Career Gaps Cause Concern among Employers


Unemployment Rates

Nonfarm payroll employment rose by 272,000 in May, and the unemployment rate changed from 3.9% to 4%. The labor force participation rate was unchanged at 62.5%. Average hourly earnings increased by 14 cents (0.4%) to $34.91. The average workweek for all employees remained at 34.3 hours. Employment trended up in healthcare, government, leisure and hospitality, and professional, scientific, and technical services.

According to the American Staffing Association, temporary help employment was 1.72% of total nonfarm employment in May.

Major Industry Employment

Notable Gains and Losses

  • Healthcare and Social Assistance: +83,500
  • Government: +43,000
  • Leisure and Hospitality: +42,000
  • Construction: +21,000
  • Transportation and Warehousing: +10,600
  • Manufacturing: +8,000
  • Temporary Help Services: -14,100

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Workforce and Economic News

Creating a Workplace Culture in Which People Want to Work
Psychology Today — June 9, 2024

Attracting and retaining top talent is crucial for any organization’s success. However, it’s not just about offering competitive salaries and benefits. Creating a positive and inclusive work environment in which employees feel valued, respected, engaged, and empowered to contribute their unique perspectives can lead to improved productivity and lower turnover.

What Will a Robot Make of Your Resume? The Bias Problem with Using AI in Job Recruitment
The Conversation — June 9, 2024

The artificial intelligence (AI) revolution has begun, spreading to almost every facet of people’s professional and personal lives — including job recruitment. AI in recruitment promises greater objectivity and efficiency during the hiring process by eliminating human biases and enhancing fairness and consistency in decision-making. But research shows AI can subtly — and at times overtly — heighten biases. And the involvement of HR professionals may worsen rather than alleviate these effects.

79% of 2024 Employees Must Perform To ‘Show’ They Are Working, Study Says
Forbes — June 6, 2024

A survey found that when businesses pressure employees to perform in order to cut costs, workers react by prioritizing tasks that make them appear productive and visible to management instead of doing impactful work — a phenomenon called productivity theater. Almost half (43%) of employees spend more than ten hours a week on “productivity theater” tasks. A majority (75%) said they respond to colleagues as quickly as possible or keep the laptop screen awake while not actively working. A whopping 88% whose employers use surveillance tools agree that performative work contributes to their professional success, but that surveillance tools do more harm than good.

America Employed

More than Half of Companies Eager to Snag U.S. College Grads — May 29, 2024

American employers continue to show interest in hiring college graduates with more than half (55%) planning to hire recent alumni, a positive trend over the past few years, aside from a dip in the first half of 2023. This is according to a recent Express Employment Professionals-Harris Poll survey in which companies also outlined other in-demand demographic segments and industries.

In addition to college graduates, hiring managers say they plan to employ college students (41%), vocational/career tech graduates (37%), high school students (23%), and adults with a disability (21%). Fewer companies plan to hire immigrant workers in 2024 (19%) — lower than the first half of 2023 (23%) and the second half of 2022 (24%).

Career Gaps Pose Concern for 36% of U.S. Employers, Yet 95% Acknowledge Valid Explanations — May 15, 2024

Although sizable unexplained work gaps (36%) may deter some U.S. hiring managers from interviewing applicants, an overwhelming majority (95%) of decision-makers recognize valid reasons for such interruptions. This is according to a recent Express Employment Professionals-Harris Poll survey.

On the other side of the situation, surveyed job seekers say they are worried about long-term unemployment but also believe there are acceptable reasons for candidates to have large gaps on resumes, including health issues, staying home with a child, going to school, and caring for an elderly parent.


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Founded in 1994 by the late Pamela Hulse Andrews, Cascade Business News (CBN) became Central Oregon’s premier business publication. •

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