The Record Jobs Section 10-15-17

Place an ad Phone: 1-888-460-5322 Email: SUNDAY, OCTOBER 15, 2017 • SECTION J P CAREER COACH Don’t let the numbers get you down … yet By ELI AMDUR SPECIAL TO NORTH JERSEY JOBS N o sooner did the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) release the September jobs report at 8:30 a.m. on Friday, October 6, than my voice mail and email began getting flooded, mostly with expressions of concern, worry, and even shock. Why? For the first time in 84 months — the longest string of job creation in American history — the job market took a hit, i.e., a net loss of 33,000 jobs. The market’s improvement had been so smooth, so consistent, and so predictable, that this was more than notable, apparently. After all, from 2011 to 2016 we averaged 201,000 jobs created per month, and if that isn’t consistent enough for you, during those 72 months, only seven brought in job creation of 300,000 or more and only eight registered fewer than 100,000. The remaining months were in one of the tightest ranges ever seen. Remarkable! “Now this!” said one caller. “After years of clawing back from the recession, here we go again.” OK, not so fast. One month of job loss doesn’t a recession make and, although I’m more than a bit wary of a trend I’ve been watching — namely the average monthly job creation has fallen from 201,000 to 140,000 — we must not — in any way, shape, or form — panic. Don’t forget that we just experienced two major job market influences. Their names were Harvey and Irma (Maria is not part of this discussion because BLS numbers exclude Puerto Rico and the USVI), and yes, major natural disasters affect jobs, although after Katrina in 2005, job creation dipped but was still on the plus side, and after Sandy in 2012, job creation numbers were so strong that there was hardly a notice- able blip. Besides, there are too many other factors involved – and it gets complicated, to say the least – for us to hang on one number. For instance, in September the number of employed people jumped by 906,000 and the number of unemployed fell by 331,000, not to mention wages jumping by 12 cents an hour in just one month (the caveat being that the hurri- canes wiped out a lot of lower wage jobs, so the average jumped). So with many good news points, you’d not expect a loss of jobs, would you? See, it’s complicated. What this comes down to is pretty simple, and I’ve said this here several times this year alone. We are not so much in good times or bad times as we are in uncertain times. This could go either way and, whichever way it goes, it could be anything from a minor blip to a major, long-lasting boom or bust. One thing is certain: anyone who makes a firm prediction at this point hasn’t a leg to stand on. But this is also certain. Whichever way this goes, there’s no excuse for not being ready. Regular readers of this column have seen the following quote a few times, twice this year alone: “You must live within yourself, and depend on yourself, always tucked up and ready for a start.” Not a new thought is that; Henry David Thoreau said it in “On Walden Pond” more than 160 years ago, proving once again that there are thoughts and basic truths that are much more long lasting than job creation trends. Today — and moving forward — what “tucked up” means can be translated into two other words: job readiness. It’s a highly proactive state of being in which we are ready for whatever comes whenever it comes. So, for instance, when’s the last time you updated your resume and LinkedIn profile? Not just “tweaked” it (a term I despise, by the way), but really scrutinized it and made little and big changes, as needed. If your answer is anything longer than six months ago, you’re not tucked up. What about your job search strategies? Still wasting your time on the job boards? Have you sat with anyone to evaluate your networking strategies? It’s not a bad idea. Same question for inter- view strategies, which are far more impor- tant than interview skills. How are yours? Tucked up? All these things are components of the larger issue: seeing the need for it. No, we should not be hitting the alarm button quite yet, but we damn well better make sure we know where it is, and while we’re at it, we better get our ducks in a row. I see things I like and things I don’t, and we’ve been through this before. So don’t let the numbers get you down. Yet. Career Coach Eli Amdur can be reached at eli.amdur@amdurcoaching .com. Please note his website, www. amdurcoaching. com. Please “like” him at AmdurCoaching and follow him on Twitter (Eli Amdur). To find previous columns by Eli Amdur, visit and click on Special Sections at the very bottom of the Home Page where prior editions of North Jersey Jobs are available for viewing . 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