Recruiting Blog

Companies Filling Technical Or Engineering Jobs In Trouble

292,000 new jobs created last month according to the Labor Department. In particular, Engineering and technical recruiting remain strong

The monthly Labor Department report released on Friday confirms our engineering recruiters’ findings over the past 8 months. Their figures showed 292,000 net new jobs created in December and an unemployment rate remaining steady at 5%. This is consistent with our surveys of employment opportunities among engineering candidates, other engineering staffing firms and engineering recruiters within client companies. All have pointed to increased engineering and technology job openings.

Technical and engineering vacancies are on the rise. Increased demand on R&D (Research & Development), engineering, technical and scientific aspects of all products, processes, operations and projects, has resulted in a new technical or engineering job advertisement posted every minute! This has put the technical or engineering candidate in the driver’s seat with more technical and engineering vacancies than good candidates.

The implication to companies looking to recruit engineering and technical talent is you need to take extraordinary steps to fill job vacancies. This is the case because both: a) the official unemployment rate is at its lowest level since April 2008 and b) the unofficial engineering unemployment rate is near zero!

For more details on the engineering market, please go to our engineering recruitment information page.

Above Economist’s Expectations

Many economists expected payrolls to rise by 210,000. For example, Beth Ann Bovino, economist at Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services, said, “The jobs figures stand in sharp contrast to the negative economic news emanating from China. People are finding jobs and getting paid more for them.”

Labor Department Revisions Show Even More Jobs

Moreover, Labor Department revisions showed additional jobs creation. For example, 50,000 more jobs created in October and November than previously estimated. November’s payroll gain of 252,000 was revised from an initially reported 211,000. October’s gain was raised to 307,000 from a previously estimated 298,000. This resulted in the fourth quarter being the best three-month stretch of job creation in 2015.

For all of 2015, the economy added an average of 221,000 jobs a month. That’s a slowdown from the 260,000 averaged in 2014, but still the second-best year for job creation since 1999.

Most of U.S. employment gains last year occurred in private service industries. Those jobs, including positions in health care, retail and professional services, tend to be more shielded from international pressures like the problems in China.

Jobs Creation Was Wide Spread

Professional and business services led last month’s job creation, adding 73,000 jobs. Construction jobs increased for the third straight month with 45,000 and also rose by 263,000 for all of 2015. Employment also grew in health care, food services and drinking places and on all levels of government. Retailers added a seasonally adjusted 4,300 jobs, a slowdown from November’s gain of 32,000.

Mining and Manufacturing Were Hurt

Inexpensive energy continues to hurt the U.S. mining industry, which lost another 8,000 in December and the industry has posted job losses every month since December 2014. The mining industry, including support services, shed nearly 130,000 jobs last year.

Manufacturing, a sector feeling the brunt of an export slowdown tied to a stronger dollar, added 35,000 jobs during 2015 after adding more than 200,000 in 2014.

The labor force expanded in December. The labor-force participation rate rose 62.6% last month from 62.5% in November, though it remains near a 40-year low. An expanding labor force could suggest that the unemployment rate’s decline this year is prompting some Americans on the sidelines to search for jobs.

Unfortunately, Macro Level Unemployment Remains at 9.9%

Unlike the engineering and technology fields our technical recruitment firm covers, the broader job market was not as rosy. If you include Americans stuck in part-time jobs or too discouraged to look for work stayed at 9.9% in December. This 15,700,000 figure includes: a) 7,900,000 unemployed (as reported by the Labor Department) b) 1,800,000 who have given up looking and are not counted and c) 6,000,000 who are involuntarily working part-time when they want to find a full time job.

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3 Comments

Gordon Dymowski

January 18, 2016 at 8:25 am

I caught your appearance on WGN Radio last week, and thought you did an exceptional job. As someone who works freelance – and who has been engaged with the job market – I found many of your comments insightful.

Unfortunately, I happen to agree about the inaccuracy of current employment numbers – there is an increasing number of people (like myself) who are either forming their own business, or who are “underemployed” (working part time/freelance/etc). As long as these individuals are not counted, we will always have a gap in terms of perceived vs actual employment.

George D.

January 18, 2016 at 9:04 pm

An excellent, clear and concise breakdown of the employment figures.
Well done Scott,
~GeoD

J. Wicke

January 22, 2016 at 10:46 pm

A good job of trying to read between the lines of official numbers on unemployment. And thanks for the excellent tips on resume preparation. I’ll be back to your blog in the future – a lot of useful information here.

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