State of the Job Market


August temperatures may have hit record highs in some regions of the U.S., but unemployment numbers are in — and while they may have been down from 8.2 to 8.1 percent last month based a report analyzing the job market from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, many Americans looking for work are still waiting for the sun to shine down on employment prospects. “Although there is no longer a net loss of jobs, employers are not adding enough jobs to dramatically reduce the unemployment rate,” writes Jenny Marlar in this post on Gallup.

The August numbers may not yet paint the most favorable picture about the job market, but there is a silver lining that comes in the form of employment increases within several non-farm industries that may have positive implications that can be applied to the job search.

Notable Employment Gains?
Based on the report, there were employment increases in several U.S. industries, including:

Food and beverage services: + 28,000
Professional and Technical Services: + 27,000
Healthcare: + 17,000
Utilities: + 9,000
The ADP National Employment Report notes an employment increase of 201,000 in the private sector job market.

Despite gains in these areas, unemployed Americans are less hopeful about finding a new job within the next month than they were in July. For the unemployed, underemployed, and part-time employees looking for work, August’s unemployment rate means that they could want to focus their efforts in any of the industries where growth is indicated.

Practical Implications for Job Seekers
The job market may be rocky terrain, but the job search must rage on. What else can job seekers do to up their chances of gaining employment in the current job market?

August’s unemployment rate means people looking for work should turn their attention to the two p’s: private sector and part-time. If the prospects have seemed lean in the past few months, making these two areas of employment increase the priority is a sound job search strategy.

Revamp Your Resume With Transferrable Skills
There is an endless number of companies that hire part-time, seasonal, and temporary employees. If you’re actively looking for work, be open to jobs of this nature since some may have hiring policies that mandate hiring from within first!

Whether your employment background is in the private or public sector — and no matter how much time you’re looking to devote per week — there are certain skills sets that can be applied and honed no matter what industry you’re looking to enter. Look for overlaps in job duties. For instance, someone with a professional background as a police dispatcher might find a few skills that would help them succeed in a customer service position.

Be Social to Navigate the Job Market
Armed with a newly updated resume that’s available and searchable online, get your head back into the job hunt and leverage connections to find openings at companies where your skills will be of value to the employer. If you’re looking for work, improve you chances by reaching out to companies that are looking to hire candidates with profiles similar to your own.

Come up with a list of ten or so companies and do a simple LinkedIn search to see if anyone in your network is already employed there or has been in the past. Social media sites and job search sites like Jackalope Jobs that harness the power of the online search and social media to generate search results are an excellent place to start and can lower uncertainty about looking for work in the current job market.

Navigate the job market by prioritizing your efforts and staying optimistic. Don’t let August’s unemployment be the reason you become inactive in your job search.

In the current job market, what have you done that has yielded positive results such as interviews and opportunities? What transferable skills should you highlight looking for work in the areas noted above?


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U.S. Unemployment Rate: 8.2% (June 2012)

Canada Unemployment Rate: 7.2% (June 2012)

U.S. First-Time Unemployment Claims: 350,000 (week ending July 7, 2012)

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