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    Entries in labor (76)

    Friday
    Feb152019

    CHART OF THE DAY: Another all-time record number of open jobs in the US

    The most essential state of the labor market report, the JOLTS report, was issued a few days ago by our pals over at the Bureau of Labor Statistics. I won't bury the lead, the chart below shows most all of what you need to know from the Dec 2018 JOLTS data - namely, there were over 7.3 million open jobs in the US, an all-time high, at the end of December 2018.

    For those keeping score at home, the number of open jobs cratered in July 2009 at about 2.2 million and for just about a decade has steadily climbed to the 7.3 million number the BLS has just reported.

    And one more data point from the JOLTS, for the last nine months or so, there have been more open jobs in the US than officially unemployed persons to fill them. Said differently, even if we could magically place every current unemployed person in one of the open jobs, there would still be hundreds of thousands of jobs unfilled.

    There is good (lots of open jobs means lots of opportunity and optimistic companies looking to grow), and bad (why can't we get better at hiring, training, and expanding opportunity) in this kind of number. All things being equal, the state of the labor market in Dec 2018 is much, much more preferable to the nightmare of July 2009. But here's the funny thing - it might seem like a lifetime ago, but it really wasn't. 

    That's it from me - have a great weekend!

    Monday
    Jan072019

    World Bank Report: How work and workers are changing

    I know you have better things to do so you, unlike me, probably did not devote a sizable chunk of your down time this past weekend reading the recently released World Bank's 150 or so page report titled 'The Changing Nature of Work', a look at the future of work, and how work is expected to change as a result of technological, societal, and demographic changes.

    The report is really interesting, pretty comprehensive, and probably contains enough information and ideas for a dozen or so deeper dives. But for today, beyond just calling your attention to the report, I wanted to highlight one important set of findings from the World Bank - ideas on how employee skills are changing and more specifically the kinds of skills that will become more in demand moving forward, as technology continues to shape and re-shape work. 

    Here's what the folks at the World Bank think about what kind of employee skills are going to have to change in the future:

    It is easier to assess how technology shapes the demand for skills and changes production processes than it is to estimate its effect on job losses. Technology is changing the skills being rewarded in the labor market. The premium is rising for skills that cannot be replaced by robots—general cognitive skills such as critical thinking and sociobehavioral skills such as managing and recognizing emotions that enhance teamwork. Workers with these skills are more adaptable in labor markets.

    Technology is disrupting the demand for three types of skills in the workplace. First, the demand for nonroutine cognitive and sociobehavioral skills appears to be rising in both advanced and emerging economies. Second, the demand for routine job-specific skills is declining. And, third, payoffs to combinations of different skill types appear to be increasing. These changes show up not just through new jobs replacing old jobs, but also through the changing skills profile of existing jobs.

    The World Bank offers up as an example of this changing nature of what kinds of skills the new and future economy will need and reward the below chart of how the general job requirements for a hotel management trainee have changed in the last 30 or so years (see below)

    The point being that while the job, in general, is more or less the same in 2018 as it was in 1986, the skills and characteristics of the kind of person who is likely to be successful in the job has shifted. In 2018, there is more emphasis on attitude, communication skills, ability to effectively team with others - the kinds of skills that are essential to business today, and that are still incredibly difficult to automate or replace with technology. Recent data from other sources such as LinkedIn' hiring trends report suggest much the same - "soft" skills, the ones we can't replace with an algorithm or a chatbot are in increasing demand. Said differently, that philosophy or psychology degree your kid wants to take at University may not be such a bad idea after all.

    I plan on exploring the World Bank report further in the coming weeks, and encourage anyone interested in the Future of Work to give it a look.

    Have a great week!

    Friday
    Dec142018

    PODCAST: #HRHappyHour 350 - The US Labor Market and Economic Trends for 2019

    HR Happy Hour 350 - The US Labor Market and Economic Trends for 2019

    Hosts: Steve BoeseTrish McFarlane

    Guest: Josh Wright, Chief Economist, iCIMS

    Sponsored by Virgin Pulse - www.virginpulse.com

    Listen HERE

    This week on the HR Happy Hour Show, Steve was joined by Josh Wright, Chief Economist from iCIMS to talk about the important labor market trends, why these trends are important for HR and Talent Acquisition leaders, and what 2019 might have in store for the labor market and the economy at large.

    Josh shared his thoughts on why HR and Talent leaders should care and follow these big picture data points and trends, why economics is the language of business, and how understanding the economic outlook at a macro and local level can help HR leaders make better decisions.

    We also geeked out a little on some of the important economic data sets like the monthly jobs report, weeky new jobless claims, and Steve's favorite, the monthly BLS JOLTS report. In addition, Josh shared why keeping abreast of the housing market can be of value to HR leaders.

    Josh also shared the interesting work iCIMS is doing with their Monthly Hiring Indicator, and how that data can help HR and Talent leaders in their organizations. Finally, Josh shared some thoughts on what 2019 might have in store for the labor market and the economy overall.

    You can listen to the show on the show page HERE, on your favorite podcast app, or by using the widget player below:

    This was a fun and geeky show! Thanks so much Josh for joining us,

    Remember to subscribe to the HR Happy Hour on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher Radio, Google Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts - just search for 'HR Happy Hour.'

    Friday
    Jun292018

    How tight is the labor market? One retailer is already taking applications for the holidays

    You've seen the headlines, (or heard me talk about them on the HR Happy Hour Show), unemployment is really low, the number of posted job openings has never been higher, and companies of all kinds are reporting that finding and retaining talent continues to get tougher.

    Just how tough is it out there?

    Well here we are in late June and Kohl's, a major US retailer is already accepting applications for holiday (think Christmastime), seasonal workers for their stores. Here's the details from a piece on CNNMoney:

    The department store announced Wednesday that it is already accepting applications for seasonal positions. Kohl's is staking an early claim in a tight job market that has made it hard for companies to find workers.

    Kohl's is filling jobs at 300 of its 1,100 US stores for the back-to-school and holiday seasons. Additional jobs at stores and fulfillment centers will come open later in the year.

    It's the earliest Kohl's has ever started hiring seasonal workers, said Ryan Festerling, the store's executive vice president of human resources.

    Unemployment is 3.8%, the lowest since 2000. For the first time in at least 20 years, there are more job openings than people looking for work.

    A couple of quick thoughts on this move by Kohl's to get a jump start on holiday seasonal hiring:

    1. Kohl's is signaling, and I bet they have the internal data to back it up, that holiday hiring is going to be really, really tough this year for lots of reasons we've mentioned above. Starting as early as they can, they are hoping, will help them fill the roles they need by the dates they need them filled by.

    2. For the talent pool for retail holiday season help, Kohl's has gotten ahead of the likely competition for these workers. This story has been in the news a fair bit, and people who are thinking about looking for these kinds of jobs this year might consider Kohl's before other retailers - especially since they can apply right now.

    3. Despite all the talk about the end of retail and the inevitable domination of online shopping and Amazon, physical retail still matters. Lots of people work in these stores, and with a strong US economy, most of the large retailers will be looking to add staff for the holiday rush. Heck, maybe I will pick up a few hours this year over at the local mall.

    That's it for me for a summer Friday - have a great weekend!

    Wednesday
    Jun062018

    CHART OF THE DAY: Job Openings Continue to Increase to New Record Highs

    I know I've covered this territory a hundred times, it seems like every month lately, but I feel compelled once again to share the headline number from the monthly Bureau of Labor Statistics  JOLTS (Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey) Report released earlier today.

    Here's the headline (and an accompanying chart from our pals at the St. Louis FED) - Total Job Openings have climbed to 6.7 Million - reaching another new record high in the history of the data series.

    The steady increase in record high job openings has been one of the truly amazing developments in the aftermath of the financial crisis and recession, which saw openings bottom out at about 2.2M in July 2009.

    The questions are now twofold I think. One, just how high is the ceiling for US job openings to climb towards? I mean these records continue to be set even while trade wars are constantly in the news and many financial and labor markets observers have no idea what strange 'news' emanating from Washington might do to the market and the economy?

    And two, when and by how much do we begin to see a much more pronounced increase in wage growth, as companies are finally forced to increase wages in order to try and fill these millions of openings? The sluggish nature of wage growth in the face of seemingly and endless supply of open jobs has been one of the must puzzling aspects of the labor market in the last several years. Something has to give soon, right?

    It's a good time to be looking for work, I would say.

    Have a great day!