According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the American economy gained 173,000 jobs in August 2015, while the unemployment rate dropped to 5.1 percent. Over the year, the unemployment rate and the number of unemployed people is down by 1.0 percentage point and 1.5 million, respectively.
Average hourly earnings for all employees rose by 8 cents from the previous month to $25.09. Over the year, hourly earnings have increased by 2.2 percent.
The largest job gains were found in health care and in financial activities. Healthcare and social assistance added 56,000 jobs in August 2015, while financial activities employment increased by 19,000. Meanwhile, the manufacturing sector lost 17,000 jobs and mining employment decreased by 9,000 jobs.
Employment in professional and business services continued to trend up in August, adding 33,000 jobs for a total of 641,000 jobs added over the year. Temp jobs totaled more than 2.9 million in August, up 4.3 percent from the year before. The American Staffing Association (ASA) reports that U.S. staffing companies employed an average of 3.24 million temporary and contract workers per week in the second quarter of 2015, up 2.9 percent from the same time period in 2014.
Recruiter Sentiment – The Market is Candidate Driven
A survey of 347 recruiters conducted in June 2015 by the MRINetwork found that the vast majority of respondents believe that the managerial and professional sector talent markets are candidate-driven. The survey found that 90 percent of respondents defined the talent market for executive, managerial, and professional positions as candidate-driven, up from 80 percent in a survey conducted in the first half of 2014 and from 56 percent in the first half of 2012.
The survey also found that rejected job offers continue to rise, as candidates accept other opportunities. According to MRINetwork, this demonstrates that employers are losing top performers to lengthy hiring practices, below-market salaries, and an inability to market the company to candidates. According to recruiters, top candidates have multiple offers and are choosing jobs based on compensation and value of work-life balance.
Investment in HR & Recruitment Software Up
According to the Wall Street Journal, U.S. startups that offer software for human resources and recruitment have acquired $8111.6 million from venture capital investors in the first half of 2015. This is almost near the $859 million that was invested in the sector for the entirety of 2000.
VC Investment in HR and Recruitment Software
Source: Dow Jones Venture Source
The Hardest to Fill Jobs
The American Staffing Association’s Skills Gap Index identified the 172 hardest-to-fill occupations in the United States for the year ended June 2015. The skills gap index measures the level of difficulty to recruit for a specific occupation based on demand, the supply of active candidates, and the total population working in the occupation.
The ten most difficult jobs to fill include:
Heavy and Tractor-Trailer Truck Drivers
Photographic Process Workers and Processing Machine Operators
Occupational Therapy Assistants
Family and General Practitioners
“Demand for staffing and recruiting services continues to grow as labor markets tighten and companies place a higher strategic focus on talent as a key business differentiator. Partnering with staffing and recruiting firms to develop and implement new and more effective workforce solutions helps companies more successfully source qualified talent and narrow their skills gaps.” ~Richard Wahlquist, President and CEO of the American Staffing Association
“Remote” Job Seeker Interest
A new study by the job board site Indeed found that job seeker interest in remote work has grown by 85 percent over the past two years. Also on the rise are search terms related to flexible work, along with “part-time” and “work from home”. According to Indeed, the popularity of flexible work options is a sign that candidates want more flexibility about where and when they work.
Searches for “Remote”
“Remote work provides a way for job seekers to move in different career directions without being limited by where that work is done. It also provides options for employers who find it hard to choose one location that will satisfy all of their talent constituencies – something that’s especially important when hiring candidates with in-demand skills.” ~Tara Sinclair, Chief Economist at Indeed
The research also found that the labor market is much tighter than in recent years, and there are currently fewer unemployed job seekers for every job opening. Additionally, job searches over the past few years have been growing more specialized and technical. The job areas that experienced the highest level of growth included digital marketing, healthcare administration, java and web development, athletic training, talent acquisition, and instructional design.
“Staffing companies continue to create employment opportunities, even with the slowing of overall job growth. The fact that there are currently nearly six million unfilled job openings in the US is good news for job seekers, whether they are looking for employment flexibility or a permanent position.” ~Richard Wahlquist, President and CEO of ASA