On April 1, 2016, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that employment was up by 215,000 new jobs for the month of March. Unemployment, which was at 5 percent, experienced little change from February. The Wall Street Journal had predicted results that were nearly identical, so there was little surprise among economists.
The biggest employment increases were found in retail trade, construction, and healthcare. But the increases were slower than in February. Some industries, such as manufacturing and mining, saw a decline in employment. According to WSJ's Anna Louie Sussman, job growth commonly slows down at this point into an economic recovery.
Many Jobs Held Their Own
Although growth wasn't as fast-paced as it had been in previous months, many jobs improved steadily in March. Retail trade ranked highest, adding 48,000 jobs. Construction and health care were even with 37,000 new jobs each, and food service increased by 25,000 new jobs. Even with the uptick in those industries, the job market as a whole was still "little changed since August," according to the BLS report.
Growth declined for a few industries, too. Among those, the ones with the most noteworthy downward trends in employment and available job postings were manufacturing, with a 29,000 decrease and mining, which declined by 12,000 jobs.
Online Job Posting Volume Declined
While the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported an overall increase in jobs, the volume of online job postings went down in March. That's according to the Conference Board, which goes on to explain that there was a decrease of 31,500 online job postings, bringing the total to 5,130,500.
The supply/demand rate for March was 1.51 unemployed people for every available job, according to the Conference Board. That pattern has stayed relatively the same for the past year. But the number of unemployed people might not accurately reflect competition for available jobs.
Sandeep Gill, CFO of RealMatch, notes, "There is an interesting contradiction between the BLS March Jobs Report and the Help Wanted Online (HWOL, published by The Conference Board) Index for March. While the March Jobs Report showed 215k new jobs added in March 2016, the HWOL Index showed a decline compared to March 2015 and also to February 2016."
Mr. Gill continues, "One explanation could be that the Conference board data is a leading indicator and that subsequent months will show a commensurate decline in payroll jobs added. While one would hope that the economy stays strong, it is important to remember that the online job ads business can be considered to be ''long volatility'' as newspaper recruitment sections and job boards get paid for new job ads and can be expected to do rather well once companies start rehiring not only for new positions but also for positions that had been previously eliminated."
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics report, some 585,000 people who were unemployed were "not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for them." The qualified candidates among those who think there's no available work could be a brand new challenge for recruiters, but also a brand new resource for talent to fill job vacancies.
The U.S. job market keeps improving, even if it's now at a slow and steady pace. Unemployment is holding steady for both men and women, and many industries continue adding new jobs each month in 2016. That's good news for employers and job candidates.
Something for recruiters to home in on, however, is the volume of unemployed people who don't look for work because they believe that no work is available. That group of displaced workers could be a brand new challenge, but also a brand new resource. Using real-time, programmatic candidate matching to reach them where they spend time, which is overwhelmingly through a mobile device, could be the transforming key to tapping into a true passive market.