Thursday, May 31, 2012

‘Missing workers’ mean the unemployment rate is understating weakness in the...

Sent to you by Steve Sherlock via Google Reader:

via Economic Policy Institute - Feed by Heidi Shierholz on 5/30/12

The labor force participation rate (the share of working-age people who either have a job or are jobless but actively seeking work) has dropped by more than two percentage points since the start of the Great Recession in Dec. 2007. According to a recent EPI analysis, roughly two-thirds of this decline is due to weak job prospects in the recession and its aftermath (these changes are generally labeled cyclical), while the remaining one-third is a result of long-term trends such as baby boomers beginning to retire (changes generally labeled structural). The cyclical portion of the decline in the labor force participation rate represents nearly four million workers who would be in the labor market if job prospects were strong. The existence of this large pool of "missing workers"—workers who have either dropped out of or never entered the labor market because of the lack of job opportunities—means that the unemployment rate is understating weakness in the labor market.

Arguably the best single measure for assessing recent labor market trends is the employment-to-population ratio of 25-54-year-olds, which is simply the share of the 25-54 population that has a job. The restricted age range—25-54-year-olds, or people of "prime working age"—helps insure that trends are not being driven by retiring baby-boomers or increasing college enrollment of young people, but are instead caused purely by changes in job opportunities.

As the figure shows, the share of employed workers 25-54 plunged dramatically from the start of the Great Recession through the fourth quarter of 2009, and then, for nearly two years, essentially bumped around at the bottom of that extremely deep hole. Since the fall of last year, the ratio has just begun to show signs of improvement.

This means that the improvement in the unemployment rate, from 10.0 percent in Oct. 2009 to 8.1 percent in April 2012, has largely been due to people dropping out of, or not entering, the labor force—not to a larger share of potential workers finding work. This also means that while expansionary policies to generate demand are urgently needed and will help spur job growth, they may also generate upward pressure on the unemployment rate as these missing workers begin to enter or reenter the labor market. That kind of upward pressure on the unemployment rate would be a positive sign.

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Thursday, May 24, 2012

“Networkers” Get the Job Done - By Ann Needle (The Stow Independent)

As good as this article is, there is a worthy addition out there to tell the story of the group that spun off of the Acton meetings to arrange meetings in Hopkinton. The members are all part of the Acton Yahoo group so the numbers are included.

"Networkers" Get the Job Done - by Ann Needle
One local group has proven that out of work does not mean out of luck. Since it formed in 2002, Acton Networkers can claim that about 12,811 job seekers have come through the group's e-mail list in the past decade, with a current membership of 2,156.

The Stow Independent... Online May 23, 2012

"Networkers" Get the Job Done
By Ann Needle

One local group has proven that out of work does not mean out of luck. Since it formed in 2002, Acton Networkers can claim that about 12,811 job seekers have come through the group's e-mail list in the past decade, with a current membership of 2,156.
The group formed in the wake of 9/11's sluggish market — especially in high tech — combining five separate church groups for job-hunters in the area with members of a Yahoo e-mail distribution list. The name came about when one of these churches, St. Matthew's United Methodist in Acton, became the main meeting site. Today, the group is even listed as a resource in the Riley Guide job seekers' site, at
About 25 members started that first AN group, sharing "needs and leads" with each other, and working on job-hunting skills and market research. The founders came from St. Isidore's Church, Acton's Mount Calvary Lutheran Church, St. Matthew's United Methodist Church, First Parish Unitarian Universalist in Concord, and Our Lady of Fatima Church, Sudbury.
Network co-founder Craig Schomp of Stow spoke recently of why, though working full-time now, he remains deeply involved with a group that shepherded him through one of life's toughest times.
Schomp began his story with being laid off from a start-up one week after 9/11. Soon after, Schomp formed a networking group at St. Isidore's, with about five members. He also attended a few other church-based networking meetings in the area, all of them small groups that traded leads and tips in job searching.
After Schomp created a job-seekers group on Yahoo, the church groups agreed to combine in March 2002, launching alongside Schomp's Yahoo list.
The "Kimball's Challenge"
Schomp noted that trading contacts and tips has been just a piece of what Acton Networkers has helped accomplish for clients. There also have been job-hunting exercises formed by the group, including what Schomp described as the "Kimball's Challenge".
Chatting at a visit to Kimball's Ice Cream in Westford, Schomp explained that a few of the members were discussing how to handle the ongoing challenge of digging their resumes out of the apparent black holes that suck them away when sent to companies, especially high-tech firms. "So, we told people to put on a suit, knock on the door [of the desired company] and come back and report to us," he said.
Out of work from high tech for a year, Schomp recalled how he took himself up on his own challenge when his unemployment compensation ran out. After spotting a help wanted ad for a salesperson at a local Volkswagon dealership, Schomp said he knocked on the dealer's door, rather than chance sending in a resume that did not list any related experience.

When the dealership asked Schomp what made him think he could sell cars, Schomp told them, "Every time my boy sees a Bug [VW Beetle] on the road, he punches his sister. If you have that sort of brand recognition in my family, it should be easy."
He smiled, "At the end of three months, I was the top guy in the dealership."

Schomp also credits the personal skills learned from AN in helping him land his current job as a lead software engineer at Egenera Inc. When Egenera was in its start-up days, he recalled, "They had no jobs, none." But that did not stop Schomp from contacting the company and offering to write some software on how he would manage one of Egenera's products. Egenera took Schomp up on his offer of a demonstration. It was this demo that Schomp credits with putting him ahead of the pack when a job did open up, leading to his being hired.

"What we realized is your qualifications are only part of the story. You need face time," said Schomp. "If you make a connection, it pushes the resume right to the top."
And, as the Kimballs' visit proved, just having a group to rely on can make a difference.
As Co-Founder Paul Gaboury explained, "When you're out of work, one of your worst enemies is too much time on your hands. AN gave me an opportunity to invest some of that time into helping people by providing them with resources and connections and all of the tools I didn't get from the executive outplacement firm I passed through." He added, "Seeing how it has evolved is both sad and gratifying — sad that the economy still has so many people in need, but gratifying that AN is there to help."
Schomp noted, "I know it works, because the unemployment office sends people to us."

AN lists its meetings on its web site, at Anyone from any profession is welcome. To get onto AN's Yahoo e-mal list, those interested must attend at least one meeting.

The price of membership is cheap —everyone chips in for coffee at the meetings, according to Schomp. "There is a standing tradition that anyone who did get a job with help should stop by, share their story, and bring donuts. I don't think a meeting has been without donuts since its founding."


Monday, May 21, 2012

Do you plan on retirement or reinvention?

Many people are restless or burned out in their present career. They find that retirement is quickly approaching and they are afraid that it will be mind-numbingly boring. Today's baby boomers aren't ready to be put out to pasture. They are active, vibrant and feel they have lots more to offer yet the job market isn't necessarily in agreement. Self-employment allows people to learn new skills and achieve self-fulfillment. For many Baby Boomers starting a franchise has become a promising path to transition from corporate to business ownership. This month's free webinar will explore opportunities to reinvent YOUR career. We will cover the following:
  • Finding fulfilling career options
  • Transferring your experience to business ownership
  • How to use franchising to achieve your goals
  • Building YOUR empire
  • What type of person is right for business ownership
  • How to compare business options
  • AND...plenty of time for live Q&A!

Space is limited so register now to make sure you have a seat!

Click here to register for:
Tues, May 22 at 6pm CT


Click here to register for:
Thurs, May 24 11am CT

From  Suzanne Gray" 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Soft skills still outweigh education in entry-level hires: infographic

Sent to you by Steve Sherlock via Google Reader:

via Posts from the Econsultancy blog by Heather Taylor on 5/8/12

The marketing world is known for its love of hiring interns but with unemployment rates on the rise, are internships really going to lead to new jobs for graduates? And what are employers looking for?
A new study by Millennial Branding and Experience reveal an employment gap between employers and students. Even though 91% of employers think students should have between one and two internships before graduation, 50% haven't hired any interns in the last six months. In fact, over three quarters of employers have hired 30% fewer interns into full time positions of late.
As for social media, currently only 16% of employers look to social media to recruit and 35% use those networks for background checks. The majority of them looking to LinkedIn and Facebook in the hiring process. Thankfully, for those twitter addicts out there, only 2% check Twitter…for now.
What exactly are these employers looking for in entry-level talent? Jennifer Floren, Founder and CEO, Experience found the results rely less on education.
Of all the things employers look for when hiring entry-level talent, it's the so-called 'soft skills' that are valued most: communication, teamwork, flexibility and positive attitude are by far the most sought-after skills. Employers understand that everything else can be taught, so they look for the most promising raw material to work with.
This study is interesting for those looking at how we are hiring in this digital age. Keeping these results in mind, employers need to look at evolving their hiring processes and graduates may need to be more targeted at how they approach the opportunities they take before joining the workforce.

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The odds of finding a job are improving, but are still stacked against job s...

Sent to you by Steve Sherlock via Google Reader:

via Economic Policy Institute - Feed by Heidi Shierholz on 5/8/12

Today's release of the March Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) from the Bureau of Labor Statistics was mixed. Job openings increased by 172,000 in March. In combination with the drop in unemployment of 133,000 in March, this means that the "job seekers ratio"—the ratio of unemployed workers to job openings—declined moderately to 3.4-to-1. However, as the figure shows, it is still well above the highest point it reached during the early 2000s downturn, which was 2.9-to-1. Though there has been steady improvement in the last two-and-a-half years in the odds of finding a job, the odds are still stacked against job seekers. Furthermore, there is no major sector in which the odds for job seekers are strong. The number of unemployed workers outnumbers job openings across the board, underscoring that the main issue in the labor market is a broad-based lack of demand for workers, not workers being in the wrong sectors or having the wrong skills.
MORE: Sort through updated graphs using data from today's report

The increased job openings did not translate into increased hires in March, as hires dropped slightly by 88,000 as compared with the previous month. Looking at the data over time, however, hires nevertheless are on a slow upward climb, up 18.4 percent since the official start of the recovery in June 2009. But hiring still has a long way to go before it is back to healthy levels. For example, hiring is still 16.1 percent below its 2007 average.
Voluntary quits increased slightly by 75,000 in March (higher levels of voluntary quits are good news, since they are a signal that workers feel more confident about outside job opportunities).  Voluntary quits are also on a general upward climb, having increased 22.7 percent since June 2009. However, they too have a long way to go; voluntary quits are still 25.6 percent below their 2007 average. For a discussion of how the low level of voluntary quits signifies a lack of advancement opportunities for young workers in particular, see pages 12–14 of "The Class of 2012:  Labor market for young graduates remains grim."
With research assistance from Natalie Sabadish and Hilary Wething

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Thursday, May 3, 2012

Self-Employment Options for those in Career Transition

Hello Everyone,

The agenda for this Friday's Hopkinton Networkers Group (HNG) meeting will be featured by our speakers, Suzanne Gray and Jack Speranza. The facilitator for this week will be Ralph Sabatino. We will devote the first hour, from 10 to 11 AM to the following agenda: Welcome, Landings, Announcements, New Member Intros, and Needs & Leads. Please arrive early, so we can make every effort to start on time. In the second hour, Suzanne and Jack will speak about self-employment as a career option

Speaker Topic: "Self-Employment Options for those in Career Transition."

Suzanne and Jack will speak about "Self-Employment Options for those in Career Transition." If you are considering self-employment as an option, they will cover the wide variety of options available, key considerations people should make to reach the right decision, and highlight a few traps for the unwary who elect to proceed down this path.

About Suzanne Gray and Jack Speranza
Suzanne joined The Entrepreneur├ó€™s Source (TES) as a career coach specializing in self employment in late 2005. She facilitates seminars geared toward transitioning professionals at outplacement service organizations, networking groups and career centers. She was recognized for her Outstanding Leadership Award from TES in 20111. Suzanne is a past Board Member of the Association of Career Professionals, New England. Suzanne has helped hundreds of people find their path.

Suzanne co-facilitates Career Transitions of Greater Boston a weekly workshop in Burlington, MA.
Prior to joining The Entrepreneur's Source she was in the property and casualty insurance industry for 20 years; in management and business development roles.

Suzanne is a member of the Fitzwilliam, NH Planning Board and Economic Development Committee. Suzanne may be reached at (603) 585-3110 or sgray@...

Jack Speranza, small business owner, attorney & technology geek, specializes in helping business owners grow something from nothing. Jack loves a good story, and delights in helping others create theirs. Find out more about Jack at

General Information:
The networking group meets in Hopkinton, at St. John the Evangelist Church parish hall. The meeting occurs, from 10 to 12 noon, and will meet the first and third Friday of the month. The parish hall has a capacity for 250 people and there is plenty of parking spaces in the parking lot and on the street. Around the perimeter of the parish hall are rooms to allow us to have focused network groups or for any other purpose we need. We chose the first and third Friday to allow everyone to attend the Acton Networking Group or any other networking group, if they wanted, on the Friday we do not meet.

We will maintain our close affiliation with Acton Networkers by using the same list-server to share information between the groups. Any e-mails specific to the Hopkinton Networking Group (HNG) will be indicated in the subject line either by "Hopkinton Networking Group" or "HNG"; this way anyone attending these meetings will know the e-mail is intended for them.

We will follow the following agenda items:
Landings (with doughnuts)
New member introductions
Needs and Leads
Speaker(s), Workshop, or Focus Group

For those new members who give their introductions, this is what we would like to know:
Skills and Value Statement
Where have you been?
Where are you going?
Your title
Your target companies
Geography of search
Name and e-mail address

If anyone wants to join our team, please let one of us know; we could always use the extra help and input for ideas.

Take Rt. 495 North/South and get off Exit 21A. Go through three traffic lights. Colella's Supermarket is on the right at the third traffic light. The first street after the third traffic light is Church Street , take a right turn. The church is on the right. Go around to the left of the parking lot and go into the side entrance of the parish hall.

Depending upon where you live, perhaps you may want to use Mapquest for a more direct route. The address of the church is:
St. John the Evangelist
20 Church Street
Hopkinton, MA 01748

Hopkinton Networkers Group (HNG) Coordinators:
Sandra Cipriani sandraopps@...
Barbara McKee barb6635@...
Ralph Sabatino ralphsabatino@...
Mark Sullivan
Salpi Sarafian ssarafian@...
Vincent Rocheleau vrocheleau@...
Gil Krispien g.krispien@...