Are you still waiting for that company executive— or at this point any hiring manager —to say, “You are hired”? If you are, you may have to wait a little longer because after months of watching the unemployment rate barely move between 6.1 and 6.2 percent, the August jobs report turned out to be the most disappointing one this year, according to the U.S. Labor Department.
Before the release of 2014’s biggest letdown, companies were hiring over 200,000 workers during the last six months. According to USA TODAY, this year’s gains became “the longest stretch” of improvement since 1997. But in August, the private sector only hired 134,000 workers and the public sector barely reached the 10k mark only hiring 8,000.
But even with those depressing August numbers, there is some good news: long-term unemployment statistics declined last month. The bad news, however, is that over 40 percent of U.S. executives now say they prefer technology over hiring any new workers, according to a recent survey. So after a long summer of false hope, the long-term forecast for over 3 million unemployed Americans is the cold shoulder.
The August 2014 unemployment statistics are no surprise to most economists, says USA TODAY, because the end of summer jobs report is always lower than expected but later raised. As a matter of fact, the Labor Department said that there wasn’t any job growth in August 2011. But once they had gathered more data, the total was eventually changed to a substantial increase of over 55,000. Then by late October, there was another round of corrections moving the 2011 August jobs report to over 100,000.
In August 2013, the department adjusted the numbers from over 160,000 to 193,000 and finally to 238,000. But even with any potential changes or small increases to the August 2014 unemployment rate, chances are the news still will be grim for most job seekers, that is, accept for younger workers or recent veterans.
For those groups, which include high-school graduates and dropouts, the unemployment rate dropped a bit. Why? The people in those demographics, says the Washington Post, are not included in the data because they have quit jobs, gave up the search or haven’t begun looking. In other words, they are basically invisible to the government who only estimates those who are intensively searching for a job. The long-term unemployed, however, has become the most visible demographic.
Legends of the Fall
This year started off with a bang as speculation that job growth would see the greatest improvement since the Great Recession. Most recently, the U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez provided more hope as he talked about the condition of America’s economy, the turmoil in the labor market and his fall plans to assist the long-term unemployed.
According to USA TODAY, long-term unemployed Americans have experienced more relief than any other demographic with a decrease of over 190,000 to 3 million. The statistics, says USA TODAY are “still historically high, but is down from 38 percent a year ago and 45.3 percent in April 2010”.
"Long-term unemployment is actually falling faster than you would have predicted," Josh Bivens, research director at the Economic Policy Institute, told USA TODAY.
The problem is that company executives often discriminate against this group citing they are unprepared for new opportunities because their job readiness skills tend to weaken overtime. Regardless of the fact that most people take advantage of the time to attend professional development workshops, seek a degree or earn another one in a new field, these inherent basis still exist. The question is how much time should it take for someone to fully bounce back after a layoff? Unfortunately, it is the same people who do the hiring who are creating the standards and misconceptions about the long-term unemployed. So when can job seekers expect to see an increase in hiring?
A Chilly Winter
For most Americans who are still unemployed, the tireless job search will continue throughout the fall, says a new survey. And adding a little more salt to the wounds, over 40 percent of U.S. executives said that they prefer technology over hiring any new workers.
The survey, conducted by the Harvard Business School alumni, also found that approximately half of the top managers support outsourcing or hiring part-time workers instead of full-time employees. The same executives interviewed for the survey claim they are having a difficult time locating talented employees, says the Washington Post.
“The bleak picture facing middle and working class Americans are the canary in our coal mine,” Jan Rivkin, a Harvard business professor and one of the survey’s lead authors, told the Washington Post. “Eventually, that will come back to haunt business.”
Rivkin added that businesses’ inability or reluctance to develop or produce a more “skilled workforce could ultimately hurt those companies and the competitiveness of the U.S. economy”. But in the end, the survey exposes the disparities of the Great Recession. Since it reportedly came to a halt in 2009, most of the jobs, salary and wealth increases have never moved through the entire economy, says the Washington Post.
Overall, this winter is predicted to be harsh for the long-term unemployed as organizations tend to not favour hiring people from this particular group. It also seems that companies opt for technology instead of hiring new staff and those who do hire new workers prefer outsourcing or hiring part-time employees.