Job Dropouts Drop Back In
Economists believe that the expansion of the labor force this fall was bolstered by long-unemployed people deciding to hunt for jobs again. In November, 65,000 fewer people reported that they had suspended their job search because they felt finding work was unlikely, compared with the same month a year ago. "People are now beginning to believe there is some reason to look," says Economy.com's Mark Zandi. The situation presents employers with both a chance and a challenge. The chance: You may be able to snag some seasoned (if discouraged) workers at low salaries. What's more, these workers are likely to be loyal to the company that gives them a second chance, which will help you keep a lid on turnover even as the job market improves. Now, the challenge: Whatever the reason these folks have been unemployed, their job skills are probably rusty. "Some office tools evolve fairly quickly," says Kevin McMurtry, CEO of Advanced Health Media, a medical marketing firm in Union, N.J., that will hire up to 50 people this year. "I want to know that we don't need to do extensive training." Just remember, training is never a bad idea, and you can use a new hire as an excuse to refresh the skills of longstanding staffers, too. Then there's the big-picture reason why you might want to give discouraged job seekers a break. When they start earning a salary and paying taxes again, that is good for the economy in general.