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    CHART OF THE DAY: Unemployed vs. Job Openings by Industry

    Today's Chart of the Day comes to us courtesy of the Economic Policy Institute from a short post titled The Number of Unemployed Exceeds the Number of Available Jobs Across All Sectors.

    First the eponymous chart, then as you have come to expect (and demand), some comments from me after the data.

    The EPI piece's author uses this data to make an argument that persistently elevated levels of unemployment, that often are, (at least to some extent), attributed to something called 'skills mismatches', where unemployed workers simply do not possess the requisite skills and abilities that employers demand, are in fact not caused by mismatches, and are in fact driven by depressed overall demand for labor.

    The logic behind this argument is pretty straightforward. If there were indeed large levels of skills mismatches driving unemployment, then we should see, at least somewhere in the economy, particular industry sectors where demand (available jobs), surpasses supply, (available workers in that industry). But as the data above show, every industry sector currently has more supply (unemployed workers), than demand/jobs.

    It is a decent argument, if a little simplistic. It does fail to take into account the many thousands of sub-industries and specific types of jobs that fall into broad categories like manufacturing, construction, or services. It also does not adequately account for the very high likelihood that in certain sectors that workers who have identified themselves as being in that sector, truly have not been willing or able, (possibly because they have been out of work), do keep their skills current and adapted to new demands.

    But taken in aggregate there is a decent argument to be made that if current labor market challenges were the result of skills shortages or mismatches, that there would be at least some specific sectors where there are more unemployed workers than job openings, and others where there are more job openings than unemployed workers. But that is, as yet, not the case and still unemployed workers exceed jobs openings across the board.

    Whether or not there exists widespread skills shortages or mismatches is usually more of a concern for governments or the largest employers. And the nationwide conditions don't really mean much to the small or mid-sized firm that just wants to get its positions filled. But while all HR/Recruiting is local, (to some extent), no firm no matter how small operates in a vacuum. 

    So while these macro-labor market conditions might not move the needle on today's open reqs, they can and likely will impact tomorrow's and next year's and the one after that.

    And that is why I find this data interesting and why it rates for this installment of Chart of the Day.


    First snow

    Woke up this fine Monday morning to the first real snow of the season (see badly lit pic on the right), with maybe an inch or so of the white stuff coating the ground. I am not sure how much more (if anything) we are going to get today, I generally don't pay too much attention to the weather forecasts. Because the weather is pretty much almost always the same as yesterday. In fact there is a study somewhere (I am too lazy to go searching for it at the moment), that suggests that simply predicting a repeat of the prior day's observed weather leads to better, and more accurate forecasts than the ones that are developed by computer models and meteorologists.

    But there is one 'truth' about weather that I immediately thought about this morning when I saw the snow: That weather (excepting for catastrophic events like hurricanes or tornados), is only interesting two or three times each year. 

    The times when weather is actually interesting, (and exciting and perhaps even inspiring) are the first truly warm day in the Spring, the first cold, clear, crisp day in the Fall, and if you live in such a place that experiences this, the first 'real' snowfall of the year.

    Aside from those two or three days each year, weather is more or less the same as yesterday, and consequently less and less interesting as the days/weeks trudge along.

    I am on record as being totally done with the cold and snow of Western NY winters and am ready to move to somewhere like Vegas or South Florida as soon as I can pull it off. But even I got a little excited and enthusiastic upon seeing the puffy flakes coming down this morning. And I hate snow. Truly.

    What's the bigger, more generally applicable point to this? 

    Probably not much of one, sadly. Maybe that it is important to remember that while every day, day after day, can sort of feel the same, that there still exists the potential and capacity for excitement in the ordinary.

    This little bit of snow here this morning actually foretells about five months of cold, wet, messy misery for me. But for today, at least for a few hours anyway, it looks incredibly exciting and full of possibility.

    Have a great day - and stay warm if your day is a snowy one! 


    PODCAST - #HRHappyHour 195 - #HRevolution 2014 Recap

    HR Happy Hour 195 - HRevolution 2014 Recap

    Recorded Thursday, November 13, 2014

    Hosts: Steve BoeseTrish McFarlane

    This week on the HR Happy Hour Show, hosts Steve and Trish reviewed the HRevolution 2014 event, held November 7 and 8 in Grapevine, Texas.

    Steve and Trish talked about several of the big themes from the HRevolution event - the Disruption of HR and workplaces, the importance of creativity in HR and in business, and the need for HR professionals and leaders to take more time to actively think about innovation and new ways to do both HR and business.

    This was a great event to be a part of, and in the best HRevolution tradition, the discussions, (like the one Trish and Steve have on this week's show), are ongoing, and the community of HRevolution friends, (and HR Happy Hour listeners), are keeping the ideas and conversations alive.

    Additionally, Steve forgets what day it is, ('Is today Wednesday?') and Trish tosses out some potential locations for the next HRevolution event to be held in November 2015.

    You can listen to the show on the show page here or using the widget player below.

    Check Out Business Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with Steve Boese Trish McFarlane on BlogTalkRadio


    And remember to subscribe to the HR Happy Hour Show on iTunes or on your favorite podcast app, (I like Stitcher Radio) - just search for 'HR Happy Hour' to find the show and to subscribe so that you never miss an episode.

    This was a fun conversation and thanks for checking out the show!


    ECON 101: What do falling oil prices mean for you?

    I am a big mark for finance, economics, business news, etc. And one of the most interesting business/markets stories in the last few months has been the pretty dramatic decrease in the price of crude oil, and probably more importantly to you, me, and our workforces, the corresponding fall in consumer prices for gasoline.

    Check out the two charts below for some context: first, what has been happening with Crude:

    How about the average price of gas? Here you go:

    Pretty clear from these two charts what has been happening - crude oil has been on a pretty steep fall, dragging down the average price of gasoline along with it.

    What might that mean for the savvy HR/Talent professional? Three quick hits, then I'd love your thoughts.

    1. Compensation - the fall in gas prices is sometimes referred to as a 'free tax cut' for consumers. But if we spin that just a little, you can frame the drop in gas prices as 'off-cycle comp increase' for employees. Seriously, you can't actually say that out loud, but the truth is many of your employees have a few more dollars in their pockets each month. Maybe you (or a line manager) can feel a little more emboldened about calling back to the office some of your slacker telecommuters?

    2. Operations - If you are in the business of moving any kinds of goods around the country/world, then you are seeing a pretty steep decline in transpiration costs. In the same way that a fall in gas prices puts an unexpected few extra $$ in each individual's kitty, the decline in costs for truck, rail, and eventually even air shipment costs will be a benefit to many organizations. Keep an eye on that line of your shop's P&L, (you do review the P&L each month, right?), and see if you can't time your request for a new HR system/program/technology along with a bump in margin.

    3. Oil and Gas industry - Opinions seemed mixed on the overall impact to the US oil and gas industry, which has seen a remarkable renaissance of sorts in the last decade. At some point the price of Crude could fall to a point that jeopardizes domestic production. We are probably not (yet) at that point however. But there certainly could be a slowdown in the rate of growth in capacity and then the jobs that are being created in the US oil and gas sectors. 

    It is pretty cool to pull up to the pump and see prices on a continual decline. Heck, you may even now be able to fill up the tank in your monster SUV for less than three bills.

    But what is cooler still is to have an idea, an understanding, and an appreciation about what this kind of macro-economic trend means for your business and your employees. 

    What do you think, have falling oil/gas prices made any impact in your HR shop?


    To fail this often, you have to be pretty good

    Quick post from the Western NY satellite office of The 8 Man Rotation - wanted to point out an important NBA milestone that happened last night: Lakers star Kobe Bryant set the record for most missed shots for an NBA career.

    From the ESPN piece on the 'achievement':

    Kobe Bryant made history Tuesday, setting the NBA record for missed field goals.

    The Los Angeles Lakers star set the mark with 6:22 left in the fourth quarter of a 107-102 lossto the Memphis Grizzlies. He missed a 14-foot fadeaway jumper from the left side, giving him 13,418 career missed field goals, one more than Boston Celtics legend John Havlicek

    Asked about the record, Bryant, who scored a game-high 28 points on 10-of-26 shooting and finished with 13,421 misses for his career, smiled and said he wasn't aware of it.

    "Nah, I don't follow that stuff, man," he said.

    How does he explain setting the mark?

    "Well, I'm a shooting guard that's played 19 years," he said, shrugging and smiling. He later added, "Like I said, 'shooting' guard, 19th year."

    Wow, over 13,000 missed shots in a career, more than any other player. You would think that this ignominious mark speaks pretty badly of our man Kobe. But before you come down too hard on the Mamba, take a quick look at the next half-dozen or so names on the 'Most career missed shots' leader board

    John Havlicek - (Celtics legend from the 60s and 70s, Hall of Fame member)

    Elvin Hayes - (The Big 'E', great scored and rebounder in the 70s, Hall of Fame member)

    Karl Malone - (The Mailman, Utah Jazz legend, possibly greatest power forward ever, Hall of Fame member)

    Kareem Abdul-Jabbar - (the NBA's all-time leading scorer, Hall of Fame member)

    Michael Jordan - (probably greatest player of all time, Hall of Fame member)

    I think you get the idea here. In order to be able to miss so many shots, you have to be an amazingly good and valuable player. Players who can't actually perform are not kept around long enough to climb very high on this kind of 'failure' list. 

    The bigger picture takeaway from the 'Kobe has missed more shots than anyone' story?

    That in many fields (sales, content marketing, natural resource exploration, showing price pigs at the county fair....), failure might come just as often, if not more, than success. You have to be out there competing, hustling, working it in order to fail so often. And your best performers, maybe even you, are naturally going to fail, sometimes often. But that might be ok.

    I will leave this story with a quote from Kobe, asked to comment on over 13,000 misses over 19 years:

    "You've got to go out and figure that out and play and do the best you can, and whatever happens, happens. You can't be held captive by the fear of failure or the fear of what people may say."

    If you are open, take the shot.

    Have a great Wednesday!