Jobless Claims Fall for Fourth Straight Week

With more states and cities lifting restrictive business measures amid a decline in the number of coronavirus cases, the jobs economy continues to show slow signs of improvement. This morning we get the Canadian perspective as Gillian Tessis weighs in!

May 27, 2021 – The Labor Department reported that 406,000 Americans filed new claims for state unemployment benefits. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones expected 425,000 new jobless claims. This is the lowest level for initial claims since March 14, 2020 when it was 256,000. The 4-week moving average was 458,750, a decrease of 46,000 from the previous week’s unrevised average of 504,750. This is the lowest level for this average since March 14, 2020 when it was 225,500. Despite falling new jobless claims, almost 16 million Americans were still on some form of government assistance through all unemployment programs as of early May.

“More lifting of COVID-19 restrictions by governments and businesses, coupled with further progress on vaccinations, are helping to propel more mobility and spending on the part of consumers,” Mark Hamrick, senior economic analyst at Bankrate, told Yahoo Finance. “In turn, businesses are doing what they can to position their labor and other resources to meet demand. As is widely understood now, some employers are struggling to hire all of the workers they want for a multitude of reasons.”

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During the week, 51 states reported 6,515,657 continued weekly claims for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance benefits and 51 states reported 5,191,642 continued claims for Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation benefits. The highest insured unemployment rates in the week were in Nevada (5.7), Connecticut (4.5), Rhode Island (4.5), Alaska (4.3), Puerto Rico (4.3), California (3.9), New York (3.9), Pennsylvania (3.9), Illinois (3.7), and Vermont (3.6). The largest increases in initial claims for the week were in New Jersey (+4,812), Washington (+3,023), Minnesota (+1,806), West Virginia (+907), and Rhode Island (+792), while the largest decreases were in Georgia (-7,392), Kentucky (-7,123), Texas (-3,881), Michigan (-3,560), and Florida (-2,994).

A View From Canada

Gillian Tessis is founder and managing partner of Gillian Tessis Executive Search. Based in Toronto, the firm is a legal and senior executive search consultancy. Ms. Tessis brings 20 years of in-depth legal and executive recruiting experience and has led complex searches across a broad spectrum of industries and functional areas in Canada and the U.S. A lawyer by background, she has completed a number of legal, and compliance, privacy and regulatory searches for law firms and across a variety of industries including financial services, insurance, consumer goods, retail, manufacturing, technology and professional services.

Ms. Tessis recently sat down with Hunt Scanlon Media to discuss the pandemic, hiring, and how her firm has adjusted to working with clients and candidates during the post pandemic era. Following are excerpts from that discussion.

Gillian Tessis

Gillian. many business leaders are optimistic about a return to normalcy by summer. Your thoughts?

I have definitely seen a significant increase in search activity since the beginning of 2021.This has been particularly true amongst my clients in the professional services industry whose businesses are busier than ever and they need to hire additional leaders to keep up with their own client demands. In Canada, while the vaccine rollout had a staggered start, it has now picked up speed and traction and this is contributing to increased optimism amongst business leaders.

How are things looking in Canada? 

Things are looking a lot brighter in Canada than they did a year ago and my clients have been much more optimistic about their business outlooks. Most of my clients are now working on their “return to office” strategy and plans for the fall which for many includes a “hybrid” arrangement where employees will have the flexibility to work in the office for part of the week as well as remotely.

In Canada, while the vaccine rollout had a staggered start, it has now picked up speed and traction and this is contributing to increased optimism amongst business leaders.”

What are some of the challenges you’re seeing right now?  

As the demand for top senior talent has significantly increased, candidates are being approached on multiple roles and in many cases, receiving multiple offers and/or counter offers from their existing organizations. While these challenges are not necessarily new, it is only recently that I am seeing this development play out on many more assignments. As executive search partners, it’s imperative that we stay very close to our candidates and understand whether or not they are involved in multiple processes and what will ultimately be the key motivators if it comes down to choosing between two offers. Also, more so than ever, we need to have strong shortlists so that our clients have multiple options should they not be able to attract their “first choice.”

Has your firm adjusted in how it serves clients?

My firm was founded on providing clients with high end, high touch, results driven service and we have never wavered from this. During the past year, there has been a lot of discussion regarding working from home and the challenges of being at the whim of your clients. This has not been an issue for us as we understand the sense of urgency on all of our mandates and given our boutique structure, we have the ability to pivot in real time and be flexible to evolving requirements. We continue to serve our clients with a rigorous and methodical approach and thorough due diligence to ensure no stone is left unturned as we pursue the most relevant and qualified candidates.

Related: Executive Search Firms Adapting to the New Normal

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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