Economic recovery but where are the jobs?

Q: I keep reading that the economy is picking up yet I still can’t find a job and I have been out since February of 2009. When will the ‘improving economy’ translate into jobs in Mass?

A: Thanks for your question. It is sometimes difficult to read about
positive signs in the economy if you are out of work. All the
encouraging numbers and reports still don?t always translate into the
ideal job for each worker looking for employment.

Job growth often lags behind economic growth. Indeed there are some positive signs that our current economy is improving. However, businesses are often reluctant to begin immediately hiring new employees based on these positive signs. Why? Businesses want to see, hear and feel all the indicators of a sustainable recovery (as an opposed to a positive blip).

Most business leaders interpret uncertainty as a risk. Risk is often linked to more conservative actions by business leaders. Some of these actions may include using temporary, part-time or contract labor rather than hiring full-time resources and keeping a watchful eye on expenses and cutting expenses where possible.

History tell us that a period of high unemployment can be longer if a recession is severe. This recession has been a difficult one so I would expect a greater lag (or delay) in hiring of new employees by most businesses. Additionally many small businesses, in particular, are facing increased uncertainty around health care reform. Many small business owners are unsure of how health care reform will impact an already turbulent time for their businesses.


Most experts are hopeful about early 2010. While I don?t think we will see a hiring boom in 2010, I think we will see prudent and cautious hiring.

There are ways to improve your employability. Some thoughts:

Evaluate your level of education. The unemployment rate for college grads is about half of the national average. 

Think about growth industries. There are some industries that are showing a bit more resilience. According to a report released by the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development in late November of 2009, the following sectors added jobs from October, 2009 to November, 2009: Professional, Scientific and Business Services. Administrative, Support and Waste Management Services also added jobs as did employers in the Temporary Help. Professional, Scientific and Technical Services industries. Employers representing Education and Health Services also saw modest increases in job growth. 

Keep an active network. Having a healthy professional network of contacts is key. Connect with colleagues, friends and neighbors. Be respectful of their time but pick their brain on ideas, contacts and their “grapevine.” Join LinkedIn. Re-connect with alumni associations. A strong and supportive network is important for your mental health too.

Establish weekly and daily goals. It is easy to be distracted by daily household and personal tasks. Hold yourself accountable. Make sure that you are focused on your job search and not holiday shopping or dirty laundry. It is easy to lose focus, especially this time of year. 

Don’t use December as an excuse. December is a great time to connect and re-connect with people.


I often reflect back to what my mother used to say to me when I encountered personal challenges — “This too shall pass.” She was right. Although limited, we are beginning to see signs that the employment market is changing. This period of high unemployment will pass but you should still conduct an active search so you are one of the first to reap the rewards when job offers are being extended.

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