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Ask Brian – State of the Job Market

January 8th, 2009 · 2 Comments

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Angelo asks:

Last year, around this time, you gave a state of the job market post telling us where the jobs were and where they weren’t. Are you planning on giving us a similar thing this year? I always find it interesting when you give us your take on things based on what you see in your business.

Actually, I hadn’t been planning on it, but it’s a good idea, Angelo.

Well, there’s really no two ways about it. This is the worst job market I’ve seen in my career. And remember, I started ResumeWriters in 1998, so I’ve seen a terrific job market (1998-2000) and a pretty bad one (late 2000-late 2003) as well as the generally alright job market we’ve seen the last few years or so.

If you go back into the archives of this site, you’ll see that I told you guys that we started seeing our business pick up in October of 2007. The summer of 2008 was the busiest I have ever seen things… people were either just beginning to lose their jobs or were at least reading the writing on the wall.

And so far this year, things are gangbusters. And if things are gangbusters for resume writers, that is probably a good indication that lots of people are looking for work.

What has surprised me is how much our outplacement business has picked up… in just the last 2 months. Lots of companies are laying people off, and lots of companies are looking for cheap outplacement and severance package services (which provides, btw). I have to say that I hadn’t anticipated that. Outplacement services have always been a part of what we do… just not this big a part.

So, what I can say for sure is, I’ve not seen this level of layoffs in this short amount of time… ever.

What are we seeing in detail? The industries being hit are pretty much the ones you’d expect. The financial industry has been a wasteland all year, and if anything, it’s just getting worse. Industrial and manufacturing jobs seem to be hard to come by, especially automotive (of course) (and the car salesmen… that’s an interesting story for another time, but the car salesfolk seem to be especially desperate of late).

Most recently, we’ve been seeing a lot of people coming to us from the retail industry… all levels from management to stock boy. A lot of them have been from chains that have gone into bankruptcy recently, and that trend seems only to be accelerating.

A lot of govt. jobs are starting to disappear as well. We’ve been seeing increasing numbers of teachers and municipal employees coming our way. Except for the brisk business we’ve been doing helping hopefuls who are trying to get a job in the new Obama administration, I can’t say that the govt. sector is offering many jobs at the moment.

So where are the jobs?

Unfortunately, I can’t say for sure at the moment. This isn’t a cop out, I swear. It’s just that for the last month or so, all we’ve been seeing are desperate job seekers, and I’ve not gotten a good anecdotal sense of where people are finding success. But I’ll keep an eye out and will post success stories when I hear them over the next couple of months.

For right now, I get the sense that a lot of people are holding out hope for Obama’s promised stimulus plan. If it is, in fact, a trillion dollars or so of Keynesian spending (roads, bridges, infrastructure and whatnot) then hopefully this will be good for the overall construction industry. There are still a lot of construction people looking for work. Remember, the whole bubble over the last couple of years was predicated on a lot of people, building a lot of houses. Those people are eager to find something else to build.

And I’m not just talking hammers and nails. If Obama holds to his word, there should be a lot of energy, green energy, sustainability and efficiency projects. So that should be good for scientists, quality control people, accounting people, and installing types as well.

Let’s keep our fingers crossed.

Related posts:

  1. On Desperate Times – State of the Job Market
  2. How The Housing Crisis Affects The Job Market

Tags: Ask Brian

  • CK

    I graduated with my MBA in Dec 2006. I started looking for a new job soon after that in 2007. At first I was getting an intervew every three weeks (considering I wasn’t trying too hard). Then the calls were getting farther and father between. I knew by early to mid 2007 something was going on!

    I keep hearing that the medical field is hiring – that it is ‘recession-proof!’ … funny that even hospitals are starting to close because people can’t pay their bills! Oops!

  • tim

    try being a 50 year old laid off truck driver, with ”minor” health problems.
    there is NOTHING out there, all my buddys say, your better off on unemployments, i make more on unemploymenys that they do !!!
    burger and fries at flyingJ, 18 bucks !!!
    folks, its over, we’er doomed.
    government will do nothing, they dont want too.
    they want us totally broke,
    ”we are”
    and the national debt is unsustainable,
    welcome to the third world of america,
    also ? they will not stop immigration…
    or close the borders.
    or stop NAFTA,
    yep, its over.