April saw a continued erosion of pundit confidence in the economy to record lows. According to March’s unemployment data, however, employee confidence may be on the rebound. Though the number of seasonally adjusted employed persons in March fell by 80,000, those in the available workforce grew by 410,000, likely representing an influx of people who felt the job market was too difficult to break into and had fallen back on other options.
“Hiring hasn’t stopped. Almost everyone knows someone who is out there interviewing and even getting hired over the last few months. That personal, though anecdotal, evidence is overriding what people are reading about the economy. It’s causing people to re-enter the job hunt, and they are right to do so,” says Michael Jalbert, president of MRINetwork.
According to internal MRINetwork data, referred to as PTWeb+™, hiring authorities aren’t changing their patterns much. MRINetwork’s nearly 900 U.S. offices work in the professional, management and executive levels of virtually all industries. According to the data from these offices, hiring has been closely following its normal seasonal trend. PTWeb+ showed an edging off towards the holidays then rebounding in January to make up for lost time and the new fiscal year, and finally beginning the slow upward growth into summer.
“Companies are of course looking at economic trends and being more cautious about hiring, but that caution isn’t caus-ing them to vary from their normal seasonal hiring patterns in a large way. Candidates are still out there and hiring author-ities are still seeking them out,” observes Jalbert.
“One of the largest effects on the housing slowdown and credit crunch on management level recruiting might not be in the loss of jobs but the relocation issue,” Jalbert points out. “In the college educated professional workforce where home ownership rates are higher and relocations for work are more common, not being able to sell a home or get a loan for a new one can tie up a job switch for months. For an employer who is understaffed that is just too long.”
While restaurants, retail and other types of services com-panies are reporting record high responses to job postings, the response has declined somewhat in the professional sector.
“It is a bit like both a candidate and an employer market at the same time. Both sides are having a hard time connecting with each other,” says Jalbert. “The biggest lesson of the day for job seekers has to be, ‘just keep looking,’ because the jobs are out there waiting to be found.”