October 2014 Labor Report: More Good News

November 13, 2014 | Leave a Comment By Gary Pollard

Job Market Shows Moderate Improvements Across Many Measures

Hard to Complain

The October BLS Employment Situation Release was no blockbuster. The 214,000 new jobs created by the U.S. economy was on the low side of expectations. That said, this report was positive and well-rounded in a variety of ways:

  • Unemployment declined to 5.8%
  • Participation rate was up slightly, showing job gains were real
  • Employment estimates for August and September were raised a combined 31,000
  • Average work week increased
  • Workers were better able to find full-time jobs

The job market is still not fully recovered from recession, but the gains reflected in the October job numbers give further evidence of long-term, gradual improvement of the employment picture. Continue reading

Visibility, Control, Strategy… In That Order!

November 11, 2014 | Leave a Comment By Michael Matherly

“FIRE, READY, AIM!”

Isn’t this so true of how people often approach business problems? Most of us have no shortage of good examples where well-intentioned efforts to solve a problem in a hurry before fully understanding the root problem just made things worse (or at least delayed the desired outcome). Often this is a symptom of panic in the light of inexperience, combined with the strong instincts most business leaders have to “fix the problem.”

The spend management equivalent to this phenomenon is “strategy, control, visibility.” Having been on the procurement side of an unsegmented, out-of-control spend category, I appreciate that there is a tendency to want to be strategically minded right out of the gate. Only one problem: like firing blindly into the air, setting strategies too soon has little chance of hitting the target. I myself (early in my career, mind you) have made the mistake of putting strategy before visibility and control and paid the price: wasted time and effort, frustrated business managers and suppliers, and anemic compliance and adaption. I can still feel the bruises!

IN POKER THEY CALL IT A “TELL”

I like to think I am a little wiser now than when I entered the sourcing and procurement space 15+ years ago. So today, when I am asked for guidance on how to quickly or easily identify spend management opportunities or how to assess an organization’s readiness for program expansion (i.e. from temporary labor into SOW-based services) my first response is “what questions do you have?” And I mean that literally.

The type of spend or vendor-related questions being asked in an organization is the tell (a behavior, manner of speaking or words used that gives clues to the underlying condition). To demonstrate this point, look at these two different sets of questions: Continue reading

Introducing ResourceIQ

October 13, 2014 | Leave a Comment By Brian Hoffmeyer

By now, if you follow this blog or any other web site that deals with contingent labor or other staffing-related topics, you’ve heard of the War for Talent (as an aside, it’s important to note that the use of the preposition “for” is quite important here as a War ON Talent is a different thing entirely and more appropriately discussed in another forum!). I also bet that you understand that, if you’re in a position responsible for ensuring that your organization gets “the right butts in the right seats at the right time, cost, and quality,” the War for Talent means that you need to employ a wide variety of techniques to achieve success and win the war.

Continue reading

September 2014 Labor Report: Strong Results after Weak August

October 6, 2014 | Leave a Comment By Gary Pollard

Contingent Bill Rates are Steady Despite Record Temp Employment

Unemployment drops below 6%

The September BLS Employment Situation Release was welcomed with relief for its marked improvement over the weak August report. Posting 248,000 new jobs, the September results helped drive the unemployment rate to 5.9%, the first time that measure has been less than 6% since July 2008. The pronounced upward revision of new job estimates for July and August by 31,000 and 39,000, respectively was also encouraging.

However, the news wasn’t all good. The percentage of the US working age population participating in the workforce fell to 62.7%, a low level not seen since 1977. The unemployment rate fell both because net new jobs were created, but also because the number of people dropping out of the workforce continues to grow.

The average work week was up 0.1 hours to 34.6 hours, while private sector average wages dropped a penny to $24.53.

New Jobs Created in Diverse Industry Segments

Employment grew across many different industries, led by Professional & Business Services (which includes Temp Services). The return to school can be seen in the Education & Health growth. The Hospitality and Health segments remained strong, while Manufacturing was notably subdued. The public sector contributed 12,000 net new jobs, continuing a late recovery in the public sector. Continue reading

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