The August unemployment report released this past Friday by the Labor Department showed a dip in the unemployment rate from 8.3 percent to 8.1 percent in August. While on the surface the news appears to be good, it also indicated that the U.S. only created 96,000 jobs – well below analyst expectations of 135,000. And the unemployment rate declined primarily due to more than 300,000 job seekers dropping out of labor force in August.
Compounding the bad news, the Labor Department also adjusted June and July jobs gains down by 41,000, indicating that fewer jobs were created in past months.
While the unemployment rate is a full percentage point lower than a year ago, approximately 12.5 million Americans still remain unemployed. And employment in many of the major business sectors, such as retail trade, construction and information services remained unchanged. Job gains were made in professional and technical services, health care, hospitality and leisure, to name a few, but not enough to off-set lackluster job gains.
Young adults, aged 16-24, are among the largest group dropping out of the labor market, according to the Labor Department, with an unemployment rate of 16.8%; up from July, which held at 16.4%. In August, the Department reported 453,000 fewer young adults held jobs in August as compared to July, and only 27,000 more young adults looked for jobs last month.
How to find a job in today’s job market
Many job seekers discouraged about the employment news still need to devote time and energy to their job search. While it may be harder to find work, staying committed and focused is a must. Here are several key things to focus on.
- Continue to make finding a job a full-time job. Although difficult to maintain a positive attitude at times, finding a job is a full-time job and being committed to investing time and energy, day in and day out, is a must, period.
- Network. Networking is still one of the best ways to secure a job and you should plan on investing more time towards this critical step. Industry events, trade shows and conferences offer fertile ground for networking. Attend them. Attend career fairs and job seminars. And continue to tap into your career network.
- Consider an alternate job. This may involve pursuing a new job field, a different title, a temporary position, exploring job training – or moving to a different city altogether. Research what industries and cities are showing job gains, and be willing to augment your job search.
- Be persistent. Follow-up, make calls, schedule interviews – informal or otherwise. Spend time researching companies and alternate positions. While you may feel discouraged at times, being persistent can help steer you toward success.