Friday, August 5, 2011

Putting The July Jobs Report Into Perspective

job market
I've got some good news and bad news.  The good news?  The United States added a better than expected 117,000 jobs last month, according to the just released July jobs report by the Labor Department.  Economists had predicted only 46,000 jobs would be added.  In additon, unemployment dropped slightly to 9.1%.  The bad news?  We needed to add twice that many jobs for the job market to really be on a path to full recovery.  Overall, though, this is better news than we could have hoped to expect after back-to-back underwhelming reports (though I should note those two reports were revised higher in the July report).  That doesn't mean people are not still worried about the state of the economy.

How is a job seeker supposed to stay positive when it seems like the job market is collapsing around them?  Watching the news is an exercise in depression, with bad news bombarding you constantly.  If it's so hopeless out there, why even bother applying for jobs?  It's true that even though the data for the last month was better than hoped, getting a full time job is still extremely hard in this environment.  It's not impossible, however, and that's what you have to keep in mind. 

I suppose that's easy enough for me to say when I am already happily employed, but it wasn't always like that.  It took a full year for me to find any meaningful work out of college, and even then it was an internship.  I eventually had to face the reality that the only way I was going to get a job I liked was to do pretty menial work.  With the job market being as competitive as it is, there comes a time where you are just going to have to accept anything you can get.  Is that a little grim?  Maybe, but I don't think there is anything wrong with it.  I didn't want to have to do tons of part time jobs/un-paid internships, but all these experiences eventually helped me land the job I have today. 

The lesson to take from all of this is that, no matter how bleak things seem right now, it's not hopeless.  I'm not going to try and delude you or use lay some absurd optimism on you ("Yeah, the unemployment is 9%...but that still means 91% of Americans have jobs, am I right?").  Times are undeniably hard, but it doesn't mean you should give up.  All it means is you have to try that much harder to succeed.  Just remember this: It's not easy but it's not impossible.

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