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Media Jobs Monthly Newsletter

July 29, 2009
Read through our editor's handpicked articles below and you should be confused: Is the unemployment rate at 9.5 percent, 10 percent, 12 percent or 16.5 percent? What really matters when assessing the labor market and your talent acquisition strategies: "Unemployment" or "total unemployment"?

And if 54 percent of employed Americans are just biding their time until the market improves to begin looking for a new gig, why is finding (and keeping) great talent still difficult? The devil's in the details.

If you are like most of mediabistro.com's employers, you need to hire and retain employees who hold at least a college degree and several years of work experience. So the real unemployment rate that's worth paying attention to is the unemployment rate of people ages 25 and older with at least a four-year college degree. In June, it was 4.8 percent, up from 2.4 percent at this time last year. Many will agree that 4.8 percent unemployment is essentially "full employment."

And when you dig into the numbers even more, you realize that the recent increase in the unemployment rate came mostly because the "labor force" of college-educated candidates increases by about a million a year. Most of that increase is the result of a net increase in the population. The rest, about 250,000, comes from increased labor force participation -- that is, a larger percentage (77.8 percent versus 77.6 percent) of college-educated adults over 25 were employed or actively looking for work. So what really happened over the past year is that about 700,000 people "entered" the 25-and-up college-educated labor force, and about 200,000 became unemployed, increasing unemployment by 1.2 million.

This is a very different overall dynamic than you hear about in the mainstream media. Basically, the college-educated labor force is still close to "full employment" and thus still in demand by employers. In addition, factor in that supply and demand is often out of alignment, because skills that are in demand don't necessarily match the skills that the unemployed labor force has to offer. That makes finding a job hard for some, but it also makes it difficult to hire your must-have talent.

It comes as no surprise then that here at mediabistro.com, we are seeing about the same number of active job seekers on the job board as this time last year; they are just looking at and applying for fewer jobs. That's why you should still be looking for ways to improve your strategy for attracting top talent.

mediabistro.com has two new features that can help you land that coveted high-caliber talent: Check out our Featured Job option and our Twitter Job option. Just log in to post a job, or call us toll free at (888) 589-1963.

Bill Conneely, Director
Job Market


Employee Turnover Looms (About.com Human Resources)
Though most workers right now are happy to pitch in extra work in order to keep their jobs, more than half (54 percent) of employed Americans are just biding their time until the recession turns around. Then they'll likely begin looking for a new gig, a survey by Harris Interactive on behalf of the Adecco Group says.

Forcing Furloughs Could Provoke Lawsuits (HRE Online)
Employers should be extra-careful that their furlough strategy doesn't violate any state or local laws, according to labor attorneys around the country. Creating a company policy and offering employees as much notice as possible can reduce your risks of lawsuits.

How Was SHRM? (Workforce)
Were you even there? Attendance dropped by almost a third this year compared to 2008, with 6,800 members at the New Orleans convention, the Society for Human Resource Management's 61st convention. But despite the lower numbers, business was brisk, and the networking was good, according to those who were there; even for those who weren't, the social networking site SHRM's rolling out later this year will be an extension of the in-person networking opportunities available at the conference.

Experts Concerned About Towers Watson (Workforce)
Towers Perrin and Watson Wyatt will merge to create a HR consultancy behemoth employing 14,000 people. But experts wonder: 'Am I going to be served the same way and what will happen to the talent?" Towers Perrin CEO Mark Mactas assures clients and investors that the merger will go as smoothly as possible.

Are We There Yet? (RecruitingBlogs.com)
International CEO of Aquent Greg Savage on the hiring economy: "We see a flurry of hiring activity for a week or two, suggesting we are on the cusp of bigger and better things. Then just as quickly, it dies out, leaving us with slow order-flow and patchy pipelines." In most of the world, things are still bad; in North America, he says, "my colleagues report [...] that temp and contract in Design and Marketing is on the up, with digital and interactive specialists in particular demand."

They're Not Getting Mad, They're Getting Even (HRE Online)
Terminated employees are increasingly using technology to get "revenge" on their former employers. Prevent vendettas by being upfront with employees and not treating them "shabbily" -- but also by being aware, says one consultant, that "if you have an employee who's given you problems, chances are, when you terminate that employee, [he or she is] going to continue with that attitude."

Rewards Help Soothe Hard Times (The Wall Street Journal)
It's the little things that matter: a ping-pong table, a fridge with soda, and a Wii perked up morale at one small media business, for under $3,000. Student Media Group had been suffering from a precipitous drop in revenue and the loss of three salespeople, but the perks "got people believing" in the company again.

Attracting Talent: It's All in the Story (RecruitingBlogs.com)
Jobseekers are instructed to tell stories about themselves, so why don't you have one ready about your company? Blogger Rowan Watkins reminds recruiters that "great people sign up to missions, not pensions," so you'd better know what your media company is really about.

The Labor Market Is Worse Than You Think (The Atlantic)
In June, hourly workers spent an average of six minutes less on the job than they did in May. Not a big deal? Big deal. It's the lowest level on record since the series began in 1964. Add the employees asked to cut back hours to the unemployment level, and you'll find that unemployment is closer to 12 percent than 10. "That's quite a bit uglier," says author Daniel Indiviglio.

Total Unemployment Continuing Its Ascent (Seeking Alpha)
Total unemployment -- the measure of unemployed, underemployed, and discouraged workers hit 16.5 percent last month and continues to rise, a 65 percent increase year over year. That's 38 million people without a job or in jobs that doesn't match their skills. Total unemployment has traditionally stood four to five percentage points over the standard definition of unemployment, but in 2008 and 2009, that spread jumped to seven percent.

Reform, Reform, Reform -- Is Social Security Next? (HRE Online)
Energy, financial regulation and healthcare reform have been Capitol Hill's top priorities, but social security reform could be next. Dallas Salisbury, president of the nonpartisan Employee Benefit Research Institute in Washington, says the implications of social security reform "to human resources, workforce mobility and management, and retirement timing, are going to be of monsoon proportions."

--Compiled by Rachel Kaufman, editor, MediaJobsDaily.com



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