Shhhh… Job seekers should check out the library

The Vancouver Public Library resembles a good financial investor in its ability to investigate, analyze and react.


To that end, the days of book stacks and microfiches only are being replaced with resources for job seekers in the form of highly-detailed methods of honing in on specific sectors and industries.

While the standardized resume-building workshops and basic job search courses remain, the library now works alongside government and industry to help all demographics find work, re-enter the workforce or even acquaint themselves with Canadian workplace norms.

Sophie Middleton is the VPL’s acting manager of information services and helps to oversee what’s currently on offer, and what’s coming down the pike through the library’s Skilled Immigrant InfoCentre.

“There is a huge wealth of information that we have that people aren’t aware of that goes beyond a resumé,” Middleton said. “It’s for anyone who’s looking for jobs. These people want to know how to find unadvertised jobs, or the hidden job market, they want to look at new career options or learn more about all of our resources.”

The library’s employment guides are like pathfinders to finding jobs. More than 120 guides are offered for free online and in print. They cover sectors spanning engineering, computers, film and TV and a myriad of other options in varying levels of detail. And if a particular career path isn’t available, library staff can meet with patrons for one-on-one sessions to suss out those details.

“Most industries are covered on some level, and they get quite granular in some cases to cover very specific topic,” Middleton said. “They’re a great place to start to find out salaries, labour market information, synonyms for the job to help with searching and websites and associations representing those industries.

Around 30 career guides serve as almost companion pieces to the employment guides, and cover off on topics such as transferable skills, mentorship programs, workplace culture, recruitment agencies, apprenticeships.

Tips and workshops are even offered to help people refine their networking skills.

“There are conventions in Canadian work culture people may not be aware of,” Middleton said. “We as Canadians love to talk about the weather, so it’s about moving from that to being able to talk about industry-related questions or find out more about industry associations in a low-stress and supportive environment.” 

Those accessing the library’s job services come from all walks of life: old, young, men and women and recent immigrants. Some are just entering the workforce, others are opting to re-train for a different career path and others still want to know about entrepreneurship and going into business for themselves.

Nailing down emerging workforce trends isn’t as easy as identifying who’s accessing the library’s services, according to Middleton. Instead, as the economy goes, so goes those workplace patterns. As of late February, work in film and TV and “green jobs” were percolating with the public.

“We’re getting a little bit of everybody, but the vast majority are your regular Vancouverites coming in, looking for a bit of help with their job search process and to get a broads sense of what the resources available at the library are,” Middleton said.


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Climbing the Career Ladder with an Hourly Job

For the ninth month in a row, the national unemployment rate has remained below 5 percent, a clear indication that the economic recovery in the U.S. continues to progress. The results of a recent workforce survey by Snagajob and LinkedIn recognizes this development, and paints a positive picture of the overall employment situation.

Snagajob CEO Peter Harrison says the company's research highlights encouraging trends for hourly workers and managers.

"With a low unemployment rate, and a dramatic spike in the amount of open hourly positions and jobs, it's a job seeker's market right now," he stated. "As the competition between employers increase, this data helps hourly employers understand what workers want out of a job to help improve recruitment, improve engagement and reduce turnover."

Advancing your career in an hourly job

Based on Snagajob's research and engagement with 75 million hourly workers and nearly a half a million employers, one of the issues that came to the forefront was "a real need for resources to guide hourly workers through their employment journey," Harrison noted.

The workforce survey analyzed 16 business sectors and examined issues like employee engagement and how long it takes to get hired and promoted. It also provided insights on career growth opportunities and the advantages of having a well-rounded skillset.

The path to promotion

Among the skills that help workers advance in restaurant and retail careers are a basic understanding of finance, management and new store development skills. The restaurant industry tends to provide a faster path to managerial roles than retail, although, statistically, hourly workers in beverage, crafts and furniture businesses get promoted to managerial jobs the fastest.

Some specialized knowledge is necessary to advance in management positions, but a business education can help applicants gain a foundation and competitive edge for moving on to higher-level jobs.

Why recruiting skills matter

The ability to recruit and retain staff is the most universally valuable skillset in the restaurant and retail sector. The survey results also suggest that management candidates and trainees who show initiative in learning skills like recruiting, hiring, employee scheduling, staff development, and employee relations boost their chances for promotions. Other strengths that lead to career advancement and management opportunities include financial forecasting ability, operations management potential, and a proactive attitude toward improving bottom-line profits.

Getting hired quickly

Since financial need is often a primary motivator among hourly workers seeking employment, one of the metrics Snagajob focused on is hiring speed. As the report states, "For many hourly workers, getting a job quickly is the difference between being able to pay the bills or not."

On the average, the turnaround time for restaurant hiring is several days less than that of retail businesses. Restaurants average 15 to 27 days between the date of an application and the resulting job offer. The average lead time for retail stores is 33 days. One of the key takeaways in the report is that faster results can sometimes be produced by targeting certain types of businesses.

"If you're looking to get hired quickly, the data shows sandwich shops, sports stores and casual dining restaurants are your best bets – they hire the fastest among the 16 sectors we analyzed," said the report.

By focusing on objectives like increasing operational efficiency, improving training procedures, and developing practical marketing ideas for the business, hourly workers can position themselves for promotions, recognition, and upward mobility in their careers.

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Under Trump, unemployment rate rises for Black workers

During President Donald Trump’s first full month in office, the Black unemployment rate rose as the White unemployment rate fell, according to the latest jobs report.

Key employment indicators show that Black workers lost ground in February. The unemployment rate for Black workers increased from 7.7 percent in January to 8.1 percent in February. The labor force participation rate, which is the share of the population that is employed or looking for work, ticked down from 62.4 percent to 62.3 percent in February. The employment-population ratio, which is the share of the population that has jobs, also declined for Black workers from 57.5 percent to 57.3 percent in February.

Meanwhile, the White unemployment rate inched closer to 4 percent, decreasing from 4.3 percent in January to 4.1 percent in February. The labor force participation rate and the employment-population ratio for White workers also improved.

The jobless rate for White men 20 years-old and over dipped below 4 percent in February (3.8 percent). Even though the labor force participation rate for White men slipped from 72.1 percent to 72 percent, the employment-population ratio for White men increased from 69.2 percent in January to 69.3 percent last month.

The unemployment rate for White women 20 years-old and over decreased from 3.9 percent in January to 3.7 percent in February. The labor force participation rate and the employment-population ratio for White women also showed gains in February, which indicates that White women were able to join the labor market and find work at higher rates last month compared to January.

Black men fared worse than other adult groups in the job market last month.

The unemployment rate for Black men over 20 years-old increased from 7.3 percent in January to 7.8 percent in February. The labor force participation rate slipped from 68.1 percent in January to 67.8 percent in February. The employment-population ratio also declined, falling from 63.1 percent to 62.5 percent in February, the biggest decline for any adult group that month.

Not only did the unemployment rate for both Black men and women 20 years-old and over move in the opposite direction to their White counterparts, the share of Black men and women that looked for jobs and found work decreased from January to February.

Before his inauguration in January, President Donald Trump often questioned the Labor Department’s monthly jobs report, but when the latest report was released on March 10, White House officials expressed their enthusiasm about the results.

During the press briefing after February’s jobs report was released, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer was asked if President Trump believed that February’s jobs report was accurate.

Spicer answered, “[President Trump] said to quote him very clearly, ‘They may have been phony in the past, but it’s very real now.’”

Laughter was heard audibly in the White House Press Briefing Room.

Even as the White House appeared to be claiming another victory on the jobs front, Ben White, the chief economic correspondent for POLITICO and a CNBC contributor noted that February’s big jobs number was very similar to 2016 and 2015.

“Hard to see any Trump bump in these numbers. Nearly identical to last two Febs. Feb. 2015: 238K Feb 2016: 237K Feb. 2017: 235K,” White tweeted.

Others said that February’s jobs report was just a continuation of President Obama’s policies.

In a statement about the latest jobs report, Michael Madowitz, an economist for the Center for American Progress, said that the current Labor market trends originating in the Obama years continued this month, with 235,000 jobs added and the unemployment rate decreasing slightly to 4.7 percent.

“Since the employment recovery began in February 2010, we’ve added nearly 16 million jobs, and the steady tightening of the labor market has finally started to deliver wage growth for workers, increasing 2.8 percent over the past year,” Madowitz said in the statement. “These statistics show that the economy has continued to build on the foundation and success of the past few years and tell the story of the economy far more accurately than the Trump administration’s focus on the 30 large companies in the Dow.”

Madowitz continued: “In his first 49 days in office, President Donald Trump has discussed loosening oversight in financial markets, which may force the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates to prevent financial bubbles. Rolling back protections, updating overtime standards, and endangering Americans’ retirement savings have delighted Trump’s Wall Street and corporate base but are cold comfort for the American worker.”

In a statement about the February’s jobs report, Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.) said that President Trump inherited a growing economy from his predecessor.

“President Trump claimed he was handed ‘a mess’ by the Obama Administration, but we know that is not accurate,” said Scott. “Under President Obama the unemployment rate was cut in half while GDP and median income rose.”

Scott quickly pivoted to the embattled Affordable Care Act (ACA), adding that the Republican bill to repeal and replace the ACA would cause millions to lose their insurance, force families to pay more for fewer protections, defund Planned Parenthood, and give huge tax cuts to people in the top 1 percent.

Scott concluded: “[The Republicans] have gambled with families’ health care as they continue to undermine the Affordable Care Act and the insurance Marketplaces. They have put forward policy ideas that would weaken consumer protections and increase costs for families under ‘Trumpcare.’ Working families deserve better. Congressional Republicans and President Trump must change their course and actually begin working on solutions to build an economy that benefits all of America’s working families.” — (NNPA)


Weekly jobless claims fall less than expected

WASHINGTON, March 30 (Reuters) - - The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits fell less than expected last week, suggesting some loss of momentum in a labor market that continues to tighten.


Initial claims for state unemployment benefits slipped 3,000 to a seasonally adjusted 258,000 for the week ended March 25, the Labor Department said on Thursday. The prior week's data was unrevised.

Claims have now been below 300,000, a threshold associated with a healthy labor market, for 108 straight weeks. That is the longest stretch since 1970, when the labor market was smaller.

The labor market is currently near full employment.

A Labor Department analyst said there were no special factors influencing last week's claims data. Claims for Louisiana and Hawaii were estimated.

The four-week moving average of claims, considered a better measure of labor market trends as it irons out week-to-week volatility, increased 7,750 to 254,250 last week.

The labor market strength suggests that an apparent slowdown in economic growth at the start of year is probably temporary. The Atlanta Federal Reserve is forecasting gross domestic product rising at a 1.0 percent annualized rate in the first three months of 2017.

The economy grew at a 2.1 percent pace in the fourth quarter. Job growth has averaged 209,000 per month over the past three months and the unemployment rate is at 4.7 percent, close to the nine-year low of 4.6 percent hit last November.

Thursday's claims report also showed the number of people still receiving benefits after an initial week of aid increased 65,000 to 2.05 million in the week ended March 18. The four-week average of the so-called continuing claims fell 1,250 to 2.03 million, the lowest level since June 2000.

The continuing claims data covered the survey week for March's unemployment rate. The four-week average of claims fell 31,000 between the February and March survey periods, suggesting some improvement in the unemployment rate.

- The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits fell less than expected last week, suggesting some loss of momentum in a labor market that continues to tighten.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits slipped 3,000 to a seasonally adjusted 258,000 for the week ended March 25, the Labor Department said on Thursday. The prior week's data was unrevised.

Claims have now been below 300,000, a threshold associated with a healthy labor market, for 108 straight weeks. That is the longest stretch since 1970, when the labor market was smaller.

The labor market is currently near full employment.

A Labor Department analyst said there were no special factors influencing last week's claims data. Claims for Louisiana and Hawaii were estimated.

The four-week moving average of claims, considered a better measure of labor market trends as it irons out week-to-week volatility, increased 7,750 to 254,250 last week.

The labor market strength suggests that an apparent slowdown in economic growth at the start of year is probably temporary. The Atlanta Federal Reserve is forecasting gross domestic product rising at a 1.0 percent annualized rate in the first three months of 2017.

The economy grew at a 2.1 percent pace in the fourth quarter. Job growth has averaged 209,000 per month over the past three months and the unemployment rate is at 4.7 percent, close to the nine-year low of 4.6 percent hit last November.

Thursday's claims report also showed the number of people still receiving benefits after an initial week of aid increased 65,000 to 2.05 million in the week ended March 18. The four-week average of the so-called continuing claims fell 1,250 to 2.03 million, the lowest level since June 2000.

The continuing claims data covered the survey week for March's unemployment rate. The four-week average of claims fell 31,000 between the February and March survey periods, suggesting some improvement in the unemployment rate.

(Reporting by Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Paul Simao)


US weekly jobless claims total 261,000 vs 240,000 estimate

The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits unexpectedly rose last week, but remained below a level associated with a strengthening labor market.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased 15,000 to a seasonally adjusted 261,000 for the week ended March 18, the Labor Department said on Thursday.

Claims for the prior week were revised to show 5,000 more applications received than previously reported. The government revised the claims data going back to 2012 and published new seasonal factors for 2017. The revisions showed no significant change in the state of labor market.

Claims have now been below 300,000, a threshold associated with a healthy labor market for 80 straight weeks. That is the longest stretch since 1970 when the labor market was smaller. The labor market is currently near full employment.

A Labor Department analyst said there were no special factors influencing last week's claims data and no states had been estimated.

The four-week moving average of claims, considered a better measure of labor market trends as it irons out week-to-week volatility, rose 3,500 to 246,500 last week.

The claims data covered the period during which the government surveyed employers for March's nonfarm payrolls report.

The four-week average of claims fell 1,000 between the February and March survey weeks, suggesting another month of strong job gains.

Job growth has averaged 209,000 per month over the past three months and the unemployment rate is at 4.7 percent, close to the nine-year low of 4.6 percent hit last November. Tightening labor market conditions and rising inflation enabled the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates last week.

Thursday's claims report also showed the number of people still receiving benefits after an initial week of aid fell 35,000 to 2.0 million in the week ended March 11.

The four-week average of the so-called continuing claims declined 15,500 to 2.0 million.

CORRECTION: The Labor Department corrected data in this story to show weekly jobless claims at 261,000 instead of 258,000. Other figures from the Labor Department report were also corrected.

Hot or not? Discover this year's most in-demand jobs

Whether you just entered the career world or have been in the workforce for years, if you’re hunting for a new gig, it’s time to discover this year’s hottest jobs.

The 2017 Hot Jobs report, recently released by Randstad US, one of the largest HR services and staffing companies in the country, reveals the most in-demand and emerging jobs across engineering, finance and accounting, human resources, information technology (IT), life sciences, manufacturing and logistics, office and administration, and non-clinical healthcare.

“Our experts, along with many economists, predict a strong economy in 2017, which is likely to result in more job opportunities nationwide,” says Jim Link, chief human resources officer for Randstad North America. “It’s important to stay in-the-know to find out which jobs hold the greatest potential. Job seekers looking for career growth can improve their chances of landing these coveted roles by knowing employer pain points and packaging their skills and knowledge as potential solutions.”

To help candidates better understand what type of job market they face, Randstad is offering tips for landing a hot job.

• If you have a knack for science and technology, consider engineering. The industry continues to evolve based on market trends and technical innovation, and the unemployment rate for the overall field is well below the national average.

• Interested in finance and accounting? Beef up your public accounting and general ledger software skills to be more competitive. You’ll also have a leg up if you speak a second language, as the demand for bilingual candidates continues to rise.

• Passionate about working in a front or back office role within the healthcare system? Non-clinical healthcare is booming, with emerging jobs like medical secretary and medical assistant in facilities needing additional support.

• Discover new opportunities in life sciences by exploring positions flush with research and development funding. With continued innovations in medical technology, the changing regulatory environment and upcoming patent expirations, the industry requires highly specialized talent to fill open voids.

• Be the IT guy and consider a job in Big Data. While IT is an ever-growing industry, Big Data positions are critical to increasing productivity, and innovation is in high demand.

• As office and administration roles grow, these positions are starting to look more like middle management than support staff. If you possess diverse skills with experience in project management, budgeting, marketing and training, you’ll have the upper hand.

• New technology and innovative production systems are sparking a rebirth in American manufacturing and logistics. Job seekers with previous experience, higher education, technological know-how or training will have a competitive edge.

• As employers seek new talent to fill all these hot jobs, consider being the human in human resources. A field with rapid technological advancements, professionals with a digital mindset will lead the pack.

For full study results, visit Randstad’s 2017 Hot Jobs report and learn more about which industry or position is right for you.

State of the News Media 2016

Eight years after the Great Recession sent the U.S. newspaper industry into a tailspin, the pressures facing America’s newsrooms have intensified to nothing less than a reorganization of the industry itself, one that impacts the experiences of even those news consumers unaware of the tectonic shifts taking place.

In 2015, the newspaper sector had perhaps the worst year since the recession and its immediate aftermath. Average weekday newspaper circulation, print and digital combined, fell another 7% in 2015, the greatest decline since 2010. While digital circulation crept up slightly (2% for weekday), it accounts for only 22% of total circulation. And any digital subscription gains or traffic increases have still not translated into game-changing revenue solutions. In 2015, total advertising revenue among publicly traded companies declined nearly 8%, including losses not just in print, but digital as well.

The industry supports nearly 33,000 full-time newsroom employees. Indeed, newspapers employ 32% of daily reporters stationed in Washington, D.C. to cover issues and events tied to Congress, as well as 38% of the reporters who cover statehouse legislatures. Still, smaller budgets have continued to lead to smaller newsrooms: The latest newspaper newsroom employment figures (from 2014) show 10% declines, greater than in any year since 2009, leaving a workforce that is 20,000 positions smaller than 20 years prior. And the cuts keep coming: Already in 2016, at least 400 cuts, buyouts or layoffs have been announced. Ownership trends show further signs of devaluation as three newspaper companies – E.W. Scripps, Journal Communications and Gannett – are now one. And the recently renamed Tribune Publishing Co. spent much of the spring of 2016 fending off an attempt by Gannett to purchase them as well.

Print newspapers, to be sure, have a core audience and subscriber base that the industry hopes will buy enough time to help ease the digital transition. But recent data suggests the hourglass may be nearing empty: A January 2016 Pew Research Center survey found that just 5% of U.S. adults who had learned about the presidential election in the past week named print newspapers as their “most helpful” source – trailing nearly every other category by wide margins, including cable, local and national TV, radio, social media and news websites. (About one-third got at least some election news from a print paper, which again trailed nearly every other category.)


The three television-based news sectors face serious challenges but have benefitted from the fact that despite all the growth in digital, including a surge in digital video developments over the last year, large swaths of the public – and thus advertisers – remain drawn to that square box in the middle of the room. Cable and network TV both saw revenue growth in 2015. Network TV grew ad revenues by 6% in the evening and 14% in the morning. Cable increased both ad revenue and subscriber revenue for a total growth of 10% and saw profit gains as well. Local ad revenue, which follows a cyclical pattern tied to election-year ad spending, was down compared with the election year of 2014 but on par with the last non-election year of 2013 and higher than the last presidential primary year (2011). Additionally, retransmission revenue is expected to reach $6.3 billion in 2015, five times that of 2010.

Despite current financial strength, though, TV-based news can’t ignore the public’s pull toward digital. The contentious presidential primary helped spur cable prime time viewership 8% above 2014 levels, but those audience gains followed a year of declines across the board in 2014. And, while network TV newscasts had a mixed year – morning news audience declined while evening remained about steady – local TV news lost audience in every major timeslot. More broadly, a 2015 Pew Research Center survey suggests that as many as one-in-seven Americans have turned away from cable or satellite TV subscriptions. This “cord cutting” has implications not just for cable but for any network or station that benefits from the pay TV system. This coincides with a growing digital video ad market, which has attracted the interest of publishers. The Center’s survey data reveal that dramatic generational differences already exist, with those under 30 much less likely than those 30+ to watch any of the three programming streams. Instead, younger adults are more likely to name social media as a main source of news. Even beyond the young, fully 62% of U.S. adults overall now get news on social media sites – many of which took steps over the last year to enhance their streaming video capabilities.

With audience challenges already in view and few immediate financial incentives to innovate, the dilemma facing the TV news business bears an eerie resemblance to the one faced by the newspaper industry a decade ago, except for the fact that the digital realm is much more developed and defined today.

It has been evident for several years that the financial realities of the web are not friendly to news entities, whether legacy or digital only. There is money being made on the web, just not by news organizations. Total digital ad spending grew another 20% in 2015 to about $60 billion, a higher growth rate than in 2013 and 2014. But journalism organizations have not been the primary beneficiaries. In fact, compared with a year ago, even more of the digital ad revenue pie – 65% – is swallowed up by just five tech companies. None of these are journalism organizations, though several – including Facebook, Google, Yahoo and Twitter – integrate news into their offerings. And while much of this concentration began when ad spending was mainly occurring on desktops platforms, it quickly took root in the rapidly growing mobile realm as well.

Increasingly, the data suggest that the impact these technology companies are having on the business of journalism goes far beyond the financial side, to the very core elements of the news industry itself. In the predigital era, journalism organizations largely controlled the news products and services from beginning to end, including original reporting; writing and production; packaging and delivery; audience experience; and editorial selection. Over time, technology companies like Facebook and Apple have become an integral, if not dominant player in most of these arenas, supplanting the choices and aims of news outlets with their own choices and goals.

The ties that now bind these tech companies to publishers began in many ways as lifelines for news organizations struggling to find their way in a new world. First tech companies created new pathways for distribution, in the form of search engines and email. The next industry overlap involved the financial model, with the creation of ad networks and app stores, followed by developments that impact audience engagement (Instant Articles, Apple News and Google’s AMP). Now, the recent accusations regarding Facebook editors’ possible involvement in “trending topics” selections have shined a spotlight on technology companies’ integral role in the editorial process. The accusations, whether true or not, highlighted the human element involved in any machine learning tool, not only Facebook’s. The messaging app Snapchat reports having about 75 editorial-level staff members and announced in mid-May that they will begin using an algorithm for news story selections.

Original reporting and writing are the two industry roles largely left to news organizations (though there are a handful that are using machines to produce news). None of the others carry much worth without these two key elements – so these roles are in some ways critical to tech companies. But it is also true – and some nonprofits have found this in their struggle to get audiences – that well-reported news stories are also not worth much without the power of strong distribution and curation channels. What is less clear is how the tug and pull between tech and journalism companies will evolve to support each other as necessary parts of the whole, and what this rebuilt industry will ultimately mean for the public’s ability to stay informed.

These are some of the findings of Pew Research Center’s 2016 State of the News Media report, now in its 13th year. This is the Center’s annual analysis of the state of the organizations that produce the news and make news available to the public day in and day out. Understanding the industry in turn allows researchers to ask and answer important questions about the relationship between information and democracy. Within this report we provide data on 13 separate segments of the news industry, each with its own data-filled fact sheet. Each individual fact sheet contains embeddable graphics that also link to a full database of roughly 80 charts and tables that pull from roughly 20 different sources. This overview highlights and weaves together audience, economic, newsroom investment and ownership trends across the industry.

Other news sectors than those talked about above had mixed years. In ethnic media, Hispanic print weeklies saw some circulation growth, but the major Hispanic dailies all declined and the largest TV network’s news programs lost both audience and revenue. The number of black newspapers remained at roughly 200, though there is evidence of further audience decline. In the digital space, The Root – a leading black-oriented news site – was acquired by Univision Communications in a bid to expand its audience. NPR erased its years-long operating deficit and expanded its digital offerings, including three new podcasts in 2015. The 14 news magazines studied here varied dramatically in their print and digital audience figures, though digital figures are harder than ever to gauge with the greater use of platforms such as Texture, which provide consumers with bundled access to multiple magazines. There is no audited, sector-wide audience or financial data for digital-native news outlets such as the Huffington Post and Vox, but what the Center is able to collect suggests growth in total audience and time spent on these websites. Beyond their home pages, these sites are also pouring efforts into social media, mobile apps and even giving a resurgence to email newsletters. Podcast programming and listenership grew again in 2015, though podcasts overall (beyond just news) still reach a minority of Americans (36%) and bring in a fraction of revenue compared with other news genres.

There were also, in the past year, some exciting developments and experiments in the original reporting and storytelling in the digital realm by those producing original reporting. Several news outlets including The New York Times and The Des Moines Register are experimenting with virtual reality journalism that can let consumers “experience” the news themselves; others like the Washington Post and Quartz have built “chatbots,” which (like Apple’s Siri or Microsoft’s Cortana) provide personalized, interactive headlines through texts or mobile messaging services like Facebook Messenger; ProPublica has delved into the big data space, including a deep examination of how criminal profile algorithms are biased; and Univision Digital launched Univision Beta, in collaboration with MIT – experimenting with new ways to tell stories, especially on social and messaging platforms such as their new hub for their online election reporting, Destino 2016.

But even for these, the lines of dependencies with technology companies are deep. As these lines continue to solidify it will be important to keep in mind that the result is about far more than who captures the upper hand or the revenue base. It is determining how and with what kinds of storytelling Americans learn about the issues and events facing society and the world.


Chicago Area Employment — November 2016

Chicago Area Employment — November 2016

Local Rate of Employment Growth Below National Average

Total nonfarm employment for the Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, Ill.-Ind.-Wis. Metropolitan Statistical Area stood at 4,698,000 in November 2016, up 37,900, or 0.8 percent, over the year, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. During the same period, the national job count increased 1.6 percent. Assistant Commissioner for Regional Operations Charlene Peiffer noted that the Chicago metropolitan area has had over-the-year employment increases each month since October 2010. (See chart 1 and table 1; the Technical Note at the end of this release contains metropolitan area definitions. All data in this release are not seasonally adjusted; accordingly, over-the-year analysis is used throughout.)

The Chicago metropolitan area is made up of four metropolitan divisions—separately identifiable employment centers within the larger metropolitan area. The Chicago-Naperville-Arlington Heights Metropolitan Division, which accounted for 80 percent of the area’s workforce, added 26,400 jobs from November a year ago. Employment in the Gary, Ind. Metropolitan Division increased by 4,900, while employment in the Elgin, Ill. Metropolitan Division and the Lake County-Kenosha County, Ill.-Wis. Metropolitan Division grew by 3,600 and 3,000, respectively, over the year.

Industry employment

In the greater Chicago metropolitan area, professional and business services had the largest employment gain from November 2015 to November 2016, adding 23,200 jobs. The Chicago area’s 2.9-percent growth in professional and business services employment matched the nationwide increase. While all four divisions added jobs in this supersector over the year, the Elgin division had the fastest rate of job growth, at 9.2 percent. (See chart 2.)

Leisure and hospitality employment increased by 12,100 since November 2015, the second-largest gain in the Chicago area. Local employment growth in the supersector was concentrated in the Chicago division which added 12,600 jobs. The local rate of job growth, at 2.7 percent, was greater than the national advance of 1.9 percent.

Three other supersectors in the Chicago area each gained 3,000 or more jobs since last November—construction (+4,000), trade, transportation, and utilities (+3,300), and government (+3,000). The 2.3-percent local rate of job growth in construction was similar to the nationwide increase of 2.4 percent. The Chicago area’s 0.3-percent growth in trade, transportation, and utilities employment was less than the nationwide increase of 1.2 percent. The local rate of job gain in government was 0.5 percent compared to the national increase of 1.0 percent.

In contrast, three supersectors in the Chicago area lost more than 1,000 jobs each since last November—financial activities (-6,500), information (-3,300), and manufacturing (-1,900). Nationally, the financial activities and information supersectors added jobs. The local rate of job loss in manufacturing, down 0.5 percent, was similar to the 0.4-percent job loss rate for the nation. In Chicago, the manufacturing supersector has had over-the-year employment decreases each month since June 2016.

Employment in the 12 largest metropolitan areas

Chicago was 1 of the nation’s 12 largest metropolitan statistical areas in November 2016. All 12 areas experienced over-the-year job growth during the period, with the rates of growth in 7 areas exceeding the national average of 1.6 percent. The fastest rate of job growth was in Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, 3.3 percent, followed by Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell at 2.6 percent. Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land had the slowest rate of job growth, up 0.5 percent. (See chart 3 and table 2.)

The New York-Newark-Jersey City area added the largest number of jobs, 117,300, since November 2015. The Dallas and Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim areas also added over 100,000 jobs each. Houston had the smallest employment gain, adding 16,100 jobs over the 12-month period.

Two supersectors accounted for most of the job growth in the 12 largest areas. Professional and business services added the most jobs in five areas—Atlanta, Chicago, Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, and Washington-Arlington-Alexandria. Education and health services added the most jobs in five other areas—Boston-Cambridge-Nashua, Los Angeles, New York, Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, and San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward.

Manufacturing had the largest over-the-year loss of jobs in four areas—Boston, Dallas, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.

Metropolitan area employment data for December 2016 are scheduled to be released on Tuesday, January 24, 2017.


Technical Note

This release presents nonfarm payroll employment estimates from the Current Employment Statistics (CES) program. The CES survey is a Federal-State cooperative endeavor between State employment security agencies and the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Definitions. Employment data refer to persons on establishment payrolls who receive pay for any part of the pay period which includes the 12th of the month. Persons are counted at their place of work rather than at their place of residence; those appearing on more than one payroll are counted on each payroll. Industries are classified on the basis of their principal activity in accordance with the 2012 version of the North American Industry Classification System.

Method of estimation. The employment data are estimated using a "link relative" technique in which a ratio (link relative) of current-month employment to that of the previous month is computed from a sample of establishments reporting for both months. The estimates of employment for the current month are obtained by multiplying the estimates for the previous month by these ratios. Small-domain models are used as the official estimators for approximately 39 percent of CES published series which have insufficient sample for direct sample-based estimates.

Annual revisions. Employment estimates are adjusted annually to a complete count of jobs, called benchmarks, derived principally from tax reports which are submitted by employers who are covered under state unemployment insurance (UI) laws. The benchmark information is used to adjust the monthly estimates between the new benchmark and the preceding one and also to establish the level of employment for the new benchmark month. Thus, the benchmarking process establishes the level of employment, and the sample is used to measure the month-to-month changes in the level for the subsequent months.

Reliability of the estimates. The estimates presented in this release are based on sample survey and administrative data and thus are subject to sampling and other types of errors. Sampling error is a measure of sampling variability—that is, variation that occurs by chance because a sample rather than the entire population is surveyed. Survey data are also subject to nonsampling errors, such as those which can be introduced into the data collection and processing operations. Estimates not directly derived from sample surveys are subject to additional errors resulting from the special estimation processes used. The sums of individual items may not always equal the totals shown in the same tables because of rounding.

Employment estimates. Measures of sampling error are available for metropolitan areas or metropolitan divisions upon request. Measures of sampling error for states down to the supersector level are available on the BLS website at Information on recent benchmark revisions is available online at

Area definitions. The substate area data published in this release reflect the delineations issued by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget on February 28, 2013. A detailed list of the geographic definitions is available at

The Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, Ill.-Ind.-Wis. Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) includes Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Grundy, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry, and Will Counties in Illinois; Jasper, Lake, Newton, and Porter Counties in Indiana; and Kenosha County in Wisconsin.

  • The Chicago-Naperville-Arlington Heights, Ill. Metropolitan Division (MD) includes Cook, DuPage, Grundy, Kendall, McHenry, and Will Counties in Illinois.
  • The Elgin, Ill. Metropolitan Division (MD) includes DeKalb and Kane Counties.
  • The Lake County-Kenosha County, Ill.-Wis. Metropolitan Division (MD) includes Lake County in Illinois and Kenosha County in Wisconsin.
  • The Gary, Ind. Metropolitan Division (MD) includes Jasper, Lake, Newton, and Porter Counties in Indiana.

Creating An Effective Resume When You Lack The Required Credentials

Creating an effective, "targeted" resume is the first step to getting a great job. But what do you do when you know you've found the perfect job and your credentials aren't quite right?

In this age of specialization, it is highly advisable to tailor your resume to the specific position you're applying for. After all, a general resume may not indicate the specific skills and accomplishments that would help you to achieve success in a given position. Creating a "targeted" resume simply makes sense from a business standpoint. It recognizes the fact that prospective employers are looking for specific qualifications when they're attempting to find a pool of candidates to interview for an advertised job.

But while a customized resume can be desirable in theory, it can be challenging from a practical viewpoint. After all, the process of resume revamping can be arduous and time-consuming. It can also be difficult to come up with the right list of keywords that will make an employer take special notice of your resume.

Perhaps the greatest challenge, however, occurs when you lack the credentials that an employer is looking for. While you obviously don't want to lie, indicating that you possess credentials that you actually lack, you don't want to call attention to your lack of experience or lack of education, either. Therefore, you're faced with a difficult dilemma: How do you market yourself effectively on your resume when, at first glance, you may not be the obvious candidate for the job, when you don't have the right degree?

It is actually not an uncommon problem for a job applicant to lack the desired degree for a given position. For instance, there are a number of mid-level managers who are highly effective at their jobs, who have years of real-world experience, but who never received Master's Degrees in Business Administration. Perhaps they simply did not have time to pursue an advanced degree because of their work schedules, or because family concerns prevented them from furthering their education.

Although the bachelor's degree has become standard in the workplace, not every employee even highly dedicated, motivated employees' has one. Granted, in a number of situations, the lack of a BA can be a major obstacle, since many jobs require specific knowledge or critical thinking skills that are most effectively developed in college. However, in an area like sales, a college degree can be less of a handicap. This is because many managers are more interested in an applicant's sales record rather than his or her business degree. In fact, corporate recruiters say that, the longer you've been in a given profession, the less important your degree becomes. What really matters is your professional accomplishments.

If you're in a situation where you don't have the specific degree recommended for a position, write your resume in such a way that you highlight those work-related achievements that might set you apart from the competition. Make sure that you include a summary of key career milestones at the top of your resume. And include information about professional accomplishments within the descriptions of duties for the various positions you've held. A prospective employer may be so overwhelmed by your record of achievement that he or she is willing to waive the degree requirement.

Also, if you are currently taking college courses in the hopes of completing a degree program, be sure to place the phrase "degree in progress" in the educational section of the resume. This shows that you are committed to furthering your education.  A manager may also be impressed by your desire to obtain a degree and may actually help you to achieve that goal if you secure the position. If You Lack Sufficient Experience

You may be attracted to a position that would be highly challenging and professionally satisfying yet you may not have the years of relevant experience recommended in the want ad. This is an all too-common problem in today's workplace. While there is, in fact, no substitute for experience, it is possible to thrive in a job that you've had less-than-perfect preparation for.

But how do you convince a prospective employer of that fact? In some cases, you can make your case by stressing the quality of your experience over the quantity of years you've had in a given field. For instance, by highlighting the fact that you've worked as second-in-command of a successful business, you can negate an employer's concerns that you haven't really been in business that long. Describing your duties in a captivating way may cause an employer to forgive the fact that you have not yet put in the ten years experience recommended for a given position.

Another effective technique is by showing an employer how experience in an unrelated job has uniquely prepared you for the job at hand. For instance, take the case of an enterprising job applicant who wanted to become a chapter development director for a non-profit organization with chapters of volunteers throughout the state. The applicant was a long-time veteran of the business world, but she had never worked in chapter development. Yet, she managed to secure the desired position because she had a well-crafted resume that mentioned her highly developed organizational skills, her ability to network well with other people, and the entrepreneurial experience she gained when she ran her own home-based business. Think of Your Resume as a Sales Tool.  

Finally, it is important for you to keep in mind that your resume can serve as an effective sales tool, the most important tool you have in selling your candidacy to an employer. Do not underestimate your skills or your achievements present them in the best possible light. An employer should be drawn to your resume because it is professional looking, succinct, and effective in communicating the message that you would be an impressive candidate for a given position. In other words, it is important that you do not under-sell yourself, simply because you lack one or more of the credentials listed in a position description. Think creatively and try to find ways to showcase skills that might be applicable to the position. If you produce the most appealing resume you can, the chances that you will get the job you want will increase significantly.


Avoiding The "No Pile"

Employers are spending 20-30 seconds skimming over your resume. We've compiled some tips to help you avoid rejection and make it to the "yes" pile.

The last time you applied for a job and didn't get an interview, was your resume tossed on the "no" pile after someone skimmed it for only a few seconds, or did the employer read it carefully and you just missed making the cut?

Seventy recruiters met recently at the University of Calgary's Haskayne School of Business to discuss what can make or break a resume. The recruiters represented a variety of industries including oil and gas, tourism, technology and financial services, and some of what they revealed may surprise you.

An employer may review 100 or more resumes in an hour, spending only 20-30 seconds on each one. "Recognize that most employers are using the resume to screen you out rather than to select you in," says Derek Chapman, Ph.D., professor of industrial organization and psychology at the Haskayne School of Business.

Getting Attention

"If you don't catch my eye, you're out," one recruiter said. That doesn't mean you should use bright pink paper or multi-colored lettering, but several recruiters said they don't mind applicants including a photo. Creative photos (such as the shot an applicant included of herself in a snow suit with snowmen on either side and a caption saying "I'm the one in the middle") might help land the interview.

However, Chapman cautions against including a photo. "A photo can be used to screen you out on the basis of your sex, age, national or ethnic origin, etc. If someone hires you for your good looks, are you sure you want to work for that supervisor?"

Name Dropping

A better way to catch an employer's eye is to include names of well-known companies you have worked for. As one recruiter explained, if you previously worked for a reputable company, it enhances your application "because they have some standards." Employers are likely to assume you will be a good employee because you successfully passed that company's hiring process and were well-trained. If you haven't been employed by any large companies, consider doing an internship or volunteer work for a well-known organization.

Surprisingly, "name dropping" only works when mentioning companies. The recruiters said they are turned off when an applicant writes in a cover letter that they were referred by someone such as a company executive. The employers said if someone really thinks you are a good applicant that person should deliver the resume to the recruiter or phone on your behalf.

Resume Mistakes

While employers want resumes that are error-free, making a mistake such as addressing your cover letter to the wrong company won't necessarily disqualify you from the job. Of course, it depends on the employer. For some recruiters, that kind of mistake is inexcusable. However, many others will allow one or two mistakes -- even stapling the second page upside down -- as long as you have the right qualifications.

To minimize mistakes, proofread your resume. Your spell-checker doesn't know you meant to say "manager" instead of "manger".

Another surprise is that about one-third of the recruiters at the session said they do not read cover letters. To make sure your important information doesn't get overlooked, it should be in your resume.

Making the "Yes" Pile

Here are some additional tips to help you make the "yes" pile:

  • Have a conventional e-mail address. Your name is fine; or are not.
  • Tailor your resume to each job you apply for. Make sure it shows you have the skills the employer is seeking for that particular position.
  • Use lots of white space and bullet points to help information stand out.
  • Include interests that are relevant to the job. If you are applying for a job in agriculture, for example, show that you have rural roots.
  • If you are submitting an electronic resume use a standard format such as Word to ensure it can be opened.
  • Don't disclose irrelevant personal information. ("I don't want to know you are 5'6," and weigh 195 pounds" one employer said.)

    State your accomplishments rather than just your responsibilities. "For example, simply stating: 'Managed a budget of $200,000 annually for training and development' is not nearly as powerful as 'Reduced training and development costs by 20 percent while maintaining the quality and quantity of training provided to employees'," Chapman says.

    "Placing positive information at the very beginning and again at the very end of the resume helps keep the employer's attention and capitalizes on the psychological principles of memory to work in your favor," Chapman says. "Remember, most employers are only skimming your resume at first to make a preliminary decision. Make sure they can find your information easily."

    Tag and Catherine Goulet, "The Breaking In Experts," are co-CEOs of, a leading publisher of career guides offering step-by-step advice for breaking into a variety of dream careers. Visit