Job Market Review – September 2009
Finding a new job in today’s job market can be tough. Most companies are unsure of their financial future, so new openings are few and far between. If you are searching for a job, being chosen to fill one of those few openings is difficult. The 9.7% unemployment rate is definitely not on your side. Today’s job market clearly favors the employer. However, there is hope. Job losses have slowed and the economy is showing signs of stabilization. This means that the wait may be drawing to an end.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 14.9 Million of the roughly 304 Million people in the United States are currently unemployed. The vast majority of these people are unemployed because of the continual series of layoffs seen in companies throughout the U.S. during the last 20 months. However, we are finally seeing relief.
In August, layoffs finally slowed. During the month of August 216,000 people were laid off. This number is still large, but is the lowest we have seen since August 2008. This figure is less than a third of the number of layoffs experienced in January of this year. It does not mean we are out of the woods, but slowing the rate of layoffs is the first necessary step to restoring the job market.
All of the layoffs and the tightening of the job market have been fueled by the failing economy. Aside from a few brief exceptions, the U.S. economy has been on a continual decline for more than 24 months. This decline has been the result of a failing housing market, low consumer spending, and poor performance in the stock market. However, this too is changing.
The Federal Open Market Committee, also known as the FOMC, meets regularly to discuss the state of the economy. At the end of their last two day session, the FOMC concluded that the U.S. economy is in better condition than it was the last time they met.
After the FOMC meeting, the Federal Reserve made a few encouraging statement: Economic activity has picked up. Conditions in the financial and housing marketing have improved. Consumer spending is stabilizing.
A combination of slowing layoff statistics and improved economic activity are signs of a recovering economy. The next few months will still be tough. However, this promise of economic recovery will lead to new jobs today and a better job market in the spring of 2010. If you are in the market for a new job opportunity, now is the time to get aggressive. Start building and preparing your network of industry peers. Actively search for new opportunities and begin soliciting your resume. With a bit of diligence and planning, you may be fortunate enough to capitalize on the recovering job market.