Career Calling

May 4, 2014

When the Unemployment Rate Matters

 

In past years, I have cautioned readers to beware of statistics about the unemployment rate. The news media loves to tell negative, scary stores. Fear sells. At the same time, a tick up in the unemployment rate means nothing to individual job seekers. Think about it this way: You are not a statistic.

However, sometimes it is important to recognize a statistical trend, especially if it can help you advance your career and make more money. Job growth has been strong over the last three months, and part of that occurred during one of the worst winters in recent memory. If the rate of new hires considers to exceed 200,000 over the next few months and the unemployment rate dips below 6%, things could improve for working people.

Over the past few years, managers and employers have been able to take a “if you don’t like it, leave” attitude. They are cocky because they think almost any employee is easily replaceable. A tighter job market will make them less confident. Watch what’s going on in your company and industry. If employees start leaving for better jobs, it might be time for you to start looking for work or ask for a raise. Employers are also subject to fear. If they see the unemployment rate going down, they will start to appreciate workers more. Use that change in the economy to advance your career and, if necessary, look for a new place to work.

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