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What’s the Flip-side of the Unemployment Rate Data?

by | Oct 27, 2020 | Uncategorized

As the fallout from COVID-19 continues, the job market is one place that’s certainly not escaping the setbacks and changes brought from the most unusual of times. Each month our teams have been watching the unemployment rate reports and predictions by a number of sources. This data over the last eight months for each of us at Engage is equal parts exciting and terrifying to follow… the trends of companies hiring, organizations facing large layoffs, unemployment rising and dropping… we live and breathe all things employment.

While the unemployment rates may be published as historically high, what’s on the flip-side of that data?

More to the data

If you think back to mid-March and early April it’s likely you start to feel a little panic re-settle in when it comes to the rate of unemployment across our nation. But today, the good news comes with a falling unemployment rate. Between May and August, 52 percent of lost jobs were recovered. #Winning …But September and October data suggest the revival is slowing. US employment is still 11 million below pre-pandemic level. The unemployment rate dropped to 7.9 percent in September.

As we speak with both hiring companies and eager candidates each week, we’re seeing how circumstantially these unemployment numbers are impacted and why. The truth behind the data comes as no surprise that some of those who are listed as unemployed are not seriously looking for a new position. But why? We’ve broken down our research and conclusions to two main reasons:

  1. Many people counted as unemployed are furloughed and expect to regain their job in due time.
  2. The large unemployment benefits may have a play in reducing the incentive to return to work for many middle-class workers.

As the number of unemployed workers is historically high, the whole story of unemployed candidates seeking jobs may just not be told in the data. There’s more to the story for each individual. For some, they are planning to return to work when their children can return to the classroom. For others, working in a public space with any exposure to COVID-19 is not an option due to the health of a family member living within their home. And lastly, while they may not count in unemployment numbers, we’ve seen both publicly and privately many businesses and organizations share an ever-growing number of employees retiring solely over the health concerns and risk of COVID-19 impacting the bottom line of employed individuals nationwide. After more than 20 years of increases, the labor force participation of the 65+ group seems to have significantly dropped.

The economic future and job market within our country remains unclear as 2021 is just around the corner. Along with the decreasing unemployment stimulus payouts, will job seekers find the needed motivation to take job hunting more seriously? Will those waiting to return to work hustle back to their roles? While it all remains to be seen… one thing is for sure, we will be here to see whatever the future looks like thru.

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