Job Hunting in the Holiday Season

If you are job hunting, do you take a break in December, with all the holidays and year end distractions? If you are like millions of dispirited job seekers, you may take the month off and plan to begin your job search again in the New Year. After all, this may be the last opportunity to spend quality time with friends and family.

Two trends will make your New Year’s Resolution much harder.

The competition for jobs is about to grow exponentially. According to the National Employment Law Project “In November, the number of Americans out of work for six months or longer swelled to 6.3 million, with unemployed people searching for
work for an average of 33.8 weeks.” Worse still, a Republican congress threatens to cut off unemployment extensions. The Office of Economic Advisors estimates that an additional 2 million unemployed will lose their benefits in December. By January, even if the benefits are extended, a tidal wave of those on unemployment may be hitting the streets in panic mode.

So clearly, it is better to get to your name in before the avalanche of resume drops on supervisors’ desks. December is the time, but are employers hiring? The answer? Yes, partly.

Traditionally, employers rush to get their projects finished before the end of their fiscal year. There is an uptick in temporary work. Just like other years, this trend is clear in 2010. Since September, almost a third of incremental hires have been in the temporary sector. In November, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the dominance of temporary work is even more pronounced.

In November, total non farms jobs were up 39,000. Almost the entire growth occurred in temporary services. Employment in temporary help services continued to increase in November (+40,000) and has risen by 494,000 since September 2009.

What these numbers fail to show is that many of these “temporary” jobs should more properly be called “probationary” jobs. When new positions open up in a company employing temporaries, the company is likely to pull from the proven workers on site, rather than face the blizzard of applications again.

If you are unemployed, now is not the time to take a break from your job search. Happy holidays

Eileen Wheeler Sheehan, CSP
President, ABLE Associates

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