October Jobs Report Analysis - Discover Podium

October Jobs Report Analysis

Laurel Johnson

By Laurel Johnson | November 24, 2020

2020 has been an unprecedented year, and it shows no signs of slowing. COVID-19 upended our work and home lives, changing everything from interviewing to grocery shopping. My job is to coach professionals through the job market, and over the past months I’ve noticed several shifting themes. Some good–some not so good. After reviewing the October Employment Situation Summary from the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, I’ve compiled the following takeaways.

The good:

  • The unemployment rate declined by 1% to 6.9%. 
  • The number of people unemployed fell by 1.5 million to 11.1 million. 
  • The total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 638,000.

The not so good:

  • Discouraged workers—a subset who believed that no jobs were available for them—was essentially unchanged from the previous month, at 588,000.
  • People employed part-time for economic reasons—and would prefer full-time employment—increased by 383,000 to 6.7 million.

What’s next?

As complex systems struggled to respond to a deadly virus, old rules were thrown out. Workers who had been told it was impossible for them to work remotely suddenly found remote work mandatory. Laws about curbside pickup for beer and wine were suddenly deemed flexible. You can probably think of a dozen other common-sense traditions that have been rendered obsolete this year.

It leads us to wonder, what other rules are not worth following? 

The #1 most common word I hear my clients say is “should.” Should I apply for this role? Should I connect with this person? Should I even bother trying to update my resume? It sounds flippant, but my sincere answer to these questions is, Why in the world not?

Some actions can hurt your job search, it’s true. Sending increasingly pushy messages to a recruiter who has ghosted you? Not great. Trashing your old boss on LinkedIn? Do not do that. Applying to 500 jobs you’re barely qualified for? Zero consequences, and no cost beyond the time it takes.

So should you consider a job change right now? Yes. Nobody is watching over your shoulder, judging you for trying and failing. The old-school rules about how to get hired don’t serve most people, and it’s high time to leave them in the past.

Laurel Johnson

Laurel Johnson has guided hundreds of professionals on their path to a better career as a Career Advisor with Discover Podium. In her free time, she can be found donating her time to the local animal shelter, listening to Tom Waits, or lending a supportive ear to friends and family.

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