Job Search Heats Up For Half A Million Americans; So Where Are The Jobs?

Half a million Americans started looking for jobs in August, deciding to rev up their search again after waiting out the recession. Most will search for a long time, but a few many have landed a job in a bar or at a temporary agency.

Friday’s Bureau of Labor Statistics jobless report showed 67,000 private-sector jobs created last month, a tepid pace that isn’t nearly strong enough to rebuild the economy for the millions of unemployed.

“Progress is indeed being made, but it is occurring in such small increments and it is so tenuous that it doesn’t seem like progress at all,” Challenger, Gray, Christmas CEO John A. Challenger said in a statement.

Among the progress, or pockets of possibilities, were the nation’s bars and restaurants, which hired 12,200 people.  Some construction companies hired crew and professional hiring continued, with accounting and administrative support jobs filled. Temporary firms added 17,000 jobs in the month, and are likely to keep adding them.

Hiring will continue in September, but at a modest pace, according to the Society of Human Resource Management. Its index actually shows a slowdown in hiring intentions for both manufacturers and service organizations compared to the spring, though it also reported recruiting has gotten slightly more difficult for a few high-skill or senior management openings.

“We have no indications that the hiring situation will improve dramatically in the near future,” said Joseph Coombs, SHRM’s workplace trends and forecasting specialist.

One area that has shown good gains in recent months are part-time jobs. Last month, the number of people working part-time, due to slow business conditions or a lack of a full time assignment, increased by 331,000.  This suggests more people “are simply trying to get their foot in the door by taking part-time assignments,” Challenger reported.

The government counted 8.8 million people working part-time involuntarily – they really want full-time work –  and another 18.6 million who are part time by choice. Part time can be up to 34 hours a week, under the BLS definition.

As for the half million people who joined the job hunt, they helped raise the U.S. jobless rate a tad, to 9.6 percent in August. But they reverse the trend of people who have just given up on the job market. Some may be back because they’re desperate, but others must have seen something to motivate them – maybe a job posting that looked worth chasing.

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