September 3, 2020 – The Labor Department reported this morning that 881,000 more Americans filed new claims for state unemployment benefits last week. This exceeds analyst expectations and marks the lowest weekly total since the pandemic began. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones had been looking for a total of 950,000. Nevertheless, the latest figures portend an unstable and volatile job market
The Labor Department changed its methodology from one that used seasonal adjustments to account for normal disruptions in the job market that don’t apply as much under current virus-related conditions.
Continuing claims fell sharply, dropping by 1.24 million to 13.254 million. The insured unemployment rate, a basic calculation of those getting benefits against the total labor force, fell by 0.8 percentage points to 9.1 percent.
“The fact remains that these are extremely elevated numbers and that we have to brace for further job loss in the coming weeks and months,” said Mark Hamrick, senior economic analyst at Bankrate.com.
“This is the dark side of the recovery,” Gregory Daco, chief U.S. economist at the forecasting firm Oxford Economics, told The New York Times. More than five months into the pandemic, the number of people filing claims for unemployment benefits every week continues to dwarf previous records.
During the week, 49 states reported 13,570,327 individuals claiming Pandemic Unemployment Assistance benefits and 49 states reported 1,393,314 individuals claiming Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation benefits. The highest insured unemployment rates in the week ending August 15 were in Hawaii (18.6), Nevada (16.4), California (16.3), Puerto Rico (16.1), New York (15.2), Connecticut (14.0), Louisiana (13.3), Georgia (12.6), the Virgin Islands (11.8), District of Columbia (11.7), and Massachusetts (11.7).
The largest increases in initial claims for the week were in California (+6,562), Illinois (+3,856), Pennsylvania (+1,926), Kansas (+1,061), and Rhode Island (+503), while the largest decreases were in Florida (-21,127), Texas (-9,248), New Jersey (-5,235), Virginia (-3,715), and North Carolina (-3,708).
An Inside Look
Cornerstone Search has been a leading partner to many of the fastest growing software / SAAS firms for the past 24 years. The firm’s founder Rich Rosen recently sat down with Hunt Scanlon Media to share his views on the economy and what he sees moving forward.
Rich, since the COVID-19 pandemic began how have things changed for your business and how you work with clients?
As expected, the market quickly slowed once quarantine went into effect. We worked with companies that were in market that benefited from the crisis and were still serious about hiring. We also spent considerable time on customer retention, connecting with our customer and hiring manager that we have done business with for years. Not looking for business per se but letting know we are here to help in anyway, as a sounding board, a resource to send displaced staff to, provide insight on what the market is really doing not the media spin. Then also connected with hundreds and hundreds of candidates to help with resumes, career insight and whatever else we could do to help people through these crazy days. In effort to help these people today and build rapport for tomorrow. We also changed how we worked with clients to really screen clients tighter to make sure they could really hire. The market was full of tire kickers only to kill the deal at offer stage.
“Since July the market has been very hot. I have picked up 15 enterprise executive openings in the past two weeks and already have four in the offer stage.”
What do you see for the job market and search industry for the remainder of the year?
Since July the market has been very hot. I have picked up 15 enterprise executive openings in the past two weeks and already have four in the offer stage. I do think as the election nears the market will get a little choppy. The big issue is finding companies and executives that have real power. I have placed software sales executive for fast growing software companies. Too many companies are looking at sales like an expense and not an investment. It’s been proven time and time again in downturns those with the best sales teams can survive. Companies should use this time to top grade their team. There is top talent quietly looking. Hiring managers should be using this time to improve the team and in doing so their chance at success and career advancement.
What lasting impacts do you think the pandemic will have on executive search?
Recruiters now need to show more empathy than ever before in every form of outreach. I don’t see that going away any time soon. Also, it will usher true adoption of video interviewing. While recruiters will need to sharpen not only their cold calling skills but writing skills. Yes, cold calling is back. Those that rely solely on emails are doomed. During the COVID-19 pandemic I had record low reply rates. While cold calling with arming calls had much greater impact. Everyone is home.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media