Not Hiring? Tell That to the 4.4 Million Who Found Jobs

Apr 23, 2009
This article is part of a series called News & Trends.

Who says no one’s hiring? Certainly not the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which earlier this month reported that 4.4 million Americans got jobs in February. That’s only slightly less (and February is a short month) than the 4.5 million new hires in January.

Fortune magazine recently posted a listed of 28 companies on its Fortune 100 list that have openings for at least 150 jobs. Topping the list is Wal-Mart, which, Fortune says, has “thousands” of jobs ranging from clerk to store manager. Bank of America, which has had layoffs and drooping revenue, is looking for 1,860 workers in all areas.

Prudential, which made the list, is seeking 235 new employees in a variety of corporate positions including  actuarial, market research and analysis, operations, and administrative.

We happened to catch a careers pitch for Prudential flashing on the company’s digital billboard in Times Square, of all places. (The company is headquartered across the Hudson River in Newark, NJ.)

Company spokesman Peter Price tells us recruitment shares billboard time with other company units and messages. So it’s not exclusive, but it is part of the “broad net” the company casts.

To be sure, the number of hires nationally is well off the recent high, which came in July 2006. Then, 5.63 million workers were hired. And the new hire rate has declined over the last year, especially in the Midwest, South, and West. Some industries have been hit harder than others. As you might expect, hiring dropped most sharply in retail, hospitality, finance and insurance, recreation and entertainment, and (this may be a surprise) in government.

The government says the “quits rate,” which it calls “a barometer of workers’ willingness or ability to change jobs,” is at its lowest point in eight years. According to the BLS, only 1.5 percent of the working population of the U.S. voluntarily left their jobs during February. That translates into 2 million workers.

So, much as recruiters treasure passive hires, those 4.4 million new hires in February included a substantial number of workers coming from the ranks of the unemployed and underemployed.

Is it any wonder, therefore, that companies are still hiring recruiters? A quick of check of SimplyHired and Indeed shows tens of thousands of jobs with the keyword “recruiter” or “sourcer.” A quick check of those listings show that a fair number are in healthcare, one of the few still-growing sectors. But there are also plenty of recruiter positions in IT, finance, a few in retail, and, of course, with staffing firms.

Incidentally, everyone is getting into the recruiting act., the city portal of the local NBC TV station in Philly, is featuring companies with jobs paying in six-figures. Check out the comments that some users have posted, including the one where a job-seeker makes a pitch.

This article is part of a series called News & Trends.