All Articles Tagged "job market"

A Rebounding Job Market? Nearly 50% Of Unemployed Americans Have Given Up Job Hunting

May 28th, 2014 - By Kimberly Gedeon
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Is the government painting a misleading picture of America’s job landscape? Recent job reports have used words such as “rebounding,” “improving,” and “snap back,” which all allude to an optimistic outlook for the job market. But — eh — Policy Mic just isn’t buying it!

The April jobs report boasted that the unemployment rate dropped from 6.7 percent to 6.3 percent. But Policy Mic says that the government neglects to reveal one thing: 47 percent of unemployed Americans, according to a Harris Poll survey commissioned by Express Employment Professionals, have “completely” abandoned their job search.

The poll, which surveyed 1,500 unemployed adults, also found that 46 percent did not attend a job interview the month prior. Nearly a quarter revealed they haven’t had an interview since 2012. As for government assistance, 80 percent of respondents are not receiving jobless benefits.

“This survey shows that millions of Americans are at risk of falling into the trap of prolonged unemployment, and it should give policymakers a greater sense of urgency to focus on the singular goal of creating jobs,” Bob Funk,CEO of Express, said in a press release.

Another fact that the April job report “forgot” to mention? The labor force is also experiencing its lowest participation rate in decades — 62.8 percent. That figure is the percentage of workers, over the age of 16, who are currently employed in the job market. Think about it. Is the unemployment rate dropping because oh-so-many jobs are being created or because more people are leaving the workforce?

These statistics, Policy Mic points out, affects America’s youngest employees the most. In fact, the survey’s respondents tended to be of a younger age since “more than half of all unemployed are under 40 and one third are under the age of 30.”  Guess it’s not looking too good for Class of 2014, huh?

“. . .[T]he nation’s job market continues to force college graduates to take jobs they’re overqualified for, jobs outside their major, and generally delay their career to the detriment of at least a decade’s worth of unearned wages,” USA Today said.

Among Americans between 25 and 34, the April jobs report noted a drop from 75.9 to 75.5 percent in the unemployment rate. But like Policy Mic, Labor Market Economist Heidi Shierholz  points out that job creation has nothing to do with it. “The entire drop (in unemployment) was due to people dropping out of the labor force, in particular young people,” she said.

“Unfortunately for young Americans,” said Evan Feinberg, president of Generation Opportunity, a youth advocacy organization, “the recession never ended.”

We Get it: Life Is Harder For Millennials. Now Get Over It And Work Harder.

May 24th, 2014 - By Toya Sharee
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Remember when life used to be a Seventh Heaven episode? The children of 80’s and 90’s family sitcoms would go off to college, score their first entry-level gig which may not have been glamorous, but was enough to afford them a studio apartment, a six pack of Budweiser and a diet of Ramen Noodles and frozen pizza. The sad fact is that most college grads will be soon coming off their “I’m going to change the world” high when they are hit with a slowly recovering job market and student debt. No one really expects the picket fence, 2-car garage and chocolate Lab lifestyle to come before age 30, but at least a little drafty apartment in the worst part of the city made you feel like you were one step closer to tackling this “being an adult” thing on your own.

Well I never got my sucky studio apartment. After attending a little liberal arts university for four years I found myself packing up my Bachelor of Arts to return right back to my mama’s Philadelphia basement (OK, it wasn’t the basement, but it was the tiny twin bed in the bedroom I’ve slept in since I was fourteen years old). Like many of my fellow millennials, I discovered the economy of 2008 wasn’t kind and the most my degree got me was six months before I had to start paying back my school debt.

I was happy I wasn’t homeless, but I felt like I was moving backwards in life. The TV of my adolescence like Living Single and A Different World had lied to me. I wasn’t tailoring my professional mojo through numbers of embarrassing interviews for positions that required a degree to shred paper and get coffee. I wasn’t stressing with my roommates over weed and about how we were going to pay this month’s rent. I was trying to keep my drunk friends from waking up my parents and staring at the dusty Baby Phat backpacks I had hanging behind the door since I was 17.

A 2013 US News article began, “Dear Millennials: Don’t feel bad if you’re living at your parents’ house. Turns out, you’re normal. Some 21.6 million millennials – or 36 percent of Americans ages 18 to 31 – lived at their parents’ residence in 2012, according to an analysis of census data released this month by the Pew Research Center. That’s the highest rate in 40 years.”

I don’t think it’s healthy to get comfortable living up under your parent’s roof into your thirties, no matter how understanding they are. My mom always made it abundantly clear that she would never kick her kids out. “I didn’t buy a 3 bedroom house to share with just my husband,” she’d reassure my older sister and I. But there’s something about asking your mom if it’s ok for you to do laundry after 10 PM (because the dryer was noisy and made the house hot) after age 21 that just made me feel like a big fat failure. I wanted my own space where my drunk friends could pass out on my living room carpet and I wouldn’t care. I wanted to do laundry at 2AM and burn to death while I slept simply because I could.

Life is a lot harder for us twenty and thirty-somethings, but now that we’ve all come to that conclusion it’s time to stop ranting about quarter-life crises and get over it. Being independent is a challenge, but it isn’t impossible. And a part of me regrets that I never got my little studio filled with poorly assembled IKEA furniture. By the time I got financially stable I had met the man I’m going to marry and moved in with him. His bachelor pad has slowly transformed into our family home, but there are still little reminders that it was once HIS place.

I don’t think anyone is denying that being an adult is harder for recent generations. By the time my mom was 25 she had a husband, a three year-old, a mortgage and a decent salary all under her belt. When I was 25 my biggest accomplishment was scoring third row tickets at a Drake concert. But I was always appreciative that she understood that and had one rule:  You can live at my house, but you have to be working or in school.

The closest I got being on my own were the four years in my on-campus apartment in rural central PA. It was there I learned how to make grocery list that was more than cereal and Hot Pockets. I appreciate the days finding my way to my internship and back to campus even when I got lost in the middle of nowhere with only Lupe Fiasco’s “The Cool” to keep me company. There’s something about being on your own that gives you the confidence to say, “Look, Life.  I just survived seven days on five dollars and no cable. Screw you, I got this.” Everyone becomes a better person through those experiences. So I hate to hear my fellow millennials surviving on excuses like, “I don’t want to have to move back in with my mom once I leave,” or “I can’t make rent on my own.”  Or, “I had a plan, and then the recession happened.” You make a way for the things you want and excuses for the things you don’t.

It’s going to be scary, but the truth is life never stops being scary. The days of an undergrad degree granting you six figures and a life of comfort are gone. I’m happy I went to college, but it didn’t take me long to realize that I was going to need some side hustles in addition to my full-time salary. My fiance’ and I have five jobs between us and admittedly we are just getting to the point where we can take a vacation or two each year and go out to dinner once a week without falling asleep after the appetizers. But we’re proof that it can be done, just not the way most are traditionally used to. I have several friends that I am waiting for to wake up while they look at their BA on the wall and wonder why they’re unemployed. It’s because no one is going to hand anything to you just because you’re educated; we now live in a world of rise and grind. Like the meme says, “Good things come to those who wait, but only what’s left behind by those that hustle.”  And by “hustle” I mean tweeting that CEO you admire or taking that unpaid internship in NYC although you only have enough money for a large pizza and your cell phone bill. It’s not enough to fill out an application on-line and hope for the best anymore.

The good news for millennials is that we have a lot more freedom and a opportunities to get creative in how we make money. I’d rather be strapped to my laptop and smart phone freelancing on my living room couch than sitting in a cubicle eight hours a day. So as much as I hate to break it to you, after a while you can’t keep blaming your lack of life progress on the economy. In a world of Mark Zuckerbergs and Justin Biebers success could only be a wi-fi signal away, but you have to change your mind set about your path to success. Get the confidence to start breaking the old rules and creating your own. Because the truth is, good things come to those who get up and work for it.

Toya Sharee is a community health educator and parenting education coordinator who has a  passion for helping  young women build their self-esteem and make well-informed choices about their sexual health.  She also advocates for women’s reproductive rights and blogs about  everything from beauty to love and relationships. Follow her on Twitter @TheTrueTSharee or visit her blog, Bullets and Blessings.

They’re In For A Rude Awakening! College Grads Are Overconfident About Job Prospects

May 16th, 2014 - By Kimberly Gedeon
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College grads are about to get a “major reality check,” according to Time, because of their optimistic — or perhaps overly optimistic — stance on their employability in the job market. After cheerfully throwing their caps up in the air, this new generation of college graduates are in for a rude awakening.

Analysts from Accenture, a consulting company, polled the class of 2014 and compared their survey responses to the real-life experiences of last year’s graduating class. The investigators discovered that this year’s graduates are romanticizing America’s competitive, cutthroat job market.

About 70 percent are positive that they’ll find a job within six months. Experts say, according to last year’s grads, only 42 percent will be employed within that time frame. On top of this, a whopping 86 percent are certain that they’ll score a job within their field. Only two-thirds will find this to be a reality.

In fact, compared to last year’s grads, fewer members of the 2014 class have a job secured before commencement (11 percent vs. 16 percent).

“In reality, they’re facing a tough job market where they’re joining a backlog of recent grads that are struggling to find jobs,” CNN said. “The number of grads, ages 21-24, who aren’t working and aren’t in school is growing. And those lucky enough to find employment are starting at jobs with wages lower than the generation before them.”

When it comes to salary, 43 percent of this year’s grads expect a $40,000 paycheck. And a whopping 82 percent expect to make more than $25,000 right out of college. Sorry to burst their little bubbles, but only 21 percent of previous grads made around $40,000 a year and more than a quarter of them had a $26,000 salary, the Wall Street Journal added.

Our newest wave of graduates also have the false impression that employers will be training them on the job. “A large 80% of 2014 grads expect their employer to provide a formal training program, but only 48% of previous grads received such training,” WSJ said.

Hiring officers, for a lack of a better phrase, ain’t got time for that. They have high expectations of their candidates and are hoping they wouldn’t have to do much hand-holding with their new hires.

“They would like them to walk in as a perfect employee on day one,” said Katherine LaVelle, managing director at Accenture.

LaVelle adds that recent grads should skill-build on their own through internships and classes, which will augment their degree and impress their prospective employers.


Don’t Get Replaced! A Tech Upgrade Can Save Your Job

April 4th, 2014 - By Janel Martinez
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Through the years, we’ve seen technology alter the way we live.  It helps many of us stay connected with loved ones, near and far, serves as a personal organizer and assistant to keep us on track, and, ultimately, makes life more efficient. But we’ve also witnessed the downside to the tech boom. Just as it has provided immense opportunities, it has also been credited with the loss of numerous jobs.

Jobs that were thought to always need manpower are now being staffed with automation services and robots. We reported last month about the University of Oxford study that found nearly half of all American jobs are at risk of being lost to machines. Although there are several jobs that will be affected by automation, there are ways to salvage your high-risk position.  Follow these surefire strategies to ensure you brand yourself as an indispensible employee:

Do what you do best: Be human

Machines can do many things. However, they’re never credited with being personable, warm or engaging. Showcase that winning attitude and the way you interact with your co-workers, managers or clients. Business Insider notes that managers, health care workers, and those involved in community service, education and media are safe. “Humans are humans are, and will always be, superior at working with, and caring for, other humans.”


Historically, the manufacturing industry required a largely unskilled, trainable workforce. Old school manufacturing has moved toward more advanced, computer-assisted manufacturing, which requires a more skilled worker. Specialized and adaptable workers are needed to meet the demands. According to a 2011 National Association of Manufactures (NAM) report, more than 80 percent of manufacturers are having difficulty finding qualified talent to fill their employment demands. In order to meet the demands, manufacturers will need to have technical skills. In addition to being independent, meticulous and an effective communicator, today’s manufacturers will need to be able to work with computerized systems, have the ability to read and write programming code, and have a knowledge of mechanical and electrical engineering.


Administrative or clerical jobs are a vital part of one’s organizations, however, for many upstarts or small business, they’ve turned to software suites and applications to help manage and organize their admin load. There’s no doubt that technology can faze typists, filing clerks or receptionists jobs out, but automation services can’t interact with a wide range of people or execute management skills. The great tech shift has provided those in admin roles the opportunity to enhance their existing technology skills (i.e. word processing and spreadsheets) through online or in-person classes, which employers may see beneficial to front the cost, if it’ll lead to greater productivity. In these roles, on-the-job training can serve as the best training.


I’ve witnessed the shift in this field first-hand during my daily commute. In New York City, subway attendants continue to be replaced with machines causing not only a safety concern for commuters, but also an issue for those looking for directions or attempting to resolve on-the-spot tech issue—a common occurrence with the MetroCard vending machines. Similar issues are taking place across many metropolitan areas, as well as at airports and even among cab drivers with the rise of cab-hailing apps. If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. Explore skill certification opportunities that will allow you to work in conjunction with the machines, and, in the case of cab drivers, weigh the estimate of working with a larger company like Uber. Uber drivers reportedly keep 80 percent of their fares—giving Uber 20 percent–and the company covers 20 percent of tolls.

Yes, technology has transformed the job force, but there are ways to make sure you’re a viable part of your company and, hence, indispensible.

Has technology changed the way you work? Let is know in the comments section below.   

Based in New York City, Janel Martinez is a multimedia journalist who covers technology and entrepreneurship. She is the founder of “Ain’t I Latina?” an online destination geared toward Afro-Latinas. You can follow her up-to-the-minute musings on Twitter @janelmwrites.

Generation Z Is Swarming In! What Employers Must Do To Satisfy The Workforce’s New Members

October 23rd, 2013 - By Kimberly Gedeon
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Generation Z, those born between 1990 and 1999, are already seven percent of America’s workforce with 11 million of them on the job. By 2019, Gen Z is expected to comprise 19 percent of the job market with 30 million workers. Now, USA Today says, it’s time for employers to shift their attention to this upcoming generation.

“They have tremendous energy and enthusiasm, but there’s a big gap in the old-fashioned basics like personal responsibility and work habits,” said Bruce Tulgan who has been studying young people for two decades. These 14-to-23 year-olds, who have been so immersed in this fast information age, may have lost out on the important communicative skills that America’s older workers have acquired. “Generation Z grew up with great uncertainty. They grew up in times of war, and it’s much different than Generation Y that grew up with peace and prosperity. They’ve come out with radically different prospects of what they need to do in their work lives,” Tulgan added.

Although they’re labeled misanthropic, there is a positive outcome that emerges from Generation Z burying their faces in their smartphones and tablets. “Generation Z never lacks for a constant stream of data. Generations before them might not have been exposed to this information until adulthood or had it filtered from other sources,” USA today added. Their almost innate knowledge of technology makes them a prime target for today’s advancing, quick-paced industries.

Tulgan goes on to say that, as a group, Gen Z tends to be “high maintenance.” In order to keep the turnover rate low, Tulgan has these suggestions:

A Strong Peer Leader. Generation Z members respond the best to small work groups with a “well-defined chain of command” and a leader that can double as a mentor.

Mold Their Behavior. This generation hasn’t quite grasped the concept of how interpersonal relationships work. Don’t be afraid to invest in molding their work ethic and customer service skills to add productivity into your company. “Employers need to remember they have every right to require certain conduct and behavior from them. They’re very willing to understand, but you have to teach them,” Tulgan explains.

Make Their Roles Crystal Clear. Generation Z workers want a clear-cut definition of their tasks at work as well as a well-structured description of their role on the job.

Reward Them For Performance. “This generation has grown up with individual education plans [and] awards for everything they do,” USA Today adds. This means that in order to drive up performance, employers must acknowledge and reward their diligence at work.

Make It Their Dream Job. “This generation will have highly valuable rising stars attracted to employers who can offer them jobs with elements that excite them while also making sense for the organization,” USA Today concludes.

Back On Top! Women Recapture The Jobs Lost In The Great Recession

October 2nd, 2013 - By Kimberly Gedeon
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In the economically destructive aftermath of The Great Recession, women are picking up the pieces faster than men. The Buffalo News took a closer look at the August jobs report and found that women and men demonstrated an unemployment rate of 6.8 percent and 7.7 percent.

Construction and manufacturing, two male-dominated industry, have remained harmfully sluggish during the economic recovery. Industries in sales, health care, education, food and hotels, on the other hand, have been revitalizing at a healthier rate. Coincidentally, these are the industries most populated by women. “Since June 2009, one of the largest gains occurred in education and health services jobs, which added nearly 1.6 million jobs, second most of any industry. And women gained nearly 1.1 million of those jobs,” the paper says.

“It’s a segregated labor market, and men and women do work in different industries, and even in different areas within industries,” says Heidi Hartmann, an economist and president of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research.

At the peak of the economic downturn, only 67.97 million women had jobs. In August, there was a slight increase, with 68 million women were employed. Men, however, experienced a setback. In December of 2007, 78.3 million men were employed. This number dropped to 76.2 million last month.

Women haven’t only been making gains in low-wage industries. They have also been employed in “professional and business services, a grab-bag category that includes architects, engineers, information technology workers and temps,” Buffalo News adds. However, this is where the positive outlook for female employment ends. The percentage of women (and men) looking for employment has been dropping.

“[The] labor force participation rate for women was 57.3 last month, down from 59.4 percent in December 2007. For men, the participation rate has dropped to 69.5 percent, from 73.1 percent,” it added.

These furloughs aren’t helping the overall employment picture either.

There has been a jump in men and women falling back on retirement, enrolling in educational institutions, registering for Social Security payments, and simply giving up on the weak job market.

Not Landing That Corner Office Position? 10 Common Job Search Errors We Make

September 9th, 2013 - By Tanvier Peart
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Looking for a job can be, at times, just as frustrating as preparing for the interview. One wrong move and your submission will make its way to the bottom of the pile or worse, the trash can. Hiring managers see their fair share of hot mess job applications. It’s our job to learn what those errors are and correct them in hopes landing the position.

Don’t do these things ever again.

How To Get A Job When You’re Overqualified

September 3rd, 2013 - By Tanvier Peart
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“Thank you for your interest in the position. We’re sorry, but you are a bit overqualified.”

Okay so maybe it doesn’t really go down like this (hopefully not in those words) but nonetheless happens to many job seekers. No one likes hearing they have too much experience for a position, especially when bills are coming due. Yet, many professionals will seek positions that are a bit “lower in status” for various reasons that include lack of jobs at their current level or the flat out need to survive.

Should you find yourself in this number, here are some ways to land a job if you are overqualified.

Jane Of All Trades: Oprah And The Art Of Multitasking

September 3rd, 2013 - By Andrea Williams
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For folks who have already taken a trip to the local cineplex to see Lee Daniels’ The Butler, you don’t need an endorsement from President Obama to confirm what we all know to be true: Oprah Winfrey has mad acting skills.

Somewhere in the midst of Winfrey’s self-imposed film hiatus following 1998’s box office flop Beloved, along with the excitement surrounding her emotional departure from daytime television and the public criticism of her barely-surviving-but-now-thriving OWN Network, we may have forgotten that she’s an acclaimed thespian.

And with those incredible chops that garnered Winfrey an Academy Award nomination for her very first movie role (as Sofia in The Color Purple, 1985), it would have been easy – and perhaps a bit justifiable – for her to just show up on set, say her lines and get back to her 50 other jobs.

But she didn’t.

In the September issue of O Magazine (the one with Winfrey smiling on the cover beneath the super-fly and super-large Afro wig she dubbed “Wild Thang”), the queen of media detailed her painstaking efforts to authentically portray Gloria, wife of Forest Whitaker’s title character, Cecil Gaines. She took acting classes to learn how to cry on cue, and she walked around for months smoking herbal cigarettes, all the while perfecting Gloria’s nicotine-influenced mannerisms. Now that Oscar buzz is already swarming around Winfrey, it’s apparent that her work paid off.

In a society that celebrates busy-ness and constant multitasking, there’s a temptation to plow forward, dibbling and dabbling here and there, but never reaching a level of excellence in anything.

Certainly, the current economic climate (as well as numerous studies on the portfolios of the wealthy) suggests that a bank account with multiple income streams is the standard to which we should all strive. But, as evidenced by Winfrey’s body of work, true financial success and career satisfaction can only be achieved when we take care to actually hone our skills – varied as they may be.

Make no mistake, there are plenty of examples of singers who land acting gigs solely because they have all the right curves, or Auto-Tune-dependent thespians whose big-screen paydays afford them the opportunity to record an album with music’s biggest producers. But multitasking for the sake of multitasking is fruitless. The sustainability of these pursuits is virtually non-existent – as is the public respect for said “artistic” endeavors.

Nowadays, most multi-hyphenate celebrities don’t deserve half of their titles, but with her stellar turn as the adulterous, alcohol-addicted wife of one of the most critical players in African-American history (that most of us had never heard of), Winfrey proves once again that she truly reigns supreme.

So when new career opportunities come, as they surely will, I challenge you – as well as myself – to resist the urge to “just show up.” Dig deep, study, prepare. Do whatever you have to do to showcase your skill and talent. Take a cue from Ms. Winfrey, and let your work – not your publicist or your social media marketing – speak for itself.

Temporary Jobs Are Beginning To Consume The Job Market

July 9th, 2013 - By Kimberly Gedeon
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Four years ago about 1.35 million Americans were employed in temp jobs. Now, a recent job report shows that this number doubled to 2.7 million. Why? Employers just aren’t willing to hire long-term workers, reports The Winnipeg Free Press.

Temporary workers normally receive low wages, little-to-no benefits, and weak job security. The average salary for temp jobs is $36,000, reports Simply Hired. Full-time workers make an average of about $50,000. This growing trend stems from the “lingering uncertainty about the economy,” adds The Winnipeg Free Press. In order to escape the impending expense of providing medical coverage for permanent workers, employers have decided to hire more temps.

ProPublica (via Business Insider) elaborates on the trend:

Across America, temporary work has become a mainstay of the economy, leading to the proliferation of what researchers have begun to call “temp towns.” They are often dense Latino neighborhoods teeming with temp agencies. Or they are cities where it has become nearly impossible even for whites and African-Americans with vocational training to find factory and warehouse work without first being directed to a temp firm.


Strangely enough, temporary jobs are growing in fields that do not typically offer such positions. Lawyers, doctors, and even information technology specialists are extending their use of temporary workers. The medical field, in particular, is expected to grow 10 percent in temporary positions. The shortage of doctors and nurses has coerced hospitals to seek help from temp agencies.

Wal-Mart has also been disproportionately hiring “flexible associates,” as it calls them. But really, they should be called disposable workers. “You can hire 10,000 people for 10 to 15 minutes,” says Bob Bahramipour, CEO of Gigwalk—a temp recruitment agency. “When they’re done, those 10,000 people just melt away.” ProPublica says, besides Wal-Mart, Macy’s, Nike, and other consumer goods companies and retailers are giving rise to the number of blue-collar temp workers and, in areas where these minimum wage temps live, “temp towns.” Schools—in order to escape retirement benefits for their employers—are also hiring temp workers or substitute teachers.

“There’s been a generational shift toward a less committed relationship between the firm and the worker,” said Ethan Harris, a global economist at Bank of America.

Research shows only 27 percent of jobs that are categorized as “temp to permanent” truly lead to a permanent position.

Companies feel much safer in hiring temps; abstaining from employing too many permanent workers can save the company from a decline in revenue. “A heavy investment in long-term employment is not a cost all companies want to bear anymore,” adds The Winnipeg Free Press.

Some business executives argue that the increase of temporary positions in the labor market is more beneficial. It allows for workers to gain valuable skills and experience for the next prospective permanent job. What do you think?