The hidden trend in the monthly jobs report --- and what it means for you

On Friday at 8:30 AM, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released the U.S. jobs report for the month of May. Unemployment is high (9.7%) and private sector job growth is weak. On the same day, stocks fell to their 4-month low, with concerns that high unemployment forecasts lower consumer spending. From Wall Street’s perspective, this makes sense. Main Street, however, might have a different interpretation.

The good news (and there is good news) is the positive direction of the trend line. The trajectory of jobs (lost or created) since January 2009 is heading in the right direction.

Looking deeper than the top-level trend line, however, my optimism is tempered with realism. Consider these:

  • Most of the jobs being created are in the category of employment services. There is a far greater use of contingent workers and independent contractors across all levels in organizations.
  • Temporary workers were once an indication of future hiring. Unlike what some prognosticators may say, this time around, the rate of temporary hiring may not be the best indicator of future full-time hires as the economy recovers. Companies are under tremendous global pressure to compete. Salary and benefits can comprise between 20 and 60 percent of a firm’s entire operating budget -- the largest operating expense for most organizations. The difference during this recession is that firms were more strategic in how they eliminated roles. This time they are more likely to bring back skills (as needed), rather than jobs. They are far more strategic about which critical positions they need to have “in-house” and which they can bring in "as needed".

What does this mean for you in the future?

There is a big change on the horizon in the way we should conceive of the concept of jobs – and it is dramatically changing how job security will be created in the future. For many, jobs of the future may be more like multiple income generating activities (or gigs) where we leverage our talents and skills. Job security will no longer be derived from being employed 40 hours/week. Rather, it will be something we create for ourselves when our talents and skills are in demand.

This is a mind shift.

The emphasis of the future will be on the skills you bring, rather than the job you occupy. There will be a far greater focus on self-management of both our skills and our network, two critical components of career success. Possessing more sought-out skills and having a strong network will be related to more income opportunities, whether working for a single organization or as an independent contractor.

Perhaps we need to take a collective deep breath and realize that, while change is afoot, this free agent mentality may also come with some upsides:

  • You will now have tremendous flexibility to plan and grow your own career, no longer relinquishing career management to an employer.
  • You will now have the ability to craft your sources of income across multiple opportunities if this is what you chose to do.
  • You will now have the opportunity to engage in a career that fits with your life – and not vice versa.

Wishing you success and happiness,




Posted via web from AndyWergedal