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Quote of the Day

"The best performance improvement is the transition from the non-working state to the working state."

- Anonymous

U.S. Employment Situation (March 2009)

(April 3, 2009)
    Is the end in sight?
    We suppose we first need to say "end" to which that refers. The end of the world as we have known it or just the recession? We'll limit our remarks to commenting if the recession is coming to an end. All recessions - and this one is no exception - eventually end. It may seem obvious, but before it ends and economic and employment growth returns, things have to bottom out. Although some economic indicators are improving, they and the economy are still underwater and have a way to go before it breaks back through to the surface. Last month, the employment economy lost another 663,000 jobs last month and that brings the total since the beginning of the recession to more than 5.1 million jobs lost, or 3.7 percent. Those jobs will not come back over night, but they eventually will. But those returning jobs may not be in sectors or companies where growth was occurring before the recession hit. The employment economy is not a monolith with every sector moving in unison.

    The first quarter of 2009 is already over, which means that we are just that much closer to the end of this economic nightmare. It's not too early to prepare yourself and your business to thinking about how to return to a growth footing and take advantage of new opportunities that will come about as surely as the sun will rise. Although one can calculate exactly when the sun will rise tomorrow, it's a little more difficult to see where the job opportunities lie when the economy turns. We have to look hard but even now some sectors are adding jobs while the losses in other are decelerating.

    Current Economic Indicators (Free calendar available)
    Have you had a chance to check out our list of current economic indicators? The most recently updated ones are indicated in red and there is an opportunity to sign up for a free service to inform you when the information is updated.
    To see a sample month and request your free copy follow this link and we'll make sure you get a one.

    Where are the open jobs in your local market?
    Our Employment Tracking Tool is designed to assist you in identifying and evaluating new sectors and markets. It examines the overall employment trends by industry in the given market to help determine possibly under-serviced industries to target marketing efforts (as well as what industries to avoid). By doing this, it shows what industries are growing and therefore are in expansion mode making them eager for a wide variety of products and services and likely in need of additional staff. Another tool is the Temporary Help Services Interactive Data Book. This tool will enable to benchmark your staffing operation at the local level to see exactly where you are positioned in the market and if your offices are performing up to local staffing sector trends.

    Demonstrations of both strategic planning tools are available. View either demo and you get a free copy of "How Do You Measure Up?," an article I wrote earlier this year showing temporary help trends in eight different regions of the country.

    There is a direct link to the free PDF download of the article on the last "slide" of each demo. See further descriptions of these two strategic planning tools and links to the demos

    March Employment Report - Quick Recap
    The trend of big job losses continued last month. In March there were 663,000 fewer jobs than in February, which was 651,000 lower than January, which was down 741,000 jobs. Since December 2007, the economy has 5,133,000 million jobs, or 3.7 percent.

    No surprise that the unemployment rate jumped in March to 8.5 percent, 0.4 points higher than February. A year ago, which was a few months into the recession and the employment economy was already experiencing jobs losses of just over 100,000, the unemployment rate was 3.4 points lower at 5.1 percent.

    Jobs Report
    Job losses were spread somewhat evenly between the two major sectors of the economy, despite their unequal total size. The Goods-producing lost 305,000 jobs in March while the Service-providing sector was down 358,000.

    The trend in Manufacturing was consistent with recent history with a loss of 161,000 jobs across all major sub-sectors with production workers taking the major hit (-146,000). The Construction sector continued to haul jobs to the dump with a 126,000 job-loss in March; especially hard-hit were Specialty Trade Contractors (-82,600).

    Looking for more? Check out the podcasts!
    Podcasts of the current employment situation will be available by 4:00 p.m. ET today, April 3rd. The video podcast, which you can start and stop to study the tables and graphs as well as replay individual sections, also includes additional data and information. Watch the video version here or just listen to the audio version here (no special hardware or software required).

    Even Mining and Logging chopped down jobs with a reduction of 18,000 jobs although a majority of those lost jobs (13,500) were in Support Activities for Mining and not the actual mining sub-sectors, which only experienced incremental losses.

    Notes From and About Bruce Steinberg
    Sometime in April (in the second half of the month; we are still working on scheduling issues), I will be conducting a webinar for The working title is "Is the economy really as bad as they say? Is anyone hiring? Is anyone meeting?" We'll start with an overview of the current status of the economy, with a focus on the employment economy and how we got to this point. We will concentrate on the general overview of the employment trends for meeting and convention planners as well as the economic and employment trends for the sectors in which they work and the sectors that drive the meeting business. I'll let you know when the date is set along with other particulars. The reason that we only have an approximate date is that I recently was called up by the Census Bureau to serve our country as a member of their army. It's a temporary job with a flexible schedule that will last a few months. It doesn't actually start until next week, hence the unknown schedule and few details to share with you about exactly what I will be doing, but it should be fun.

    Bruce Steinberg
    Home of the first and only U.S. employment report podcasts

Colleen Gildea

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