How To Use Employment Reports For Your Career

Each month, U.S. employment statistics are reported. We hear that unemployment is slightly down, up, or stable. Sometimes we hear unfamiliar terms such as “non-farm payroll,” “involuntary part-time,” or “discouraged unemployed.”


Using Employment Records For Your Career

Most people simply tune-out because they don't feel a personal connection to the report. However, if you go directly to the Bureau of Labor Statistics website (www.bls.gov), you can review various timely reports and you can find data that relates to your career. One aspect of the data are figures suggesting a rise or decline in hiring within a particular industry or occupation.

What's Up And What's Down

Let’s examine recent occupation trends. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ December “Employment Situation Summary” report, there are reported gains in employment in certain occupations. Up:
  • Computer systems design and related services
  • Health care, including hospitals and nursing care facilities
  • Wholesale trade
  • Motion picture and sound recording
  • Leisure and hospitality employment
Down:
  • Construction of buildings
  • Food manufacturing
  • Chemical manufacturing
If you don’t see your occupation or industry listed in a monthly Bureau of Labor Statistics report, it most likely means that there is not a large shift in numbers to report. It also could mean that you are in a niche industry or occupation and are not meaningful on a national basis. Information is power! Start your research at bls.gov; review the latest statistics-based reports. From there you can study your occupation at the Occupational Outlook Handbook (bls.gov/oco/). Beyond that, research trade and industry websites and publications. Empower yourself by staying current on employment trends that may affect you. What do you do with the information? If you see that your occupation is on the rise, this is an opportunity for you to continue to build your skills and partner with your manager to increase your responsibility. These things will lead to advancement. If your occupation is in the “down” category, heed the notice to act. Identify an occupation or industry that is growing. Build your skills so you are nimble when the right time comes to move. Employment information is not just for politicians to spin or news anchors to fill a 60-second gap in the evening newscast. Rather than tune-out these reports, pay attention, and perform your own career research. Be the savvy careerist who makes proactive, informed decisions. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

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