Weak Jobs Report Not the End of the World for Motivated Staffing and Recruiting Professionals

For motivated staffing and recruiting professionals, a weak job market may make the hiring and candidate sourcing process a bit more bumpy, but hardly impossible.

Those professionals who are outfitted with the latest in efficient staffing software and recruiting software solutions will be able to leverage traditional skills and digital tools to locate and promote the best candidates for clients.

After three weeks, the federal government’s shutdown finally ended. Now, reports and data that were stalled due to furloughed employees and decreased operations are out. The latest jobs report from the U.S. Department of Labor paints a less than stellar picture of the current economy. However, market experts believe that all this should turn around now that the confusion and worries revolving around the threat of a government shutdown dissipate.

Employment numbers still moving forward

According to September’s jobs report, which was delayed two weeks because of the government shutdown, total nonfarm employment increased by 148,000 for the month and the unemployment rate remained relatively unchanged at 7.2 percent. The industries with the greatest growth for the month of September were construction, wholesale trade, and transportation and warehousing.

Despite grumblings about disappointing employment growth by many, it’s important to note that jobs are being added each month. This is positive news, while the number of jobs available is not growing by leaps and bounds, it is still moving in a positive direction. The unemployment rate may have changed little in a month-over-month comparison, but it has decreased 0.4 percentage points since June of this year.

Most of the disappointment from the jobs report seems to stem from greater expectations, as economists surveyed by Bloomberg News believed that 180,000 jobs would have been added during September.

“The employment report released this morning showed that the economic recovery continued its moderate pace during September,” said Robert Murphy, associate professor of economics, Boston College, according to ABC News. “Of course, the latest report is based on data from before the government shutdown and debt-crisis brinkmanship, and so to gauge any possible fallout from those events we must await the October numbers.”

Sectors with the greatest increases in employment included construction, which added 20,000 jobs, wholesale trade, which rose by 16,000 and transportation and warehousing, which added 23,000 jobs during the month of September, according to the jobs report. Both the civilian labor force participation rate, at 63.2 percent, and the employment-population ratio at 58.6 percent, were unchanged in September. Over the course of the year, the labor force participation rate has declined by 0.4 percentage points, while the employment-population ratio has changed very little overall.

Employment in professional and business services also improved. The jobs report shows that positions that fit within this sector rose by 32,000 in September. This is a slight decrease from its average monthly growth of 52,000 over the previous 12 months.

Lindsey Piegza, chief economist for Sterne Agee, believes that the delayed release date of the jobs report makes the information a lot less meaningful, reported ABC News.

“Of course, an outsized decline will almost certainly be blamed on the government shutdown, but the jobs market has been losing steam since the start of the year, well before the government shutdown was even being considered,” Piegza said.

Jobs data may impact feds stimulus

The weakness seen in the September hiring figures and the complications from the federal government shutdown are expected to further delay the Federal Reserve’s decision to adjust the stimulus programs, reported The New York Times.

“The labor market lost, rather than gained, momentum over the summer, leaving us with less than a desirable cushion just as the government was shuttered in response to political shenanigans,” said Diane Swonk, chief economist at Mesirow Financial, according to the news source.

The Fed has been attempting to stimulate the economy the past few years with a variety of tactics. The New York Times reported that most of the fiscal policies have had little positive effect, which is why the agency was waiting for a positive jobs report.

“The Fed’s core criteria to change policy is clear evidence of a sustained improvement in the labor market outlook,” Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, wrote in a note to clients, according to the news source. “Such evidence will not be available this year because the shutdown depressed employment in October and then probably caused a corresponding bounce back in November.”

What does this mean for staffing and recruiting professionals?

With the pace of employment growth in September slower than the average rate experienced over the course of the previous year, which was 185,000 jobs per month, staffing and recruiting professionals may find themselves being inundated with resumes from workers and clients looking to use contract employees or temps to fill roles. The job market has hardly demonstrated stability, yet the slight and steady growth does provide some hope. Recruiting professionals must use this time to demonstrate to clients that they understand the market pressures and can use creative staffing solutions to meet needs. Recruiters may find themselves working hard to demonstrate the operational efficiency of their services and how professional staffing solutions are cost effective than in-house hiring.

By leveraging the use of staffing and recruiting software with traditional industry skills, a staffing professional will be better able to demonstrate to clients that he or she is the answer to many hiring problems. As the federal government works to create new stimulus programs and increase jobs with its tools, staffing professionals can boost the economy as well by promoting the use of creative staffing solutions to meet clients’ needs. After all, happy clients that are showing positive growth will require more workers in the future.

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