financial results and 31% cited inflation or the rising cost of suppliers.

Leading Index Points to Growth Continuing into Spring Despite Omicron: The Conference Board

Daily News, January 21, 2022

The Conference Board Leading Economic Index for the US points to continued growth in the US economy into spring.

It rose 0.8% in December to a level of 120.8 (2016=100).  That follows increases of 0.7% in November and 0.7% in October.

“The US [Leading Economic Index] ended 2021 on a rising trajectory, suggesting the economy will continue to expand well into the spring,” said Ataman Ozyildirim, senior director of economic research at The Conference Board. “For the first quarter, headwinds from the omicron variant, labor shortages and inflationary pressures — as well as the Federal Reserve’s expected interest rate hikes — may moderate economic growth.”

The Conference Board forecast GDP growth for the first quarter to slow to a relatively healthy 2.2% (annualized), Ozyildirim said.  Growth is forecast to be higher for full-year 2022 at 3.5%, well above the pre-pandemic trend growth.

The organization also noted that this month’s Leading Economic Index includes annual benchmark revisions.

US Tech-Sector Employment Rises by just 2,000 in December Amid Tight Supply of Talent

Daily News, January 13, 2022

The IT sector in the US added only 2,000 jobs in December, with limited supply of talent to blame rather than demand, according to an analysis by the TechServe Alliance, a trade association representing the IT and engineering staffing and solutions industry.

“We expect a continued slowdown in hiring with a flat employment growth rate in the IT and engineering sectors for some time to come,” TechServe Alliance CEO Mark Roberts said.  “With the tech unemployment rate dropping to 2%, it is clear the slowdown is more a function of companies struggling to find qualified talent rather than lack of demand.”

December’s month-over-month increase in IT jobs represented an increase of only 0.04% for total jobs to a total of nearly 5,400,000.

“If you haven’t done so already, now’s a good time to revisit compensation and benefits packages to ensure they are competitive in today’s new normal, work with your recruiters to adopt a location-no-bar hiring policy, update your technology and security to enable smooth remote work environment,” Roberts said.

The TechServe Alliance also reported engineering employment rose by 0.23% sequentially in December to a total of nearly 2,670,000.

The new ADP/Moody’s National Employment Report: Just over 67% of the employment decrease from December 2021 to January 2022 came from Small and Medium-size Companies!

February 2, 2022

Private sector employment decreased by <-301,000> jobs from December to January according to the January 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 December total of jobs added was revised downward from 807,000 to 776,000.

Total U.S. Nonfarm Private Employment:             <-301,000>

By Company Size

Small businesses:                                  <-144,000>

1-19 employees                                      <-106,000>

20-49 employees                                      <-38,000>

Medium businesses:                               <-59,000>

50-499 employees                                    <-59,000>

Large businesses:                                  <-98,000>

500-999 employees                                     <4,000>

1,000+ employees                                    <-94,000>

By Sector

I.  Goods-producing:                                             <-27,000>

A.  Natural resources/mining                                                       4,000

B.  Construction                                                                      <-10,000>

C.  Manufacturing                                                                   <-21,000>

II.  Service-providing:                                         <-274,000>

A.  Trade/transportation/utilities                                              <-62,000>

B.  Information                                                                          <-8,000>

C.  Financial activities                                                                           <-9,000>

D.  Professional/business services                                             <-3,000>

                        1.  Professional/technical services                                     4,000

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

                        3.  Administrative/support services                               <-6,000>

            E.  Education/health services                                                   <-15,000>

                        1.  Health care/social assistance                                   <-10,000>

                        2.  Education                                                                  <-5,000>

            F.  Leisure/hospitality                                                            <-154,000>

            G.  Other services                                                                     <-23,000>

Franchise Employment

Franchise Jobs                                     1,600

“The labor market recovery took a step back at the start of 2022 due to the effect of the Omicron variant and its significant, though likely temporary, impact to job growth, “said Nela Richardson, chief economist, ADP.  “The majority of industry sectors experienced job loss, marking the most recent decline since December 2020.  Leisure and hospitality saw the largest setback after substantial gains in fourth quarter 2021, while small businesses were hit hardest by losses, erasing most of the job gains made in December 2021.”

(The February 2022 ADP National Employment Report will be released at 8:15 a.m. ET on March 2, 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.

January 2022 ADP Small Business Report Highlights

Total Small Business Employment:             <-144,000>

●By Size  
►1-19 employees <-106,000>
►20-49 employees <-38,000>
●By Sector for 1-49 Employees  
►Goods Producing <-23,000>
►Service Producing <-121,000>
●By Sector for 1-19 Employees  
►Goods Producing <-17,000>
►Service Producing <-89,000>
●By Sector for 20-49 Employees  
►Goods Producing <-6,000>
►Service Producing <-32,000>

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 – December 2021

February 1, 2022         

The number of job openings was little changed at 10,900,000 on the last business day of December, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Hires and total separations decreased to 6,300,000 and 5,900,000, respectively. Within separations, the quits rate was little changed at 2.9%. The layoffs and discharges rate was little changed at 0.8%, a series low. 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 December, the number of job openings was little changed at 10,900,000. The job openings rate was unchanged at 6.8%. Job openings increased in several industries with the largest increases in accommodation and food services (+133,000), information (+40,000), and nondurable goods manufacturing and state and local government education (+31,000 each). Job openings decreased in finance and insurance (-89,000) and in wholesale trade (-48,000). The number of job openings was little changed in all four regions.


In December, the number of hires decreased to 6,300,000 (-333,000). The hires rate was little changed at 4.2%. Hires decreased in professional and business services

(-159,000). Hires decreased in the West region.


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 December, the number of total separations decreased to 5,900,000 (-305,000). The total separations rate was little changed at 4.0%. Among the industries, only federal government had an increase in total separations (+15,000). Total separations decreased in the Northeast and South regions.

The number of quits edged down in December to 4,300,000 (-161,000) following a series high in November. The quits rate was little changed at 2.9%. Quits decreased in health care and social assistance (-89,000), accommodation and food services (-64,000), and construction (-44,000). Quits increased in nondurable goods manufacturing (+19,000). The number of quits decreased in the South region.

In December, the number and rate of layoffs and discharges were little changed at 1,200,000 and 0.8%, respectively; both series lows. Layoffs and discharges decreased in retail trade (-67,000) but increased in federal government (+14,000). The number of layoffs and discharges decreased in the Northeast region.

The number of other separations was little changed in December at 392,000. Other separations decreased in durable goods manufacturing (-7,000). The other separations level increased in educational services and in arts, entertainment, and recreation (+3,000 each). Other separations increased in the West region.

Net Change in Employment

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

Over the 12 months ending in December 2021, hires totaled 75,300,000 and separations totaled 68,900,000, yielding a net employment gain of 6,400,000. These totals include workers who may have been hired and separated more than once during the year.

Establishment Size Class

In December, the hires rate decreased in large establishments with 5,000 or more employees.


The Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey estimates for January 2022 are scheduled to be released on Wednesday, March 9, 2022, at 10:00 a.m. (ET).

As we recruiters know that 10,900,000 number only represents 20% of the jobs currently available in the marketplace.  The other 80% of job openings are unpublished and are filled through networking or word of mouth or by using a RECRUITER.   So, those 10,900,000 published job openings now become a total of 54,500,000 published AND hidden job orders.



Online Labor Demand Rises in December

January 12, 2022

The Conference Board®−Burning Glass® Help Wanted OnLine® (HWOL) Index rose in December and now stands at 170.7 (July 2018=100), up from 160.6 in November.  The 6.3% increase between November and December follows a 4.8% decrease between October and November.  Overall, the Index is up 66.2% from a year ago.

The Help Wanted OnLine® Index is produced in collaboration with Emsi Burning Glass, 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 Emsi Burning Glass, 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.

About Emsi Burning Glass

Emsi Burning Glass is the world’s leading authority on job skills, workforce talent, and labor market dynamics, providing expertise that empowers businesses, education providers, and governments to find the skills and talent they need and enables workers to unlock new career opportunities.  Headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts, and Moscow, Idaho, Emsi Burning Glass is active in more than 30 countries and has offices in the United Kingdom, Italy, New Zealand, and India.

The next release for January 2022 is Wednesday, February 9, 2022, at 10 AM.

U-6 Update

In January 2022, the regular unemployment rate rose .1% to 4.0% and the broader U-6 measure fell .2% to 7.1%.  Both percentages are still almost totally due to the COVID-19 economic shutdown across the U.S and the slow ‘Reopening’.

The above 7.1% 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 January U-6 numbers for the previous 18 years:

January 2020               6.9%

January 2019               8.0%

January 2018               8.2%

January 2017               9.4%

January 2016               9.9%

January 2015               11.3%

January 2014               12.7%

January 2013               14.4%

January 2012               15.1%

January 2011               16.1%

January 2010               16.5%

January 2009               13.9%

January 2008               9.0%

January 2007               8.3%

January 2006               8.4%

January 2005               9.3%

January 2004               9.9%

January 2003               9.9%

The January 2022 BLS Analysis

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 467,000 in January and the unemployment rate rose by 0.1% to 4.0%, the U.S. bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.  Employment growth continued in leisure and hospitality, in professional and business services, in retail trade, and in transportation and warehousing.

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 February 4th, 2022, the BLS published the most recent unemployment rate for January 2022 of 4.0% (actually, it is 3.979%, up .085% from 3.894% in December.

The unemployment rate was determined by dividing the unemployed of 6,513,000 (–up from the month before by 194,000—since January 2021, this number has decreased by 3,667,000) by the total civilian labor force of 163,687,000 (up by 1,393,000 from December 2021).  Since January 2021, our total civilian labor force has increased by 3,503,000 workers.

(The continuing ‘Strange BLS Math’ saga—after a detour in December 2016 when the BLS {for the first time in years} DECREASED the total Civilian Noninstitutional Population—this month the BLS increased this total to 263,202,000.  This is an increase of 1,066,000 from last month’s increase of 107,000.  In one year, this population has increased by 2,351,000.  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 December 2021by1,066,000
Up from November 2021by107,000
Up from October 2021by121,000
Up from September 2021by142,000
Up from August 2021by155,000
Up from July 2021by142,000
Up from June 2021by131,000
Up from May 2021by128,000
Up from April 2021by107,000
Up from March 2021by100,000
Up from February 2021by85,000
Up from January 2021by67,000
Down from December 2020by379,000
Up from November 2020by145,000
Up from October 2020by160,000
Up from September 2020by183,000
Up from August 2020by184,000
Up from July 2020by185,000
Up from June 2020by169,000
Up from May 2020by157,000
Up from April 2020by151,000
Up from March 2020by138,000
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

Subtract the ‘civilian labor force’ from the ‘civilian noninstitutional population’) and you get 99,515,000 ‘Not in Labor Force’—down by 327,000 from last month’s 99,842,000.  In one year, this NILF population has decreased by 1,151,000.  The government tells us that most of these NILFs got discouraged and just gave up looking for a job.  My monthly recurring question is: “If that is the case, how do they survive when they don’t earn any money because they don’t have a job?  Are they ALL relying on the government to support them??”

This month, our Employment Participation Rate—the population 16 years and older working or seeking work—rose to 62.2%.  This rate is .2% 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 January was 2.3% (this rate was .6% higher than last month’s 1.7%).  Or you can look at it another way.  We usually place people who have college degrees.  That unemployment rate in January was2.3% (this rate was .2% higher than last month’s 2.1%).

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 January 27th, the real gross domestic product (GDP) increased at an annual rate of 6.9% in the fourth quarter of 2021, according to the “advance” estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis.  In the third quarter, real GDP increased 2.3%.

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 fourth quarter, based on more complete data, will be released on February 24, 2022.

The increase in real GDP primarily reflected increases in private inventory investment, exports, personal consumption expenditures (PCE), and nonresidential fixed investment that were partly offset by decreases in both federal and state and local government spending.  Imports, which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP, increased.

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

The increase in fourth quarter GDP reflected the continued economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.  In the fourth quarter, COVID-19 cases resulted in continued restrictions and disruptions in the operations 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 as provisions of several federal programs expired or tapered off.  The full economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic cannot be quantified in the GDP estimate for the fourth quarter because the impacts are generally embedded in source data and cannot be separately identified.

The increase in private inventory investment was led by retail and wholesale trade industries.  Within retail, inventory investment by motor vehicle dealers was the leading contributor.  The increase in exports reflected increases in both goods and services.  The increase in exports of goods was widespread, and the leading contributors were consumer goods, industrial supplies and materials, and foods, feeds, and beverages.  The increase in exports of services was led by travel.  The increase in PCE primarily reflected an increase in services, led by health care, recreation, and transportation.  The increase in nonresidential fixed investment primarily reflected an increase in intellectual property products that was partly offset by a decrease in structures.

The decrease in federal government spending primarily reflected a decrease in defense spending on intermediate goods and services.  The decrease in state and local government spending reflected decreases in consumption expenditures (led by compensation of state and local government employees, notably education) and in gross investment (led by new educational structures).  The increase in imports primarily reflected an increase in goods (led by non-food and non-automotive consumer goods, as well as capital goods).

Real GDP accelerated in the fourth quarter, increasing 6.9% after increasing 2.3% in the third quarter.  The acceleration in real GDP in the fourth quarter primarily reflected an upturn in exports, accelerations in private inventory investment and PCE, and smaller decreases in residential fixed investment and federal government spending that were partly offset by a downturn in state and local government spending.  Imports accelerated.

Current‑dollar GDP increased 14.3% at an annual rate, or $790.1 billion, in the fourth quarter to a level of $23.99 trillion. bIn the third quarter, GDP increased 8.4%, or $461.3 billion.

The price index for gross domestic purchases increased 6.9% in the fourth quarter, compared with an increase of 5.6% in the third quarter.  The PCE price index increased 6.5%, compared with an increase of 5.3%.  Excluding food and energy prices, the PCE price index increased 4.9%, compared with an increase of 4.6%.

Personal Income

Current-dollar personal income increased $106.3 billion in the fourth quarter, compared with an increase of $127.9 billion in the third quarter.  The increase primarily reflected increases in compensation (led by private wages and salaries), personal income receipts on assets, and rental income that were partly offset by a decrease in personal current transfer receipts (notably, government social benefits).  Within government social benefits, the decrease was more than accounted for by a decrease in unemployment insurance, following the expiration of pandemic-related unemployment programs.

Disposable personal income increased $14.1 billion, or 0.3%, in the fourth quarter, compared with an increase of $36.7 billion, or 0.8%, in the third quarter.  Real disposable personal income decreased 5.8%, compared with a decrease of 4.3%.

Personal saving was $1.34 trillion in the fourth quarter, compared with $1.72 trillion in the third quarter.  The personal saving rate—personal saving as a percentage of disposable personal income—was 7.4% in the fourth quarter, compared with 9.5% in the third quarter.

GDP for 2021

Real GDP increased 5.7% in 2021 (from the 2020 annual level to the 2021 annual level), in contrast to a decrease of 3.4% in 2020.  The increase in real GDP in 2021 reflected increases in all major subcomponents, led by PCE, nonresidential fixed investment, exports, residential fixed investment, and private inventory investment.  Imports increased.

The increase in PCE reflected increases in both goods and services.  Within goods, the leading contributors were “other” nondurable goods (including games and toys as well as pharmaceuticals), clothing and footwear, and recreational goods and vehicles.  Within services, the leading contributors were food services and accommodations as well as health care.  The increase in nonresidential fixed investment reflected increases in equipment (led by information processing equipment) and in intellectual property products (led by software as well as research and development) that were partly offset by a decrease in structures (widespread across most categories).  The increase in exports reflected an increase in goods (mainly non-automotive capital goods) that was partly offset by a decrease in services (led by travel as well as royalties and license fees).  The increase in residential fixed investment mainly reflected an increase in new single family construction.  The increase in private inventory investment primarily reflected an increase in wholesale trade (mainly in durable goods industries).

Current-dollar GDP increased 10.0% or $2.10 trillion, in 2021 to a level of $22.99 trillion, in contrast to a decrease of 2.2%, or $478.9 billion, in 2020.

The price index for gross domestic purchases increased 3.9% in 2021, compared with an increase of 1.2% in 2020. Similarly, the PCE price index increased 3.9%, compared with an increase of 1.2%.  Excluding food and energy prices, the PCE price index increased 3.3%, compared with an increase of 1.4%.

Measured from the fourth quarter of 2020 to the fourth quarter of 2021, real GDP increased 5.5% during the period, in contrast to a decrease of 2.3% from the fourth quarter of 2019 to the fourth quarter of 2020.

The price index for gross domestic purchases, as measured from the fourth quarter of 2020 to the fourth quarter of 2021, increased 5.5%, compared with an increase of 1.4% from the fourth quarter of 2019 to the fourth quarter of 2020.  The PCE price index increased 5.5%, compared with an increase of 1.2%.  Excluding food and energy, the PCE price index increased 4.6%, compared with an increase of 1.4%.

Annual Update of the National Economic Accounts

BEA will release results from the 2022 annual update of the National Economic Accounts, which includes the National Income and Product Accounts as well as the Industry Economic Accounts, on September 29, 2022. This update will present revised statistics for GDP, GDP by Industry, and gross domestic income that cover the first quarter of 2017 through the first quarter of 2022.

*          *          *

Next release, February 24, 2022, at 8:30 A.M. EST
Gross Domestic Product (Second Estimate)
Fourth Quarter and Year 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 January “management, professional and related” types of worker category, you will find the following rates:

January 2020               2.2%

January 2019               2.5%

January 2018               2.2%

January 2017               2.3%

January 2016               2.3%

January 2015               2.9%

January 2014               3.1%

January 2013               3.9%

January 2012               4.3%

January 2011               4.7%

January 2010               5.0%

January 2009               4.1%

January 2008               2.2%

January 2007               2.0%

January 2006               2.1%

January 2005               2.4%

January 2004               3.0%

January 2003               3.2%

January 2002               3.1%

January 2001               1.8%

January 2000               1.8%

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

January 2020               2.0%

January 2019               2.4%

January 2018               2.2%

January 2017               2.5%

January 2016               2.5%

January 2015               2.8%

January 2014               3.3%

January 2013               3.8%

January 2012               4.2%

January 2011               4.2%

January 2010               4.8%

January 2009               3.9%

January 2008               2.1%

January 2007               2.1%

January 2006               2.1%

January 2005               2.4%

January 2004               2.9%

January 2003               3.0%

January 2002               2.9%

January 2001               1.6%

January 2000               1.8%

The January 2022 rates for these two categories, 2.3% 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