March 25, 2021 – The Labor Department reported this morning that 684,000 Americans filed new claims for state unemployment benefits. This marks the first time the number has fallen below 700,000 since the COVID-19 pandemic began just over a year ago. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg expected 735,000 filings. The reading also lands below the previous week’s revised total of 781,000. Before the virus flattened the U.S. economy last spring, applications for unemployment aid had never topped 700,000 in any week, even during the Great Recession. The Fed have now reported over 80 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 last February, the United States has lost over 10 million jobs.
“With the increased pace of COVID-19 vaccinations, federal stimulus spending and winter’s grip easing across much of the country, it is quite reasonable to harbor upbeat expectations for the U.S. economy,” Mark Hamrick, senior economist analyst at Bankrate, wrote in a note. This should be reflected in more of the economic data in the months ahead, he added. “There are fewer people that are losing their jobs,” Ben Ayers, senior economist at Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co, told the Wall Street Journal. “That’s a great sign that things are starting to pick up again for the economy.”
During the week, 51 states reported 7,735,491 continued weekly claims for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance benefits and 51 states reported 5,551,215 continued claims for Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation benefits. The highest insured unemployment rates were in Pennsylvania (5.8), the Virgin Islands (5.6), Nevada (5.4), Alaska (5.3), New York (4.9), Connecticut (4.8), Illinois (4.3), Rhode Island (4.3), Massachusetts (4.1), and New Mexico (4.1). The largest increases in initial claims were in Texas (+24,492), Illinois (+13,692), Indiana (+4,728), Alabama (+2,914), and Massachusetts (+2,560), while the largest decreases were in Ohio (-12,987), West Virginia (-3,321), South Carolina (-2,711), Mississippi (-2,117), and New York (-935).
Search Experts Weight In
Since the late 1990s, Haddonfield, NJ-based executive recruitment firm True Search has refined the executive search process with a blend of data-centric insights, relationship-building and experience to produce a methodology that consistently improves hiring decisions and accelerates growth. True Search is a subsidiary of True Talent Advisory, a global portfolio of human capital services and products for high-growth tech and tech-enabled organizations.
The firm’s co-CEOs, Brad Stadler and Joe Riggione, recently sat down with Hunt Scanlon Media to discuss the pandemic, hiring, and how their firm has adjusted to working with clients and candidates during these difficult times. Following are excerpts from that discussion.
Brad, what are you seeing right now for your business?
Stadler: Growth has already returned for True. Our business has experienced revenue and headcount growth for the last nine months – each month performing better than the one before. That growth was sufficient for us to record nine percent growth in all of 2020, more than wiping out any pressure applied by early-COVID impact. Therefore, we are not waiting for growth to ‘return.’ Our early roots are in the technology sector, which has continued to thrive despite the market conditions. Venture capital and private equity firms have continued to increase the amount they raise annually and subsequently put those dollars to work even as sectors outside of technology were grinding to a halt. Further, public market activity, through traditional IPOs and SPACs, has also been vibrant. Therefore, an increase in capital expenditures and hiring is happening now.
Brad Stadler is co-CEO and founder of True. In this role he sets the firm’s strategic direction and oversees the management of its subsidiary brands. Mr. Stadler brings more than 15 years of experience to select board and CEO searches for growth stage technology businesses.
Joe, what are some of the challenges you’re seeing right now?
Riggione: Hiring appears to be outpacing the realization of revenue growth, which means companies are investing in talent ahead of growth. As a result, the executive level candidates we work with are seeing more opportunities than ever. So, our real challenge has not been trying to determine when spending for talent will resume, but rather how we help candidates and clients navigate through a competitive environment where everything occurs virtually.
Joe Riggione is co-CEO and founder of True. He is responsible for setting the firm’s strategic direction and overseeing the management of its subsidiary brands. He also takes on a select number of search engagements for venture capital and private equity investment professionals. Mr. Riggione is a serial entrepreneur with more than 17 years in the search industry.
Brad, how has your firm adjusted – and are those adjustments are here to stay?
Stadler: First, we’re helping both candidates and clients use leadership assessments to better gauge culture and relationship dynamics before the hiring decision is made. In a remote-first environment, this has played a key role in setting up leaders and companies for success. Second, we have an onboarding product that helps ease the difficulty of a new executive joining a company where they have gone through an entire hiring process without ever physically meeting a member of the management team. In our view, the risk of a hire not being successful is higher in a virtual environment, so we need tools to mitigate that concern.
Joe, are you scaling differently now vs before the pandemic?
Riggione: We continue to use Thrive which allows us to use instantaneous collaboration technology to serve our clients. Our clients have real-time access to our progress, which allows a search to move at the speed the client needs to keep up with the changing world. Most importantly, we strongly believe that every client should have access to a diverse slate of candidates. For this to happen, every firm needs to change their approach to recruitment. We launched AboveBoard to give executives visibility into the searches we’re running and empower them to express interest in opportunities. AboveBoard is also a scaled solution to the lack of diversity at the leadership level and helps clients solve this critical need. We’ve invested heavily in all of these efforts because we believe strongly that all of these trends are here to stay.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media