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‘Unemployment’ is an emotional ‘trigger’ word.  It conjures up negative thoughts.  But it is important to realize that, while we want everyone who wants a job to have the opportunity to work, unemployment can never be zero and, in fact, can be disruptive to an economy if it gets too close to zero.  Very low unemployment can actually hurt the economy by creating an upward pressure on wages which invariably leads to higher production costs and prices.  This can lead to inflation.  A healthy economy will always include some percentage of unemployment.  The debate is waged on what is the optimum, acceptable unemployment rate.


There are four main sources of unemployment:

1.  Cyclical (or demand-deficient) unemployment – This type of unemployment fluctuates with the business cycle.  It rises during a recession and falls during the subsequent recovery.  Workers who are most affected by this type of unemployment are laid off during a recession when production volumes fall and companies use lay-offs as the easiest way to reduce costs.  These workers are usually rehired, some months later, when the economy improves.

2.  Frictional unemployment – This comes from the normal turnover in the labor force.  This is where new workers are entering the workforce and older workers are retiring and leaving vacancies to be filled by the new workers or those re-entering the workforce.  This category includes workers who are between jobs.

3.  Structural unemployment – This happens when the skills possessed by the unemployed worker don’t match the requirements of the opening—whether those be in characteristics and skills or in location.  This can come from new technology or foreign competition (e.g., foreign outsourcing).  This type of unemployment usually lasts longer than frictional unemployment because retraining, and sometimes relocation, is involved.  Occasionally jobs in this category can just disappear overseas.

4.  Seasonal unemployment – This happens when the workforce is affected by the climate or time of year.  Construction workers and agricultural workers aren’t needed as much during the winter season because of the inclement weather.  On the other hand, retail workers experience an increase in hiring shortly before, and during, the holiday season, but can be laid off shortly thereafter.

Other factors influencing the unemployment rate:

1.  Length of unemployment – Some studies indicate that an important factor influencing a workers decision to accept a new job is directly related to the length of the unemployment benefit they are receiving.  There has certainly been some debate about the ninety-nine weeks (nearly two years) of unemployment benefits currently available in the US.

2.  Changes in GDP – Since hiring workers takes time, the improvement in the unemployment rate usually lags behind the improvement in the GDP.


Now back to the issue at hand, namely the recruiting, and placing, of professionals and those with college degrees.

If you take a look at the past few years of unemployment in the July “management, professional and related” types of worker category, you will find the following rates:

July 2010                     5.0%

July 2009                     5.5%

July 2008                     2.9%

July 2007                     2.5%

July 2006                     2.5%

July 2005                     2.7%

July 2004                     3.1%

July 2003                     3.7%

July 2002                     3.5%

Here are the rates, during those same time periods, for “college-degreed” workers:

July 2010                     4.5%

July 2009                     4.7%

July 2008                     2.4%

July 2007                     2.1%

July 2006                     2.1%

July 2005                     2.4%

July2004                      2.7%

July 2003                     3.1%

July 2002                     3.0%


So, while July 2011’s rates for these two categories, of 5.0% and 4.3% respectively, are not huge when looking at the big picture, it’s not anything to be very happy about either—especially when we see how well we had it during the 2002-2008 time frame (Obama took office January 20, 2009).  But regardless, these unemployment numbers usually include a good number of job hoppers, job shoppers and rejects. 

We, on the other hand, are engaged by our client companies to find those candidates who are happy, well-appreciated, making good money and currently working and we entice them to move for even better opportunities—especially where new technologies are expanding.  This will never change.  And that is why, no matter the unemployment rate, we still need to market to find the best job orders and we still need to recruit to find the best candidates.



Bob Marshall began his recruiting career in 1980 when he joined MR Reno, NV.ࠉn 1986 he founded The Bob Marshall Group, International, training recruiters across the nation as well as in the United Kingdom, Malta and Cyprus.ࠉn 1996, he returned to working a desk full-time, while continuing to train recruiters.ࠊust recently he began marketing the ‘unplugged’ version of his acclaimed 2009 43-session Classic Teleconference Series.ࠔo learn more about his activities and descriptions of his products (including The Executive Edition Daily Planner) and services (including the ‘Double Production-guaranteed’ program), contact him directly at: 770-898-5550,,or

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HCX Facts

Growth in women's share of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) occupations declined to 27% in 2011from a high of 34% in 1990. While women make up nearly half of the workforce, they were 26% of the STEM workforce in 2011.

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