BLS Analysis for Recruiters November 2021 – 6 articles

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

The 6 November Articles…

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

Daily News, November 18, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

Fortune, November 16, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Daily News, November 15, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

Record 4,400,000 Quit Their Jobs in September

Daily News, November 12, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

Daily News, November 11, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Daily News, November 1, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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