BLS Data: Experts Weigh in on the May Jobs Report

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has spoken and unemployment for the month of May remains unchanged at 3.6%. However, the most recent report has experts saying the numbers are “below expectations.” Could this be the beginning of the end for the candidate-driven market?


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In a press release, the BLS announced the latest findings, saying:

“Total nonfarm payroll employment edged up in May (+75,000), and the unemployment rate remained at 3.6 percent… Employment continued to trend up in professional and business services and in health care.”

Data by Industry

The BLS also reports that monthly job gains have averaged 164,000 in 2019, compared with an average gain of 223,000 per month in 2018. In May, employment continued to trend up in professional and business services and in health care.
Employment in professional and business services continued to trend up over the month (+33,000) and has increased by 498,000 over the past 12 months. For the healthcare industry, employment has continued its upward trend in May (+16,000); the industry has added 391,000 jobs over the past 12 months.
Additionally, construction employment changed little in May (+4,000), following an increase of 30,000 in April. The industry has added 215,000 jobs over the past 12 months.
The BLS data also shows that employment showed little change in May in other major industries, including mining, manufacturing, wholesale trade, retail trade, transportation and warehousing, information, financial activities, leisure and hospitality, and government.

Wages Continue to Increase

While the number of jobs that were added in May isn’t as high as anticipated, the average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased by 6 cents to $27.83.
The BLS reports that year over year, average hourly earnings have increased by 3.1%. Average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees increased by 7 cents to $23.38 in May.

Experts Weigh in, Offer Advice

The latest BLS report may show a decline, compared to previous months, but that doesn’t mean the hiring outlook is any different. Instead, recruiters, hiring managers, and employers must get creative in how they source and attract top talent.
“While we’ve seen a slowdown in hiring, prospects remain positive for job seekers, regardless of someone’s resume or background: 59% of employers are willing to hire candidates who may not be fully qualified, with plans to train them on the job, and a growing number of hiring managers are no longer looking at college degrees as indicators of whether or not to hire a candidate,” says Irina Novoselsky, CEO of CareerBuilder—in an e-mail to Recruiting Daily Advisor.
Novoselsky points to a recent CareerBuilder survey, that found 50% of HR managers have open positions they cannot fill due to a lack of qualified applicants. “Employers are increasingly using data- and technology-driven HR capabilities to find strong talent in unexpected places,” she adds.
“For example, if an employer is looking to recruit a prison guard, would she realize a veterinary tech would have the right skills for that role? Surprisingly, it turns out that a vet tech is a close fit candidate with the right transferable skills to support this very different role,” says Novoselsky. “Finding talent in unexpected places is a unique approach that is only possible thanks to new data-driven AI solutions.”
“The May BLS Jobs Report revealed the unemployment rate is staying at a steady low of 3.6 percent. This, along with the talent shortages across the U.S., call for companies and employers to look to foreign national talent to fill their job openings,” says Richard Burke, CEO of Envoy Global.  “More so, according to our recent Immigration Trends Report, 95 percent of employers said that sourcing foreign talent is important to their talent acquisition strategies – proving that foreign national talent is ultimately helping the growth of their companies.”
Burke also offers this advice: “For employers that are looking to attract foreign national talent and employers that have a high count of foreign national talent already, a combination of top-flight lawyering augmented by powerful technology is the key to success.”
While we’re on the topic of different types of candidate pools, Kurt Heikkinen, CEO of Montage and ShakerInternational, suggests looking into recent college graduates. “With the wave of new graduates looking to enter the workforce this summer, recruiters will want to keep a few things in mind,” he says. “The low unemployment rate means candidates won’t be searching far and wide for job openings. In fact, they’ll likely limit their searches to opportunities that align very specifically with their interests – meaning they’ll rule out job descriptions that are too broad or vague.”
“Additionally, with Gen Z making up most of the new graduate population, recruiters will find that these candidates seek an easy, fast and transparent recruiting process,” Heikkinen adds. He also offers this advice to employers:

“For employers looking to get ahead of competitors by attracting the best talent, be sure to have the right recruiting processes and technologies in place so candidates are in-tune with their application status at all times. Since most of these candidates live on their phones, it’s a good idea for recruiters to incorporate recruiting technology such as text recruiting and automated scheduling to meet these candidates where they’re at. Additionally, to ensure your open job positions aren’t being cast out, make sure job descriptions are detailed with specifics of the position and that outline how candidates can grow in their career and skill set.”

Bob Lopes, President of Randstad Sourceright in North America, agrees that the hiring landscape is indeed challenging for many employers, but he offers a different approach. “Employers that may be hesitant to hire full-time workers have maintained, and even increased, revenue by onboarding temporary workers,” suggests Lopes. “Incorporating part-time or contract workers can help businesses endure market fluctuations and remain more agile as business needs change.”
While the low unemployment rate is nothing new, one thing remains clear: employers everywhere must adopt new recruiting practices in order to stand out among the competition. By utilizing technology, looking into different types of candidate pools, and offering workers the benefits and perks they want, you’ll be filling vacant roles in no time.

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