How Bad Is The Job Market?

august jobs report

There's just no getting around the bad news: August was a disappointing month for job seekers. The Labor Department reported that fewer than 100,000 jobs were created during the month, frustrating many job seekers who are worried that it may take even longer to find work.

But it may not be all doom and gloom. A survey released Thursday by the Society for Human Resource Management suggests that hiring this month may improve. SHRM is forecasting "modest hiring gains" in September, based on the responses it received from 1,000 service-sector companies and manufacturers.


Highlights from SHRM's report show:

  • In the manufacturing sector, 49.2 percent of hiring managers said that their employers plan to hire workers while 8.4 percent will cut jobs.
  • In the service sector, 31.8 percent of companies expect to hire, while 7 percent will trim payrolls.

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Though the report shows a positive trend, SHRM cautioned that the labor market still has "a way to go before a long-term pattern of strong, monthly hiring increases is reality."

Further, last month's loss in manufacturing jobs is worrying Peter Cappelli, director of the Wharton School's Center for Human Resources. Once the bright spot in the nation's economic recovery, manufacturers cut 15,000 jobs last month, the first decline since last September.

"[Manufacturing] is where we were hoping there would be robust improvement," Cappelli said, citing demand spurred by the weak dollar, which makes U.S. goods cheaper overseas.

Though August's numbers were "surprisingly negative," Cappelli agrees that last month's weak hiring may indeed result in a pick up in hiring in September "now that we're sort of more into the traditional part of the hiring cycle."

For anxious job seekers, Cappelli offers these bits of advice:

  • Keep your chin up: If you didn't get a job in August, it's probably not your fault, since it appears employers really weren't hiring much anyway.
  • Double down on your search: Reduced hiring last month suggests that many employers may have pushed their hiring plans into September. So, don't give up. Freshen up your resume and keep applying.

Unemployed workers looking for more evidence of a pickup in hiring this month might take some inspiration from The Hired Guns, a New York City-based employment agency focused on the high tech and creative fields.

Via Twitter on Friday, the firm said that it expects hiring in September "will be strong based on the brisk biz we've been seeing."

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