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Where Are the Workers?

Associated Press (06/16/14) Tom Raum

The workforce participation rate held steady in May at only 62.8%, leading many to wonder where the missing workers have gone. There are concerns that the workforce participation rate is being held down by unemployed workers dropping out of the job market after a year or more of looking for work and failing to find it. Rutgers University public policy professor Carl Van Horn says older workers not yet old enough to retire but unable to find another job account for many of these long-time unemployed workers.

Van Horn expects that at some point the strengthening economy will prompt some of these discouraged workers to return to the labor market, but Economic Policy Institute chief economist Heidi Shierholz says this has not happened yet because “employers haven’t seen demand for their stuff pick up in a way that would require them to bring on more workers, put that factory back on line, [and] get more people to work.” Although the labor market is improving, experts say it could be a long time before the jobless rate returns to 5% or less, and the new norm could actually be 6% or more.

“Our economy is leaving our unemployed folks further and further behind,” says Robert A. Funk, chairman and chief executive of the Oklahoma City-based staffing firm Express Employment Professionals. “But if people quit looking for work at a rate like this, it makes our job much, much more difficult.”

Empire State Index Gets Boost From New Orders in June

Reuters (06/16/14)

The New York Federal Reserve’s Empire State general business conditions index for June increased to 19.28, the strongest reading since June 2010. The index for May was 19.01, and analysts polled by Reuters had forecast 15.00. New orders rose from 10.44 to 18.36, their highest level in almost four years, and the index for the number of employees dropped from 20.88 to 10.75, suggesting that employment is improving at a modest pace.

Free ASAPro Webinar Next Week—Find Passive Candidates on LinkedIn

If you want to attract the highly sought-after passive candidates, you must become an expert on LinkedIn. Find out how to separate yourself as a master sourcer by understanding this recruiting tool during the ASAPro webinar “Master the Ins and Outs of LinkedIn Sourcing.” It takes place Thursday, June 26, 3–4 p.m. Eastern time.

All ASAPro webinars are free for ASA members, and most qualify for continuing education hours toward ASA certification renewal. To learn more and to register, visit