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Saturday, August 05, 2006
Market Slowdown
The Labor Department released the hiring numbers for July this week and they showed a hiring slowdown in the US economy and a five-month high of unemployment at 4.8 percent. That’s the bad news. Good news is that wages are still growing steadily.

As we all pull up to the gas pump these days, we wince at the sight of the price per gallon. Gas, especially for those with a significant commute to work, is really starting to eat into household budgets. What we don’t think about is those same factors also eat into the budgets of companies. Energy prices affect all areas of our economy.

When companies experience a budget crunch, the first thing to be affected is staffing levels. While mass layoffs so far don’t seem to be on the horizon, a slowdown in adding new staff to existing workforces is not an unexpected reaction on the part of companies. Payroll is traditionally a first-line expense to be cut to control expenditures.

What this means for the average job seeker right now is a longer job search. It might also be frustrating for job seekers who have been working the process and been involved in extensive interview processes only to find that a hiring freeze has been mandated. While the need for the new employee still exists, the budget for the salary and benefits might not be there.

A market slowdown also increases competition for the jobs that are available. Increased competition requires added attention to keen marketing of skills, experience, and talents – something that most job seekers have trouble doing in a flush job market, much less a tighter one. If you have been considering a job search, it might be a good idea to go ahead and get started because the search will take longer in a tighter market. The bigger head start you give yourself the better.

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