Focus on the Churn, Say Experts, Amid Poor Jobs Report

unemployment report BLS AugustBy Jeremy Greenfield, Special to AOL Jobs

As if hurricanes and earthquakes weren't enough, employers stayed skittish amid a deluge of bad economic news in August, as the economy added no non-farm jobs and the unemployment rate remained at 9.1 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It was less than economists expected.

The private sector added only 17,000 jobs. Economists had forecast a 68,000 increase in non-farm jobs and no change in the unemployment rate.

"Jobs are not that easily available and it's probably extremely competitive to take those positions," said Adolfo L. Laurenti, deputy chief economist and managing director at Chicago-based financial services firm Mesirow Financial.

Some sectors, like manufacturing, healthcare and technology are doing relatively well -- and hiring -- said Laurenti. Those sectors also pay relatively well.

"I think it's important to explain to job seekers that this is not a job market equally in the doldrums," said Laurenti. "For a job seeker, the trick is not to focus on the headline number but to really explore what the opportunities in this job market may be."

While no new jobs were added in August, roughly 4 million jobs turn over every month. That's where job seekers need to focus their efforts. "It's crucial for job seekers to recognize that even though there we're in the job doldrums, that doesn't mean there isn't dynamism in the economy and there aren't jobs out there," said John Challenger, CEO of Chicago-based outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

"As a single job seeker, what you want to do is focus on the churn and not on the BLS statistics," said New York-based career coach Jeff Neil. Job seekers should target companies where they want to work and network with colleagues to get on their radar. "Figure out what value you can add to a company" and let them know you exist, Neil said.

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Even if a company isn't hiring, job seekers should make contact with decision makers at the company and talk with them in person about their job prospects. They may not be hiring this month -- next month could be a different story.

Challenger recommends tracking how many times every week you meet a potential employer and how many of those meetings are with people who would potentially be your boss.

"Companies know in this kind of labor market that there are a lot of good people out there and it's crucial to keep your search in gear and not fall into the summer doldrums," he said.

Those who are already employed and are looking to either maintain or improve their situation should make an extra effort, according to Mike Ryan, senior vice president of the Madison Performance Group, a New York-based human resources consultancy.

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"What makes you a valuable employee is that discretionary effort," he said. "The things you do above and beyond your core responsibilities."

Ryan also advises those who are not working in core parts of the organization, or on important strategic projects, to try to change departments or get involved in those projects.

Despite today's news, job seekers and employees should remain positive. There was a silver lining: When the 45,000 striking Verizon workers come back in September, the employment numbers will reflect that, said economist Laurenti.

Next: As Employment Remains Flat, Risk of Recession Rises

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There is a job market out there. Employers are getting rid of workers and replacing them with an equal competence (hopefully) desperado with lower pay. Quite logically an illegal immigrant paid in cash. The paperwork's cost is recouped in about a year. I don't know about "tenured" workers' morale when eating pet food to pay for their mortgages and car payments. Tenure implies being on the plank to be dropped. America is close to a 3rd world country, after nearly three years of Obaminable rule.

September 06 2011 at 5:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to topmind's comment

Much of what you said is true , yet you put the blame on Obama when it should be placed more on Bush . We were already in the tiol;et when Obama took office . You can also blame the GOP run congress for putting party politics and the destruction of Obama way ahead of America and the American people .

September 06 2011 at 6:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

here are two sites for employment (capitol hill, architect of the capitol jobs) (gov't jobs all across the country)

September 06 2011 at 12:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Home Office

If you are looking for employment, the free website Best Top Jobs has many jobs that you can choose from such as customer service, accounting, sales, or claims adjuster. There are both entry level and skilled level positions listed and the website it costs you nothing.

September 05 2011 at 7:57 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Repatriate the money companies have earned and been taxed on already overseas, so they can hire here. Get the labor secretary to buy American instead of Canadian ignorantly. Repeal bobo care. Tort reform to lower medical costs. Stop pouring money down the toilet on foreign aid to our enemies. Legalize marijuana and tax it like booze. Stop spending money we don't have. Flat tax.

September 05 2011 at 1:25 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Reading some of these comments reveals that few people understand capitalism. Nothing entitles you to a job. It is something that you earn when you are asking someone else to provide that job. Hell yes a large company is going to take their production to other countries if it costs less. Solution: start your own business and you cannot outsource yourself or gain a skill that makes it more advantageous to hire you that to ship it overseas. Otherwise the best you can hope for a minimum wage service job that cannoyt be outsourced overseas.

September 04 2011 at 9:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

My blog, work, Careers & Jobs@40+ discusses working over 40 and gives advice for the challenges of aging in the workforce. Visit the blog:

There's advice on the blog from hiring professionals, human resources experts and recruiters. Nothing is for sale, no multi-level marketing opportunities, no pop-ups. I won't even ask for your e-mail address.

September 04 2011 at 12:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jim Davis

We will not have a good economy unless we stop the outflow of jobs to foreign countries. And nobody in congress is making an issue of this problem. Think it's bad now? Just wait a few more years.

September 04 2011 at 9:07 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Jim Davis's comment
ken herman

As wages went up assembly and production fled the country so either wages go down, or we tax the hell out of goods coming into the country, or a combination of both, take you pick.

September 04 2011 at 11:29 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Try Ron Paul. He is not a globalist and that is where the jobs went. Can you say nafta and other screwed up trade agreements.

September 04 2011 at 1:16 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

This August jobs news report about No new jobs in America has to be incorrect? Keeping them honest! Who in congress is responsibl­e? How about the House Tea Party and Cantor, McCarthy and Ryan and Senator McConnell and your 43 filibuster obstructio­nists stated that the job creators that have been working furiously for us should not be taxed! Well, these job creators have had it their way for the past ten years! Apparently­, the report is that the continued spreading of their fairy tale lies that stopping the continued Bush tax cuts (give a ways) for billionair­es and Millionair­es will negative impact on the job creators! This B.S. has gone-on for 10 years with less Americans employed! However, China reports that more American jobs were outsourced to China by many of these same billionair­es and millionair­es that do not pay their fair share. Hey Americans are you furious? According Senator Bernie Sanders and retired conservati­ve Senator Allen Simpson, it is now clear that the Republican­s /hypocrite­s made pledges that they are for their “only” plan of continuing to protect their rich Millionair­es and Billions like the Gover Norquest, Limbaugh, Murdock and Koch Brothers at any cost that provided them their campaign funds! Their plan was never to create American jobs for the unemployed middle class! Mr. Boehner, isn't interestin­g to note that unemployed Americans are not talking about a debt ceiling! Where are the jobs you campaigned on? Mr. President, we are asking where are the jobs?

September 03 2011 at 2:08 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

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