BLS Analysis for Recruiters October 2021

Bob Marshall’s October 2021 BLS Analysis for Recruiters; 11/5/21

October BLS Preface

TBMG Coaching Updates and Product News:

Our new TBMG Training Program:

The New 2021 Elite Recruiter Masterclass (ERM) Training Program

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


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

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

-James Clear

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

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

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

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


Best Regards,


Elite Recruiter Masterclass

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

*Successful learners of the material presented

*Confident recruitment professionals

*Responsible members of our profession

*Effective contributors who make placement earlier and more often

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

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

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

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

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

5. “The JOB ORDER” – 6-part series

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

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

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

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

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


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

From the series preamble…

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Is now the time to pick a Coach?

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

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

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

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

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

—David Alexander, President, Soliant, January 2017


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

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

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

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

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.

GDP Hits Brakes in Q3, Slowest Growth Since Second Quarter of 2020

Daily News, October 28, 2021

Growth in the US real gross domestic product continued in the third quarter but at the slowest rate since the pandemic-hit second quarter of 2020, the US Bureau of Economic Analysis reported today.  Separately, initial jobless claims declined to a new post-pandemic low.

GDP increased at an annual rate of 2.0% in the third quarter, the Bureau of Economic Analysis announced.  That compares to growth of 6.7% in the second quarter of this year and marks the slowest growth since the second quarter of 2020 when GDP fell 31.2%.

GDP had grown since then, rising 33.8% in the third quarter of last year before rising 4.5% in the fourth quarter and 6.3% in the first quarter.

“The deceleration in real GDP in the third quarter was more than accounted for by a slowdown in [personal consumption expenditures],” according to the bureau.  “From the second quarter to the third quarter, spending for goods turned down (led by motor vehicles and parts) and services decelerated (led by food services and accommodations).”

CNN noted the “sugar rush” of Covid stimulus checks faded but reported third-quarter growth was still lower than the 2.7% that economists had predicted.

Looking back 2 years ago, GDP growth was 2.8% in the third quarter of 2019.

Jobless claims

Initial jobless claims fell by 10,000 in the week ended Oct. 23 to a seasonally adjusted level of 281,000.  It was the lowest level for initial claims since March 14, 2020, when they stood at 256,000.

The 4-week moving average of claims fell by 20,750 last week to a total of 299,250.  It too was at a post-pandemic low.  In comparison, the four-week moving average of claims was at 225,500 in the week ended March 14, 2020.

Senior-level Positions are Hardest to Fill, say 55% of Hiring Decision-Makers

Daily News, October 27, 2021

The hardest roles to fill are senior-level positions, according to 55% of US hiring decision-makers in a survey by Express Employment Professionals.

“Recruiting at all levels is difficult, but unskilled workers are slightly more available than other skill levels right now,” said Greg Sulentic, an Express franchise owner in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Express’ survey found that 68% of hiring decision-makers believe it will be easy to recruit for entry-level roles while 63% believe it will be easy to recruit for C-suite roles.  When it comes to midlevel employees, just 56% believe it will be easy.

Senior-level positions are always difficult to fill in Sulentic’s market, but he said the drop in labor force participation has accelerated the trend even further.  Midlevel roles are the ones he is truly worried about.

“I believe we will experience a massive shortage in the pipeline for mid-level employees that is even more extreme than what we are finding today,” he said.  “This will be the result of the current shortage in employees entering the workforce and the lack of trained, skilled employees to move from entry-level to midlevel.  However, senior-level will continue to be the most difficult simply due to an aging workforce retiring at greater rates.”

Express’ survey included 1,001 US hiring decision-makers and took place between March 23 and April 12.

7 in 10 Tech Employees May Quit in Next Year

Daily News, October 20, 2021

Tech workers across industries are ready to leave their jobs, according to a survey released by learning management system TalentLMS and hiring platform Workable.  The report found that 72% of tech employees in the US are thinking of quitting their jobs in the next 12 months.

The top reasons for considering a job change, other than salary and benefits, are limited career progression (41%), a lack of flexibility in working hours (40%), followed by a toxic work environment (39%).  Additionally, a lack of learning and development opportunities (32%) and remote work options (30%) are among the top reasons that drive tech employees away.

The survey also found 91% of tech employees stated that they want more training opportunities from their employers.  Machine learning and artificial intelligence were the first choice, cited by 66%, followed by cloud-native development and block chain at 49% and 46% respectively.

Other key findings include:

  • 58% of respondents say they suffer from job burnout. These employees are almost twice more likely to quit their job than those who don’t suffer from burnout.
  • 75% feel that their company focuses more on attracting new employees than investing in the existing ones.
  • Skills development (58%) is the top criterion other than salary and benefits when selecting a company to work for.
  • 62% of respondents say more learning and training opportunities would make them more motivated at work.

“We’re no longer in a crazy time.  We’re in new times, which calls for new rules of engagement when attracting talent — especially when recruiters and employers are struggling to fill roles,” said Workable Content Strategy Manager Keith MacKenzie.  “The onus is now on employers to really step up their talent attraction game — and loosen the requirements for a role.  There’s a huge path to get there: find and hire those top prospects and develop them when they’re with you.”

The online survey was conducted between Sept. 10 and Sept. 12; it included responses from 1,200 employees in the US who work in tech/IT/software departments and roles.

40% of Employed Americans Will Only Consider Remote or Hybrid Job Offers

Daily News, October 15, 2021

Spurred by the remote working environments brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic, American employees may now be showing a greater interest in flexible work opportunities, including for companies based outside of their geographic regions, according to a survey released today by Yoh.

One in four employed Americans, 40%, reported that if they were looking for a job in the next few months, they would only consider work that was at least part time out of the traditional office; this includes 24% who said they would only consider hybrid work and 16% who would only consider remote work.

25% also said that if they were to consider a job in the next few months, they would consider a job outside of their geographical location if a remote opportunity presented itself.

Additional survey findings include:

Those in higher income households more likely to consider remote opportunities outside geographical area.  Employees with an annual household income of $75,000 to $99,000 (31%) and $100,000-plus (27%) are more likely than those with an annual household income of less than $50,000 (17%) to say they would consider remote work outside of their geographical region if they were to consider a new job in the next few months.

Those in lower income households are more likely to consider in-person jobs.  21% of employed Americans with annual household incomes of less than $50,000 said that they would only consider strictly in-person job opportunities if they were considering a new job in the next few months, compared to only 8% of those with a household income of $75,000 to $99,900 and 11% of those with a household income of more than $100,000.

Married Americans more likely to be interested in hybrid work environments.  31% of employed, married Americans said that they would only consider hybrid (combination of in-person and remote work) job opportunities if they were to consider a new job in the next few months, compared to only 16% of unmarried, employed Americans.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the way Americans work and, in turn, the workforce has become more open to, and could actually prefer, working remotely or on a hybrid basis. As indicated by the survey, it’s clear that companies looking to fill positions no longer need to limit candidate pools by location as some Americans are interested in remote work,” said Yoh President Emmett McGrath.  “With this flexible workforce, employers can truly prioritize finding highly skilled candidates who are the best fit for the role and the company.  Companies have an opportunity to expand their talent pools, however, it’s still a challenge to put the right processes in place to find, recruit and place them into their organization.”

The new ADP/Moody’s National Employment Report: Over 40% of all new job growth in October 2021 came from Small and Medium-size Companies!

November 3, 2021

Private sector employment increased by 571,000 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 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 September total of jobs added was revised down from 568,000 to 523,000.

Total U.S. Nonfarm Private Employment:             571,000

By Company Size

Small businesses:                                  115,000

1-19 employees                                        56,000

20-49 employees                                      60,000

Medium businesses:                             114,000

50-499 employees                                  114,000

Large businesses:                                 342,000

500-999 employees                                   37,000

1,000+ employees                                   305,000

By Sector

I.  Goods-producing:                                            113,000

A.  Natural resources/mining                                                   6,000

B.  Construction                                                                      54,000

C.  Manufacturing                                                                   53,000

II.  Service-providing:                                         458,000

A.  Trade/transportation/utilities                                              78,000

B.  Information                                                                        14,000

C.  Financial activities                                                                         15,000

D.  Professional/business services                                           88,000

                        1.  Professional/technical services                               54,000

                        2.  Management of companies/enterprises                     4,000

                        3.  Administrative/support services                             29,000

            E.  Education/health services                                                   56,000

                        1.  Health care/social assistance                                   47,000

                        2.  Education                                                                10,000

            F.  Leisure/hospitality                                                            185,000

            G.  Other services                                                                     22,000

Franchise Employment

Franchise Jobs                                     55,300

“The labor market showed renewed momentum last month, with a jump from the third quarter average of 385,000 monthly jobs added, marking nearly 5 million job gains this year,” said Nela Richardson, chief economist, ADP.  “Service sector providers led the increase and the goods sector gains were broad based, reporting the strongest reading of the year.  Large companies fueled the stronger recovery in October, marking the second straight month of impressive growth,”

Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics, said, “The job market is revving back up as the Delta-wave of the pandemic winds down.  Job gains are accelerating across all industries, and especially among large companies.  As long as the pandemic remains contained, more big job gains are likely in coming months.”

(The November 2021 ADP National Employment Report will be released at 8:15 a.m. ET on December 1, 2021.)

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 2021 Small Business Report Highlights

Total Small Business Employment:             115,000

●By Size  
►1-19 employees 56,000
►20-49 employees 60,000
●By Sector for 1-49 Employees  
►Goods Producing 22,000
►Service Producing 93,000
●By Sector for 1-19 Employees  
►Goods Producing 12,000
►Service Producing 44,000
●By Sector for 20-49 Employees  
►Goods Producing 11,000
►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 2021

October 12, 2021  

The number of job openings declined to 10,400,000 on the last business day of August following a series high in July, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.  Hires decreased to 6,300,000 while total separations were little changed at 6,000,000.  Within separations, the quits rate increased to a series high of 2.9% while the layoffs and discharges rate was little changed at 0.9%.  This release includes estimates of the number and rate of job openings, hires, and separations for the total nonfarm sector, by industry, by four geographic regions, and by establishment size class.

Job Openings

On the last business day of August, the number and rate of job openings decreased to 10,400,000 (-659,000) and 6.6%, respectively.  Job openings decreased in several industries with the largest decreases in health care and social assistance (-224,000); accommodation and food services (-178,000); and state and local government education (-124,000).  Job openings increased in federal government (+22,000).  The number of job openings decreased in the Northeast and Midwest regions.


In August, the number and rate of hires decreased to 6,300,000 (-439,000) and 4.3%, respectively.  Hires decreased in accommodation and food services (-240,000) and in state and local government education (-160,000).  The number of hires decreased in the Midwest 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 August, the number and rate of total separations were little changed at 6,000,000 and 4.1%, respectively.  The total separations level increased in accommodation and food services (+203,000) and in state and local government education (+57,000).  The total separations level decreased in other services (-68,000) and in state and local government, excluding education (-26,000).  Total separations were little changed in all 4 regions.

The number of quits increased in August to 4,300,000 (+242,000).  The quits rate increased to a series high of 2.9%.  Quits increased in accommodation and food services (+157,000); wholesale trade (+26,000); and state and local government education (+25,000). Quits decreased in real estate and rental and leasing (-23,000).  The number of quits increased in the South and Midwest regions.

In August, the number and rate of layoffs and discharges were little changed at 1,300,000 and 0.9%, respectively.  Layoffs and discharges decreased in other services (-61,000) and in state and local government, excluding education (-22,000).  Layoffs and discharges increased in state and local government education (+19,000).  Layoffs and discharges were little changed in all 4 regions.

The number of other separations edged up in August to 390,000 (+49,000).  Other separations increased in several industries with the largest increases in state and local government education (+13,000); information (+11,000); and durable goods manufacturing (+8,000).  The other separations level 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 August 2021, hires totaled 72,600,000 and separations totaled 66,700,000, yielding a net employment gain of 5,900,000.  These totals include workers who may have been hired and separated more than once during the year.

Establishment Size Class

In August, the job openings rate decreased in medium establishments with 50-249 employees.  The hires rate decreased in large establishments with 250-999 employees.  The layoffs and discharges rate decreased in medium establishments with 50-249 employees.  The other separations rate decreased in large establishments with 1,000-4,999 employees.


The Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey estimates for September 2021 are scheduled to be released on Friday, November 12, 2021, at 10:00 a.m. (ET).

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



Online Labor Demand Rises in September

October 13, 2021

The Conference Board®−Burning Glass® Help Wanted OnLine® (HWOL) Index rose in September and now stands at 164.5 (July 2018=100), up from 159.7 in August. The 3.0% increase between August and September follows a 4.0% decrease between July and August. Overall, the Index is up 63.6% 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.


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

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

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

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

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

About The Conference Board

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

About Burning Glass Technologies, Inc.

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

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

U-6 Update

In October 2021, the regular unemployment rate fell .2% to 4.6% and the broader U-6 measure fell .2% to 8.3%.  Both percentages are still almost totally due to the COVID-19 economic shutdown across the U.S and the slow ‘Reopening’.

The above 8.3% 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 18 years:

October 2020              12.1%

October 2019              6.9%

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 2021 BLS Analysis

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 531,000 in October and the unemployment rate edged down by 0.2% to 4.6%, the U.S. bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.  Job growth was widespread, with notable job gains in leisure and hospitality, in professional and business services, in manufacturing, and in transportation and warehousing.  Employment in public education declined over the month.
The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for August was revised up by 117,000, from +366,000 to +483,000, and the change for September was revised up by 118,000, from +194,000 to +312,000.  With these revisions, employment in August and September combined is 235,000 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 5th, 2021, the BLS published the most recent unemployment rate for October 2021 of 4.6% (actually, it is 4.595% down 0.161% from 4.756% in September.

The unemployment rate was determined by dividing the unemployed of 7,419,000

(–down from the month before by 255,000—since October 2020, this number has decreased by 3,630,000) by the total civilian labor force of 161,458,000 (up by 104,000 from September 2021).  Since October 2020, our total civilian labor force has increased by 740,000 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 261,908,000.  This is an increase of 142,000 from last month’s increase of 155,000.  In one year, this population has increased by 983,000.  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 September 2021by142,000
Up from August 2021by155,000
Up from July 2021by142,000
Up from June 2021by131,000
Up from May 2021by128,000
Up from April 2021by107,000
Up from March 2021by100,000
Up from February 2021by85,000
Up from January 2021by67,000
Down from December 2020by379,000
Up from November 2020by145,000
Up from October 2020by160,000
Up from September 2020by183,000
Up from August 2020by184,000
Up from July 2020by185,000
Up from June 2020by169,000
Up from May 2020by157,000
Up from April 2020by151,000
Up from March 2020by138,000
Up from February 2020by130,000
Up from January 2020by126,000
Down from December 2019by679,000
Up from November 2019by161,000
Up from October 2019by175,000
Up from September 2019by207,000
Up from August 2019by206,000
Up from July 2019by207,000
Up from June 2019by188,000
Up from May 2019by176,000
Up from April 2019by168,000
Up from March 2019by156,000
Up from February 2019by145,000
Up from January 2019by153,000
Down from December 2018by649,000
Up from November 2018by180,000
Up from October 2018by194,000
Up from September 2018by224,000
Up from August 2018by224,000

Subtract the ‘civilian labor force’ from the ‘civilian noninstitutional population’) and you get 100,450,000 ‘Not in Labor Force’—up by 38,000 from last month’s 100,412,000.  In one year, this NILF population has increased by 243,000.  The government tells us that most of these NILFs got discouraged and just gave up looking for a job.  My monthly recurring question is: “If that is the case, how do they survive when they don’t earn any money because they don’t have a job?  Are they ALL relying on the government to support them??”

This month, our Employment Participation Rate—the population 16 years and older working or seeking work—remained at 61.6%.  This ‘reopening’ rate is .8% 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 2.2% (this rate was .2% lower than last month’s 2.4%).  Or you can look at it another way.  We usually place people who have college degrees.  That unemployment rate in October was2.4% (this rate was .1% lower than last month’s 2.5%).

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 28th, the real gross domestic product (GDP) increased at an annual rate of 2.0% in the third quarter of 2021, according to the “advance” estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis.  In the second quarter, real GDP increased 6.7%.

The GDP estimate released today is based on 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 24, 2021.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Current-dollar GDP increased 7.8% at an annual rate, or $432.5 billion, in the third quarter to a level of $23.17 trillion.  In the second quarter, GDP increased 13.4%, or $702.8 billion.

The price index for gross domestic purchases increased 5.4% in the third quarter, compared with an increase of 5.8% in the second quarter.  The PCE price index increased 5.3%, compared with an increase of 6.5%.  Excluding food and energy prices, the PCE price index increased 4.5%, compared with an increase of 6.1%.

*          *          *

Next release, November 24, 2021, at 8:30 A.M. EST
Gross Domestic Product (Second Estimate)
Corporate Profits (Preliminary Estimate)
Third Quarter 2021


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

There are five main sources of unemployment:

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

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

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

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

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

Other factors influencing the unemployment rate:

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

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

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

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


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

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

October 2020              3.7%

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 2020              4.2%

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 2021 rates for these two categories, 2.2% and 2.4%, 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