Welcoming a New Year

Welcome to 2015! VetJobs is now in its sixteenth year of service to transitioning military, veterans, National Guard & Reserve, and their family members seeking work and to the employers who want to hire veterans. 2014 was a great year for VetJobs. Besides record sales, traffic and job postings, VetJobs won the very competitive General Motors contract to create a job board for the 4,300 GM dealerships to recruit veterans. While 2014 was a banner year, I expect 2015 will be even better.

Having come off a great year, we want to give 2015 a real boost. So to get things going with our recruitment ad agency partners, VetJobs will pay an additional 5.0% commission on any new business over $1,000 through the month of January! That makes the total agency fee 20%! Give us a call if you have any questions.

By joining VetJobs employers are using the leading veteran employment site on the internet. VetJobs is an appropriate employment service delivery system for EEOC, VEVRAA/JVA and OFCCP compliance support, including job distribution to state workforce job boards. VetJobs is the leading site to assist employers in reaching their 7.2% veteran hiring benchmark now required by DOL.

We look forward to working with you throughout 2015!

January 1 is New Year’s Day.

On January 19 we celebrate Martin Luther King Day. MLK Day was founded as a holiday promoted by labor unions. After King’s death in 1968, Congressman John Conyers introduced a bill in Congress to make King’s birthday a national holiday, highlighting King’s activism on behalf of trade unions. Unions did most of the promotion for the holiday throughout the 1970s. In 1976, trade unions helped to elect Jimmy Carter, who endorsed the King Day bill. At the White House Rose Garden on November 2, 1983, Reagan signed a bill creating a federal holiday to honor King. It was observed for the first time on January 20, 1986.

Turning to the economy, things are definitely turning around. The reasons vary from the Republican win in the mid-terms which has given business hope and confidence to start investing and moving away from a progressive state, to moves that have been taken the administration. Your perspective as to what is really happening will be heavily shaded by your political leanings.

While the overall unemployment rate for veterans remained at 4.5% in November and the national unemployment rate fell to 5.8%, the job market continues to remain soft. While the unemployment rates politically look good, there is definitely a gap between those with jobs and the millions who have dropped out of the job market due to the lack of jobs. If one were to include the drop outs and use the U6 unemployment rate, national unemployment for November would be 11.4%. And yes, there are those who would say the real number is closer to 20%. The U-6 unemployment rate includes total unemployed, plus all persons marginally attached to the labor force, plus total employed part time for economic reasons, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus all persons marginally attached to the labor force.

The bottom line here is there is a lot of slack in the economy when it comes to labor. That is a driving factor as to why the Federal Reserve did not raise interest rates in 2014. If the labor market slack does not improve the Federal Reserve probably will not raise rates until well into 2015.

Complicating the labor issue is the over-supply of people with little or no qualifications relative to the demands of current jobs and the huge shortage of trades craft labor and candidates with STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). Much of this problem is rooted in the federal government’s policy of No Child Left Behind. Turns out that not everyone should be going to college. And there just is not a big demand for degrees in history, women’s studies, and other soft degree disciplines. Business and industry need candidates with STEM backgrounds. That is why you are reading in the news about huge shortages of engineers, welders, machinists, CNC operators, software developers, accountants, maintenance and manufacturing.

Consumer spending is improving, but is that because more people have money or are they more confident in the future due to the mid-term elections? Consumers are getting a big boost from lower gas prices. In a December Commerce Department report the government reported that personal spending increased 0.6% in November while October’s increase was revised upward by 0.1% to 0.3%. Personal income jumped 0.4% in November.

New job growth has grown, but a disconcerting note is a huge portion of the new jobs are part-time jobs. One cannot build an economic recovery on part-time job growth no matter how the politicians try to spin it. In November, 18.9% of all jobs were part-time jobs. By comparison, in 1968 when the part-time numbers were first tracked by DOL, the rate was 13.5%. In 2010 it was 20.1%.

There is a gnawing fear among some economists that the improving job creation data provides false confidence due to the part-time work problem. In November there were 28,225,000 part-time workers in the United States, nearly a fifth of the total work force. That has led to worries that the workforce may be becoming permanently polarized, with part-timers stuck on one side and full-time workers on the other.

The economy is not out of the woods yet, but it definitely is moving in the right direction. 2015 promises to be the best year since the Great Recession and definitely the best of the last six years. It should be a good year for those looking for work. Only time will tell.

2015 Labor Force Predictions

As long time readers know I like to give labor force projections for the year in the January newsletter. Now that we are officially in 2015 it is time to look forward to where the job market in the United States will go. My fifteen plus years of experience as the president the nation’s leading military employment site as well as being on the Board of Governors of the International Association of Employment Web Sites (IAEWS) and on the Small Business Council of the United States Chamber of Commerce gives me firsthand knowledge about the health of the veteran employment sector as well as the nation’s labor market.

This year I want to highlight the work force projections of Joyce Gioia of The Herman Group (www.hermangroup.com). She is one of America’s leading futurists and a recognized expert on the workforce.

2015 Workforce/Workplace Forecast

Every year, The Herman Group issues its annual forecast. We hope you will use this information within your organization to reduce your stress through planning and drive more revenue by knowing what is coming.

  1. As more economies improve, companies will recruit the people they need to grow. With continuing growth in the United States and Europe, organizations of all sizes will take on new staff. The continuing challenge will be to find talent in the technical fields, particularly STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) areas. The fastest growing occupations with the largest percentage growth expected through 2018 are Biomedical Engineers–72 percent, Network Systems Analysts—53 percent, Home Health Aides—50 percent, Personal and Home-Care Aides—46 percent, Financial Examiners—41 percent, Medical Scientists—40 percent, Physician Assistants—39 percent, Skin-Care Specialists—38 percent, Biochemists and Biophysicists—37 percent, and Athletic Trainers—37 percent.
  2. Workforce shortages will increase. Employers’ previous reluctance to invest in training and development has resulted in severe shortages of trained, experienced workers in many fields. Now, realizing they must grow their own, some employers are re-investing internal training. An increasing number of employers now understand the importance of creating talent pipelines. More employers are beginning to work with local schools, colleges, and universities to create internships and mentor young people.
  3. Increasing use of technology and automation will shift talent needs. No matter what jobs employees fill, employers require that they have at least basic computer skills. At higher levels, when employees are required to operate more complex systems, more sophisticated levels of talent are needed. Unfortunately, people with higher skill levels will not only be more difficult to recruit, but in many cases, they will be impossible to find. People with higher skill levels will continue to be in high demand and will be able to command high salaries.
  4. Outside of the US, unemployment rates will remain relatively high. Domestically in the US, unemployment will remain over 5.0 percent, though there is a huge question about those who have dropped out of the labor market. China’s reported unemployment will remain fairly high (for China), fueled by continued relocation of production facilities out of the country. Employers worldwide will continue to face the challenge that many of the unemployed are simply not employable—either because they lack workforce or life skills.
  5. Climate change will continue to affect productivity. With the accelerating occurrence of natural disasters and increasingly stronger storms, employers will find worker productivity diminished—particularly for road warriors who are affected by delayed and cancelled flights. Increasing droughts and precipitation will cause more work suspensions affecting employees worldwide. Look for continued emphasis on Disaster Operations Plans.
  6. Communities will continue to embrace workforce development. With growing shortages of skilled labor, more communities have embraced what author Edward Gordon calls RETAINs (Regional Talent Innovation Networks)—public/private partnerships created to respond to the employers’ increasing workforce needs, especially for folks with higher skill levels.
  7. Use of gamification in training and development will increase. Unfortunately, the payoff for many investments in work gamification failed to materialize. Not realizing the real reasons for these failures, some misguided employers left gamification. But others are embracing gamification as a means for encouraging participation in Training and Development. Particularly the younger generations will respond to the inclusion of the element of fun.
  8. Companies will hire more internal career coaches. Capitalizing on what recruiting guru Peter Weddle calls “Red Shirt Relationships” (See http://www.hermangroup.com/alert/archive_12-17-2014.html), companies will hire internal career coaches to serve both developing employees and prospective candidates.
  9. Re-engineering will continue to increase. Organizations of all sizes will continue to eliminate positions and hire other workers. With the increasing automation of many jobs and processes, employers will need to hire more highly skilled people. Enlightened employers will engage their employees to help them find efficiencies—without outsourcing or getting rid of people.
  10. Employers worldwide will focus more on fostering healthy cultures. Recognizing the relationship between employee culture and profitability, more employers will invest in improving employee engagement and creating cultures in which people want to work. Lower turnover means increased profits.
  11. Escalating numbers of public shootings will take their toll on security and productivity. With an increase in the number of incidents in schools and workplaces, expect to see an increase in vigilance on the part of supervisors and leaders. This increased vigilance will cost employers both in real dollars to maintain that vigilance and in the reduced productivity that comes along.

It will be interesting to see how these play out over 2015.

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