Don’t let those wacky numbers whack you.
Almost each time I pick up a newspaper or listen to a report about the economy, it appears as though the story keeps changing. One report says that things are improving while another says that things are getting worse. The most recent report issued from the government indicated that the national unemployment rate fell to 9.4 percent in the month of December, which is the biggest drop in nearly two years.
Good news, right?
Not necessarily, many economists state that the unemployment numbers are convoluted and don’t clearly tell the entire story. These numbers don’t account for those who have seemingly given up looking for a job altogether or reflect those “underemployed;” the people with part-time employment wanting full-time.
Many of these same experts even expressed disappointment because of the total number of new jobs that were added to the picture. Despite the 103,000 jobs that were added this month, they say that this number needs to be at least 150,000 monthly to keep pace with the population growth.
Essentially, this all means that the economy is not demonstrating the kind of improvement it takes in order make a discernible dent in the unemployment picture. Overall, the economy rounded out 2010 with 1.1 million jobs added and job growth is trending upward, albeit very slowly.
The Houston area unemployment rate has trended upwards in recent months at 8.6 percent which continues to remain below the national rate. The local energy sector has added jobs, but is doing so with extreme caution as employers closely monitor their situation after the recent drilling moratorium.
How should all of this impact your job search?
In the world of sports, there is a belief that in order to be the best, you have to be able to tune everything out that is negative around you and only focus on the things that you can control. In most cases, becoming unemployed was due to circumstances that were out of your control. Likewise, you can’t control the elements that currently impact our local, state, and national economic situation. But you can focus on the positive.
As a Business Consultant, I spend quite a bit of my time interacting with employers and discussing our local job situation with chambers of commerce and economic development organizations. I have found that though the business community continues to face daunting challenges they are indicating a belief that the worst might be behind us.
Many staffing firms continue to be inundated with job orders from employers who may not be hiring in droves, but are hiring people on a temp-to-hire basis that might ultimately become permanent job opportunities.
From a practical standpoint, I do believe that it is wise to keep apprised on what is happening around you on the informational front, but I would not allow myself to be consumed by it. Sometimes, too much information can be overwhelming. Remain positive and surround yourself with others who are also willing to extrapolate the positives from the negatives.
Good luck with your job search as we begin the New Year and always remember to keep your head in the game.