February 11, 2021 – The Labor Department reported this morning that 793,000 more Americans filed new claims for state unemployment benefits. That was above the Dow Jones estimate for 760,000 but a slight decrease from the previous week’s upwardly revised total of 812,00.
The feds have now reported about 77 million initial jobless claims over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic — a number equivalent to roughly 47 percent of the nation’s workforce. Since February, the United States has lost 9.8 million jobs.
The figures continue to far exceed their pre-crisis levels as the resurgent pandemic leads to more stringent business restrictions and raises people’s fears of infection. Vaccine distribution is expected to restore economic activity later this year, but the rollout has been slower than expected and is limiting the speed at which the job market is able to recover. President Biden recently released details of his $1.9 trillion economic relief plan. If approved, it would provide $400 per week in supplementary unemployment benefits through September, aid for state and local governments, and direct payments of $1,400 to individuals.
Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell on Wednesday said the jobs picture remains “a long way” from where it needs to be and said the central bank is committed to keeping interest rates low until substantially more progress happens. “Fully realizing the benefits of a strong labor market will take continued support from both near-term policy and longer-run investments so that all those seeking jobs have the skills and opportunities that will enable them to contribute to, and share in, the benefits of prosperity,” he said
As the pace of vaccinations gains traction and restrictions are lifted, “it is reasonable to expect accelerating hiring gains in the coming months,” Mark Hamrick, senior economic analyst for Bankrate, noting that consumers will be “more enthusiastic, and able to spend, as science is victorious over the pandemic. If and when passed, the [stimulus] package should provide a bridge for those suffering from job or income loss to the later portion of the year when improvement ought to have been seen by then,” Mr. Hamrick told NBC News.
During the week, 50 states reported 8,715,306 continued weekly claims for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance benefits and 50 states reported 4,777,842 continued claims for Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation benefits. The highest insured unemployment rates were in Pennsylvania (6.8), Alaska (6.4), Kansas (6.1), Nevada (6.1), Rhode Island (5.6), Illinois (5.5), Connecticut (5.4), the Virgin Islands (5.4), Massachusetts (5.3), and New Mexico (5.2). The largest increases in initial claims for the week ending January 30 were in California (+51,025), New York (+11,140), Florida (+6,322), Rhode Island (+4,684), and Pennsylvania (+3,844), while the largest decreases were in Illinois (-55,473), Kansas (-7,496), Mississippi (-3,107), Ohio (-2,181), and New Jersey (-2,156).
Veteran Search Consultant Weighs In
Tiffany Pham is the CEO of Mogul, an executive search firm and recruitment platform for diverse talent worldwide. The firm partners with the Fortune 1000 and fast-growing startups to recruit diverse leaders, including Amazon, Intuit, IBM, Nike, Hearst, Stanley Black & Decker, McKinsey & Company, Intel, T-Mobile, MasterCard, Marsh & McLennan, and more.
Ms. Pham recently sat down with Hunt Scanlon Media to discuss the pandemic, hiring, and to forecast her expectations for 2021. Following are excerpts from that discussion.
Tiffany, what are some new strategies your firm has deployed to weather the effects of COVID on business?
During the first few months of COVID-19, we worked to provide our clients and community with the resources and support they desperately needed during an extremely uncertain time. Many of our clients found it challenging to transition all hiring processes to virtual, so we wanted to make sure we were not only supplying talent but also supporting them in processing the talent in their pipelines with sessions on the best practices for companies to create authentic engagement with candidates, and conducted webinars on topics like the importance of tech within executive recruitment. Additionally, we focused on building robust hiring pipelines to ensure our clients had a continuous supply of talent. We focused on nurturing talent and understanding the talents’ interests and passions to make the best-fit match for both talent and client. At Mogul, we pride ourselves on being an agile team, so our strategy was to make sure we uncovered our clients’ talent needs/shortages and devised plans catered specifically to ensure their continued success. We cater to all industries but we switched to a more specialized structure which allowed us to focus on essential industries to ensure we were helping our clients meet their unexpected increase in demand.
What are some obstacles that CHROs and senior leaders facing today?
2020 brought the challenges of systemic oppression and racial injustices in our society to front and center. CHROs and senior leaders are now rethinking how to hire to create diverse teams and amplify existing diversity efforts. And now with the NASDAQ diversity mandate and California passing Bill SB 979, more companies are facing deadlines to increase diversity in their workforce — a challenge that many lack the appropriate tools, resources, and channels to solve alone. Many executives now understand the value of diverse leadership teams, but there is a considerable gap between diverse talent at the manager level vs. diverse talent at the leadership and board-ready talent. Diverse leadership teams aren’t just the right business decision, they also make a strong impact by inspiring a workforce and creating an inclusive culture because everyone feels they are represented. To further provide support to our clients’ needs, we developed an innovative recruiting tool for CHROs and recruiting professionals that accelerates sourcing to provide a fully diverse representative slate of candidates. Our tool has access to 430 million talent profiles, and features patent-pending diversity and gender filters that expedites the hiring process at scale.
“CHROs and senior leaders are now rethinking how to hire to create diverse teams and amplify existing diversity efforts.”
What have you seen being done to overcome these obstacles?
A big obstacle facing companies in need of increasing diversity in their pipelines is the major flaw that plagues our overall system. Roughly 90 percent of leadership positions happen through networking. The problem is networks currently comprise, on average, 85 percent Caucasian and male. To allow diverse candidates to enter the pipeline, we need to approach the way we source, review, and interview candidates differently. CHROs and senior leaders are now also tasked with changing the structure of their organization. Thus, it can be challenging to find top, diverse leaders when they don’t represent a large enough candidate pool. We believe that in order for organizations to optimally hire in today’s digital-first corporate environment, they need to continue partnering with companies like Mogul who specialize in building high-performing diverse teams. We collaborate with our partners on role specifications and prioritize competencies and experiences. We then rapidly identify top prospects and provide extensive candidate evaluations and prepare full reports including 360 qualitative and quantitative assessments. Finally, we provide full support for decision making and throughout the integration.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media