Continued Jobless Claims Make Full Jobs Recovery a Distant Aim

This morning’s jobs figures continue to portend an unstable and volatile job market as the election continues and the COVID-19 virus moves into a third wave. Let’s take a look at the just released numbers from the Department of Labor as veteran recruiter Chris Hillman of SearchPath of Chicago weighs in!

November 5, 2020 – The Labor Department reported this morning that 751,000 more Americans filed new claims for state unemployment benefits last week. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones had been expecting 741,000. This was the third straight week that claims were below 800,000.

The total reflected a decline of 40,000 from the previous week. The last time the weekly claims total was lower was the 282,000 reported on March 14. The number also reflects the migration of workers who have exhausted their regular benefits and have moved to the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance emergency compensation program. “Overall, the economy appears to be losing a bit of momentum,” Wells Fargo Securities economists including Jay Bryson said in a recent note. “Jobless claims have improved recently but remain elevated.”

“The persistently high level underscores the notion that a full labor-market recovery is a long way off as the pandemic continues to force layoffs,” Bloomberg economist Eliza Winger said in a commentary.

During the week, 51 states reported 9,332,610 individuals claiming Pandemic Unemployment Assistance benefits and 50 states reported 3,961,060 individuals claiming Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation benefits. The highest insured unemployment rates were in Hawaii (11.3), the Virgin Islands (9.6), California (9.5), Nevada (9.2), New Mexico (9.0), Georgia (7.6), Puerto Rico (7.6), District of Columbia (7.1), Massachusetts (6.9), and Louisiana (6.8). The largest increases in initial claims were in Illinois (+6,190), Michigan (+5,442), Massachusetts (+2,483), Minnesota (+1,848), and Connecticut (+1,621), while the largest decreases were in Texas (-10,113), California (-7,700), Florida (-6,528), New York (-3,291), and Louisiana (-3,096).

Top Executive Search Consultant Weighs In

Chris Hillman serves as president of SearchPath of Chicago, a national executive search firm focused on sectors including packaging materials, food ingredients, raw materials (for dietary supplements and sports nutrition), nutraceuticals, biofuels, manufacturing, resins and industrial products. He has 23 years of recruiting experience and has career billings of over $8 million, having conducted some 350 searches. In 2014, Mr. Hillman joined The Pinnacle Society, a consortium of 75 industry-leading recruiters in North America within the direct placement and search industry.

Mr. Hillman recently sat down with Hunt Scanlon Media to discuss how his firm has adjusted to the global pandemic and what impact he sees it having on the recruiting sector.

Chris Hillman
          Chris Hillman

Chris, since the pandemic began how have things changed for your business and how you work with clients?

COVID-19 has not made an impact on our business from an operational perspective. We still have a group of seasoned recruiters who come to the office daily to serve their client companies and candidates. In terms of adopting a different approach, we have simply taken the mindset that companies are not filling roles but are making business decisions with talent who can make an immediate impact on the bottom line. We have tuned up our business development skills and represent only passive and employed talent who can step in and immediately produce results. I am not aware of an executive who would not consider hiring somebody who can pay for themselves five times over within a 12 month period. Another change in the market we have experienced is the importance of video interviews. A strong virtual interview can translate into someone with the understanding and confidence to work in this new, virtual world. It is important that we place talent who can work effectively on a remote basis and are skilled in technology.

“The pandemic will impact executive search in a few key areas going forward . . . Executive recruiters will need to develop better candidate qualification skills to identify a candidate’s ability work remote, use technology, apply self-motivation and drive to contribute to the bottom line.”

What do you see for the job market and search industry for the remainder of the year? 

I am extremely optimistic about the job market for the balance of 2020 and 2021. Since June, we have seen activity pick up every single month. I’ve been recruiting for 23 years and 2020 was actually my best personal year. Many companies need to consider top grading employees to achieve better financial results. As in any economic climate, outstanding talent is hard to identify, attract and deliver. This is where recruiters shine.

What lasting impacts do you think the pandemic will have on executive search?

The pandemic will impact executive search in a few key areas going forward. We will need to qualify sales and sales leadership talent on their ability to pivot to a model of using cadences on LinkedIn and other social media platforms to initiate new interest for their products/services and their ability to convert those contacts to telephone/video presentations. I also believe that marketing will need to play a much larger role in driving leads to a traditional sales team. Executive recruiters will also need to develop better candidate qualification skills to identify a candidate’s ability work remote, use technology, apply self-motivation and drive to contribute to the bottom line.

Related: How C-Level Managers Are Looking for Jobs

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor  – Hunt Scanlon Media

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