Jobs data makes case for hiring now


Hire now, if you plan to expand this year.

That’s the advice of Robert Miano, president and chief executive at Wayne, N.J.-based Harvey Nash USA, a staffing and recruiting firm.

“It’s an excellent time to hire,” said Miano, who is adding staff to his own firm in advance of what he believes will be stronger third and fourth quarters. “I don’t see any economists seeing Q3 or Q4 getting worse,” he said.

While missing expectations, data suggests growth

While the U.S. Labor Department reported 18,000 new nonfarm payroll jobs in June, the employment figures were pulled down by government layoffs, particularly in education. Private sector employers added 57,000 jobs in June, short of expectations but indicating continued growth in the economy, Miano said.  

Economists suggest 150,000 new jobs per month are necessary to keep up with population growth, the New York Times   reported Friday.    Also this month, the Labor Department reported initial claims for unemployment benefits fell 14,000 to 418,000 as of July 1, a level in line with economists’ expectations, the New York Times reported Thursday.

Corporations as a whole are doing well, but aren’t letting go of their cash due to a lack of confidence in the economy. “There’s this whole confidence cycle that happens,” Miano said. “The government can do a lot to help this out, but we have to be competitive in terms of labor,” he said.

While entrepreneurship has been a key driver of U.S. economic growth, the government could be doing more to assist innovative businesses by allowing them to hire foreigners skilled in engineering, math and science, Miano said.

Use of foreign talent can strengthen U.S. businesses

By embracing outsourcing and the hiring of foreign skilled labor through H1-B work visas, the government could help make U.S. businesses more competitive, he said. “If you don’t allow American companies to get at skilled labor to help companies grow, then we’re going to lose out on the world stage,” he said.

“Where the U.S. has always thrived is being able to have creativity and have private businesses drive the marketplace,” Miano continued. “With the government cracking down on off shoring or H1-B immigration, all that does is hurt the American businesses, which has a cascading effect.”

In fact, long-term unemployment remains an issue in the United States, with 45 percent of 14.1 million unemployed now out of work for six months or longer, the Times reported. When the underemployed are factored in (or those who have accepted part-time positions because they can’t find full-time work), the unemployment rate now stands at 16.2 percent, the highest level in six months, the Times said.

Wait-and-see approach might miss out

Workers who lost jobs during the recession and hadn’t kept up their skills often take longer to place, as many employers are willing to wait for the best candidate, Miano said.

Business surveys suggest employers are considering adding to their work forces, and they  should act now or risk losing top talent, Miano said.  “During the recession, (employers) could be so picky, so choosy,” Miano said. Many became accustomed to looking for “a gem,” he said.

But being overly cautious today could be a mistake. “People move way too slow,” he said. During the past three months, the job market has shifted and top talent is getting snapped up, Miano said.

Waiting for the perfect candidate could backfire. “People have got to get off the dime and realize you have to create the talent,” he said “By the time you get around to making the decisions, that person is gone.”

 — Ann Meyer