Is the Labor Market Recovering?

Our guest blogger today is Greg Garrison, the president of vrecruting – Recruiting solutions from vcfo. He has over 17 years experience in the recruiting and staffing industry, and is regularly quoted nationally as a thought-leader in employment trends. He can be reached at or 512-450-6569.

The Labor Market and the Economic Recovery

Last week The Bureau of Labor Statistics released the August employment report. Many believe the findings were positive for the recovering economy while others perceive a more somber picture. Are the labor markets recovering, or not?

Regardless of how the numbers are interpreted, the labor market appears to be in for a long and gradual recovery. It will literally take many months and quarters to put the sheer volume of the unemployed back to work.

Good News and Bad News

The good news is that August job losses in the U.S. came in lower than the previous month. In fact, last month’s job loss numbers were the lowest we’ve seen since August 2008. In recent months we’re losing fewer jobs. This is indeed good news and an indicator the economy is slowly recovering.

The bad news is that we still lost 216,000 jobs last month. Though we’re not losing jobs as fast as we once were, but we’re still hemorrhaging jobs at a substantial rate. The national unemployment rate continues to climb and is now at 9.7%, the highest it’s been in over 25 years. Many economists believe we’ll surpass 10%.

The Numbers

The data clarifies the fact that unemployment numbers are significant and will take a reasonable amount of time to overcome.

  • Just under 15 million people are without work and are seeking a job
  • 7.4 million people have lost their jobs since this recession started
  • 25.5 percent of teenagers are unemployed – this is the highest level on record
  • 10.1 percent of men over age 20 are unemployed
  • 7.6 percent of women over age 20 are unemployed
  • 24.9 weeks is the average duration that unemployed workers are with out a job

The Recovery

These numbers are vast and deep, more so than many of us have ever seen. Again, it will take quite some time to put this volume of unemployed folks back to work. It begs the question of how the economic recovery will look. Many companies are obviously not hiring and are trying to get “more out of less” these days. CEO’s remain hesitant to increase their headcount and are looking to maintain a smaller yet more productive workforce.

The recent Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers also indicate that worker productivity is at an all-time high. This leads some economists to speak of a “jobless recovery”. Can companies grow and the economy recover if companies don’t refill the jobs eliminated by the recession and put the unemployed back to work?

About Bryan Menell

Bryan is the Managing Editor for AustinStartup and the CEO of Mahana. He is a co-founder of Capital Factory, an investor and advisor, and runs the popular Austin Tech Happy Hour with his wife.


  1. I'll back again for sure, thanks for great article :D


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