Wednesday, February 27, 2008

February is Over, Is the Sky Falling Yet?

After two weeks of being pounded by economic news in the media declaring recession, high energy costs, a housing market in the tank and consumer confidence at the lowest level since the outbreak of the Black Death we were inclined to just throw our hands up in the air, give up, and head for the hills.

But wait, companies in Pittsburgh are still hiring. Our business has not tanked. What is going on? How can we be at deaths door economically and still see a hiring level as good as a year ago and better than two years ago?

While it is true that around the country our economy is in or near recession it appears many areas around the country are not going to suffer the kinds of job losses that were experienced after 9-11. There are many reasons for this as we have mentioned in prior posts.

While it is true business is cyclical and downturns happen it is also true that the constant media barrage of bad news and the ignoring of good news, by themselves, drive consumer moods downward more than most individual circumstances warrant. This is not to discount the pain being felt by those who are losing a home or a job but by historic standards the economic picture, especially in the Pittsburgh metro, is not that bad and the near term prospects remain very good.

The incessant recession talk by major media continues the attempt to drive readership and (ironically) sell more soap by sensational headlines decrying doom and gloom. We wonder where we, as an economy, would be if the paradigm of major media was the opposite, where headlining strong job growth areas, good economic stories (yes, they still exist) and proposed solutions to current problems was the norm while relegating “bad news” to the back (web) pages.

Friday, February 22, 2008 Goes Video, the 10th ranked job board on the Internet and the number one job board for hourly recruitment, will roll out a site redesign on Saturday, February 23rd, that will feature employer and job clip videos to help highlight to job seekers the benefits of job postings they are reading.

“Video is a great example of how we constantly improve the user’s experience on,” said Jack Webber, regional manager at The Employment Guide. “We debuted the original video center in April 2007 and, in less than a year; we have expanded its accessibility. Job seekers gain valuable information about employers through these videos,” Webber added.

To help clients develop the best videos possible, The Employment Guide has partnered with a production company to offer four competitively-priced video packages. The basic Job Clip package includes a professionally-produced video of up to 30 seconds in length containing industry-related stock footage and/or photos, a company logo and script, and on-screen contact information. The premier video package, Custom Video, includes an on-site production crew to capture unique company footage for a completely tailored product.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Will The Pittsburgh Region’s Median Age Help Mitigate This Years Recession?

With Pittsburgh’s job growth anemic (900 jobs added December ’06 to December ’07) and little evidence the pace will pick up soon, what is keeping Pittsburgh’s job market one of the hotter markets in the country? Our definition of “hotter” is the demand local companies have for new qualified employees (replacement workers as well as newly created jobs) compared to what we are seeing in other markets around the country.

The answer lies in the median age of our population, ranked as number 1 or 2 in the country (Allegheny County median age as of 2000 according to the Census Bureau is 39.6 years compared with a national average of 35.3). We are in a situation, even with residents working longer into retirement years, where enough of our population is leaving the job market that it is creating vacancies, or opportunities, for those entering the job market.

So far in 2008 we are seeing job market demand in the hourly arena as good as it has been in the past 6 years. Coupled with a housing market that never boomed with many other parts of the country and therefore is predicted to continue slow growth (2007 home sales were up 8% in the Pittsburgh region) and a commercial construction industry entering a multi year period of high demand we have an opportunity to whether the latest storm as well as any metro in the country.

This isn’t to say there will be no pain. Our economy and many jobs in it, of course, are dependent on demand from outside our region. However the demographics that currently exist here will help keep demand for replacement workers high and possibly at a higher rate than job losses created by the recession nationally.

This could be a harbinger of what the national job market looks like as well. Baby boomers are just now starting to hit retirement age and as the number of retirees increases the demand for replacement workers will grow with it. According to an article in the February 4th edition of Workforce Magazine by Gina Ruiz “Recruiters See Strong Hiring Ahead Despite Recession Talk”. The article goes on the quote Human Resource Managers as saying the outlook for hiring demand remains strong.

Staffing firms, always the leading indicator of a coming rise in unemployment rates, have remained flat across the country over the past year maintaining strong numbers from 2006. "We’re not getting a sense that there is an impending jolt in staffing employment," says Steve Berchem, vice president of the American Staffing Association in Washington. The telltale signs of an impending recession are not there, he notes. "We’re living in a very different world," says Francis Luisi, principal at Charleston Partners, an HR executive recruiting firm in Rumson, New Jersey. Factors such as employers with global vision and the millions of baby boomers reaching retirement age could make the traditional recession-related hiring slump less severe than in past cycles, he explains. "It is simply too early to speculate on what will happen," Luisi says.

Truly a 'Burgh Thing!

Truly a 'Burgh Thing!
by Randy Bish, Pittsburgh Tribune Review

Job News and Information for Job Seekers and Recruiters

Job News and Information for Job Seekers and Recruiters