Forecasts and expectations for 2012…

The job market has finally started to  bounce back, with employers adding 200,000 jobs in December and the unemployment rate dropping to 8.5%.  These trends, hopefully, should continue in 2012.

Some predictions for the job market in 2012 include the continued utilization of social media to recruit, screen and parse applicable candidates,  an increase in the number of mature workers (those aged 55+) who continue to work beyond the traditional retirement age, industries including energy and medical devices, will help the U.S. unemployment rate go down albeit slowly and returning veterans, coveted by employers, will pressure the job market.

Employment and social media integrated in 2011 and will shape hiring in 2012.  With  LinkedIn at over 146 million members with a growth rate of 50% in 9 months,  Facebook at 800 million users and Twitter averaging 230 million tweets per day, social media is and will continue be the an integral part of the job market.  According to a 2009 Career Builder survey, 45% of employers use social media to screen potential candidates and this percentage is growing.

An increase in the number of mature workers will continue.  In fact, the seasonally-adjusted jobless rate for workers over age 55 stood at 6.2 percent last month, compared with 9.4 percent for workers age 25 to 34. And the overall workforce age is increasing.  Labor force participation by workers over age 55 has risen 11 percent since December 2007, and is projected to go higher as baby boomers try to restore retirement security.

US oil and gas industry receives anywhere from $1 billion to $35 billion a year in subsidies from taxpayers.  With fracking and alternative energy choices becoming more viable energy options, these areas will continue to hire.  In addition, the medical industry, specifically within Glens Falls area of “Catheter Valley”  should also see growth as the FDA has announced plans to reform its 510(k) device approval process.

A measure approved by the Senate that  is aimed at helping unemployed veterans by providing special tax incentives to companies that hire them and strengthening employment counseling and training programs  will create a better employment environment for returning vets .  There are approximately 240,000 unemployed veterans from the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts and an additional 56,000 that returned in December, adding to the number of potential job seekers. 

For 2012, uncertainty will continue but will be tempered with a level of optimism not seen for a number of years.  The number of initial jobless claims in the U.S. unexpectedly fell 4,000 last week to 364,000, the lowest level since April 2008.   A fairly upbeat U.S. consumer confidence survey from the University of Michigan has helped sustain the positive sentiment.  Although there are still a huge number of obstacles, the 2012 job market is shaping up to be substantially better than 2011.

Written by Dhianna Yezzi, Owner of Integrated Staffing Corporation – Article published in Glens Falls Business Review.

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