How many people are looking for work? Are you one of them?


97n/24/huty/7252/18Labor Day marks the official start of a job search for many people.

When it comes to the labor market, I have a favorite quote.

There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.

I always look to the BLS for information on unemployment. And I subscribe to the monthly ADP report on jobs, payroll and job creation.

Some of my friends say that there are 90MM people looking for work. Depending on how you see the world, workers are either entrepreneurs who are in charge of their own careers or pawns in collective scam known as capitalism. It is fair to say that job security is a joke. And I am on record saying that 100% of the workforce should always look for work, as exhausting as that sounds. I hate that advice, but it’s true.

But when I hear that 90MM people are looking for work, that sounds a little high. So I went to Politifact to check out their take on the claim.

They write,

Bloggers and pundits have said that 90 million Americans either aren’t working or aren’t looking for work. That’s a real number, but it includes high schoolers, college students and retirement-age Americans, leaving perhaps 20 million a better approximation.

I think 20MM is a high number, but it is better than 90MM.

None of this is good, though. The future of work isn’t fabulous. Shareholder value is a lie. Most companies are still trying to improve productivity by investing in technology and lowering the cost of labor. Middle-class jobs have been wiped out in many parts of this country — and across the globe.

If you have a job but you want a new job, the idea of a job search must scare the crap out of you. If you are out of work — or you are part of the long-term unemployed — you must be deathly afraid of being unemployed forever. And if you’re over 50 — or face other biases — the process of looking for work can seem daunting.

So let’s talk about your search. I want to hear from you.

  • Are you looking for work?
  • Have you recently landed a new job?
  • What’s working?
  • What isn’t?
  • How did you find your job?
  • What advice do you have for current job seekers?
  • Was HR helpful during your job search?
  • Did HR people and recruiters slow you down?

I would love to hear your take on “looking for work” in the last quarter of 2013.

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