An Entry from the Job Hunter's Journal

How is the Job Market???

How is the job market?, or some form of that question is the most common question I am asked when talking to people looking for work in the plastics industry.  The following information form the Federal Government might provide an answer to that question:

On April 2, 2009, the Labor Department reported that initial claims for unemployment insurance rose to a seasonally adjusted 669,000 from the previous week’s revised figure of 657,000. That total was (as it always is) above analysts’ expectations and the highest in more than 26 years.

Laid-off workers claiming benefits for more than a week rose 161,000 to 5.73 million, setting a record for the 10th straight week. This indicates that unemployed workers are having difficulty finding new jobs.

In my role as a Third Party Technicial Recruiter for the Plastics Industry, I can attest to unemployed workers having difficulty finding new jobs, and if the government manages to let GM, Ford, and Chrysler disappear, it is only going to get worse.   But suprisingly, I am seeing more offer turn downs by unemployed job seekers than I have seen in many years.  Some of the reasons for the rejection of employment offers are:

  • I don’t think I can sell my house without taking a loss on it (a common comment from people living in Michigan).
  • The job does not pay as much as my old job, so I cannot take the new position even though I am out of work (they usually express optimism that something better will come along).
  • I can almost make as much on unemployment as the company is willing to pay (in spite of the fact that the company has expressed a willingness to in increase the pay once the individual proves him or herself).
  • My children are happy at their school or my daughter/son is a Junior in High School.
  • My parents are old, so I cannot leave them and relocate.
  • I can sell out of a home office so why should I relocate?
  • God told me not to take the position (a suprising frequent response to a job offer but no one has ever told me that the Devil told them not to take the job).
  • I found a job locally (usually two hours after receiving the offer, so the job market must not be as tight as the Labor Department is indicating).
  • My wife, husband, or significant other said he, she or it are not relocating.

I am sure that these reasons for not accepting a job offer a very valid (I am not about to argue with God) but some of the  reasons behind turning down a valid job offer elude me.

  1. Not taking a job because it does not pay much more that unemployment seems rather short sighted.   I think the unemployed are getting use to having the unemployment payments extended but eventually the extensions will have to stop (when no one has a job and companies no are no longer paying unemployment insurance payments or the Republicans take back Congress).  It seems that Congress is helping to foster unemployment and add to the “entitlement” programs.
  2. Not relocating because money will be lost on the home seems equally short sighted.  What good does it do to hold on to a house when you cannot afford to make the mortgage payments.  I know many people hope that  a job opening will turn up in Detroit,  MI but as President Obama has already stated, “These automotive jobs are going  boys and they ain’t coming back,” or maybe that was Bruce Springfield, I get the two confused.
  3. Why does the job seeker wait until the job offer is in hand before the spouse or significant other decides they will not relocate?  Shouldn’t the relocation possibility been addressed before pursuing the job, wasting every one’s time and money?
  4. Not taking a job because the new job does not pay as much as the old job really confuses me.  I hate to be the harbinger of bad news but most of us will be making less money than we use to because we are now competitingin a World market that is lowering worker wages while conversely lowering product costs.   Part of the reason wages a dropping in the United States is because the US Automotive Industry kept wages at an artificially high level while losing billions of dollars.  With artificially high automotive wages ending, wages will decrease in the companies supplying GM, Ford and Chrysler, and then the companies supplying the suppliers, etc.   Just because you made $160,000 per year at your last job or $35.00 per hour at last job does not mean you are going to find another job in the near and probably distant future that pays that well.  And don’t even get me started about matching 401k’s and medical benefits.

These are just a few things to consider before you start your job search and believe me there are many, many more.  Stay tuned.