Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Job-hunting is tough work
I’ve heard the advice on setting aside at least 35 hours a week to focus on finding a new job.
I’ve seen the accounts of people laid off in the Great Recession who are still jobless after a year or more.
It’s all so unnerving. Then there’s this statistic to give pause: six applicants per available U.S. job.
That’s courtesy of Heidi Shierholz, an economist at the Economic Policy Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank, who monthly crunches numbers from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics to see how the unemployed are faring.
Earlier this month, she looked at the BLS’s JOLTS report for July to calculate the latest candidates-per-job ratio. (The Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey is released after the government’s monthly report on employment, but whereas the latter covers the previous month, the JOLTS data are two months old.)
What did she find in JOLTS?
That job openings dropped by 121,000 in July; that for the month there were 12.1 million more unemployed workers than job openings; that job openings have dropped by 2 million -- or 45 percent -- since the recession began in December 2007.
Compared to July’s 6-for-1 ratio, there were 1.7 applicants per available job at the dawn of the Great Recession, Shierholz says.
And despite some moderation lately in the number of jobs cut each month from U.S. payrolls, “it is still getting harder and harder … for unemployed workers to find a job,” she says.
Tell me about it.
I haven’t blanketed employers with 60 or 100 resumes; I’m probably not spending 35 hours each week trying to find a new job. (As someone who is unemployed, am I entitled to a “weekend”? I feel guilty if I’m not looking for work seven days a week.)
But I am watching job boards. I am identifying companies I’d like to work for and either responding to ads they’ve posted on their websites or sending them cheerful “Hire Me!” cover letters/resumes in case they get the urge to add workers. I am hitting up anybody I know who knows somebody who knows somebody who might know somebody else who might have heard about a job.
And I am getting out of my bathrobe each morning to check my email for nibbles on job inquiries. Considering I’m one of the 13,000-plus workers laid off from U.S. newspapers just this year -- a year that has seen more than 100 papers close or shift to online-only publication -- that’s an accomplishment.