U.S. job openings hit record high; workers more scarce

Via Reuters:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. job openings surged to a record high in December, led by vacancies in the construction and accommodation and food services sectors, strengthening analysts’ views that the economy was running out of workers.

While the release of the Labor Department’s monthly Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, or JOLTS, on Tuesday underscored labor market strength, there are worries the shortage of workers could hurt an economic expansion that has lasted 9-1/2 years and is the second longest on record.

“The labor market continues to heat up,” said Chris Rupkey, chief economist at MUFG in New York. “But growth cannot continue for much longer if there is no one out there to work in the factories and shops and malls across America.”

Job openings, a measure of labor demand, increased by 169,000 to a seasonally adjusted 7.3 million in December, the highest reading since the series started in 2000. That lifted the job openings rate to 4.7 percent from 4.6 percent in November.

Construction vacancies increased by 88,000 jobs in December. There were an additional 84,000 jobs in the accommodation and food services sector. Job openings in the healthcare and social assistance sector rose by 79,000 in December.

Federal government vacancies, however, fell by 32,000 jobs and job openings in real estate, rental and leasing dropped 31,000 in December.

Hiring continued to lag job openings in December, rising to 5.9 million from 5.8 million in November. That further widened the gap between vacancies and hiring, which emerged in 2015, reflecting tightening labor market conditions. There were 1.2 job openings for every unemployed person in December.


Anecdotal evidence has been growing of companies experiencing difficulties finding workers. A survey of small businesses published on Tuesday found that almost a quarter of owners reported that difficulties finding qualified workers as their “single most important business problem” in January.

According to the survey from the National Federation of Independent Business, 35 percent of small business owners reported job openings they could not fill in January.

The labor market has enjoyed a record 100 straight months of job gains, with nonfarm payrolls increasing by 304,000 jobs in January, the most since February 2018. But as workers become more scarce, job growth is expected to slow to around 150,000 per month this year.

Economists believe the dearth of workers will drive up wage growth, even though the number of workers voluntarily quitting their jobs has remained steady.

“The diminishing availability of workers is expected to lead to more upward pressure on wages, bring more workers into the labor force and induce more companies to find ways to produce and service their customers with automated processes,” said Sophia Koropeckyj, a senior economist at Moody’s Analytics in West Chester, Pennsylvania.

The JOLTS report showed the number of workers voluntarily quitting their jobs was little changed at 3.5 million in December, keeping the quits rate at 2.3 percent for a third straight month. The quits rate is viewed by policymakers and economists as a measure of job market confidence.

There were increases in the number of workers quitting their jobs in professional and business services and in the health care and social assistance sectors. But these were offset by declines in several industries and the government.

“With a labor market this tight, you may expect the quits rate to be going up or at a higher level already,” said Nick Bunker, an economist at Indeed Hiring Lab. “The big question is whether this a temporary lull, or if the quits rate has hit its high point.”

Layoffs fell in December, pushing the layoffs rate down to 1.1 percent from 1.2 percent in November.

Applications for U.S. unemployment aid fall to 49-year low

via philly.com…

The number of people seeking jobless benefits dropped last week to the lowest level since November 1969, a sign the job market remains strong.

The Labor Department said Thursday that weekly applications for unemployment aid declined 13,000 to a seasonally adjusted 199,000. The four-week average, a less volatile figure, dropped 5,500 to 215,000.

The tally of furloughed federal employees requesting unemployment aid jumped to 25,419, more than double the previous week. Those figures are tracked in a separate category and aren’t included in the overall figures.

Weekly applications for jobless aid are a proxy for layoffs. The data suggests employers are confident enough about the economy to hold onto their workers. The unemployment claims data is one of the few economic reports still being released by the government because the Labor Department was funded before the shutdown and is still open.

Many companies are desperate for workers to respond to solid customer demand, which makes them reluctant to cut staff, even if something like the shutdown disturbs their business.

Most economists forecast that the shutdown will weigh on the economy in the first three months of the year. Depending on when it ends, growth could slow to a 1.5 percent to 2 percent annual pace in the first quarter, down from 3.4 percent in the final three months of last year.

If it lasts through March, growth could even fall to zero, Kevin Hassett, the chairman of the White House’s Council of Economic Advisers, acknowledged Wednesday on CNN. Some private-sector economists agree.

Last month, employers engaged in a burst of hiring, adding 312,000 jobs, while the unemployment rate rose to 3.9 percent from 3.7 percent. But that increase mostly reflected a positive trend — a surge of Americans coming off the sidelines to look for work. Not all immediately found jobs, which lifted the number of unemployed.

Top Accounting Recruiting Agencies Are Worth Engaging In 2018

With top candidates staying on the market for 10 days or less, locating and hiring qualified talent is becoming increasingly difficult in the accounting industry. Recruiters and hiring managers know the best accountants are on the market for a matter of hours, not days. Gone are the times of making a hiring decision between top candidates over the course of several weeks or months, leaving employers in need of a fresh approach to traditional hiring methods. In today’s candidate-driven market, having a partner who can represent your brand, speak for your culture, and effectively source hard-to-fill positions is priceless.
Enter the value of a recruitment firm. Formerly considered only an option for hiring executives, recruitment firms within the accounting industry are providing hiring managers the opportunity to focus on their core business objectives while gaining a business partner who delivers quality candidates to the pipeline.
A Fresh Approach
Traditionally, recruitment firms have been used to fill high profile, executive-level positions. However, expanding this to include all levels of roles, from entry level to the C-suite is very valuable. Companies realize accountants at every level play a significant role in their organization. They’ve seen first-hand the value of swiftly implementing a first-rate candidate and what it can mean for future growth both financially and culturally. Engaging a recruiting firm ensures the speed and quality you should expect but takes the level one step farther.
Advantages of Engaging a Search Firm 
Time Savings
When companies have exhausted their internal recruiting resources, they often see value in outsourcing hiring for open positions. However, working with multiple recruiting firms can be draining. At best, the phone rings off the hook with recruiters pitching their qualified (or even unqualified) candidates, inboxes overflow with resumes, and the interview process becomes all-consuming until a hire is made. At worst, hiring for open positions cuts into the time spent working on projects, decreasing production-levels and triggering missed deadlines, without yielding a long-term hire. With engaging Accountants For You, companies commit to partnering with one recruiting firm who understands the culture and business needs, which cuts down on the time hiring managers spend reviewing resumes and interviewing mediocre candidates.
Cost Savings
Most companies task their internal recruitment or procurement teams with finding talent across a wide range of positions while adhering to a strict hiring process and set of internal guidelines. With today’s candidate-driven market, those hiring processes will often operate too slowly to secure top talent, resulting in the loss of valuable production time as the search continues. Engaging with a personalized hiring consultant takes the guesswork out of the process, making the talent search much more targeted and efficient.
Quality of Hire
A dedicated recruitment partner has access to engage the higher quality talent whether on or off the market. Passive candidates are unlikely to be exposed to opportunities through job boards and other more traditional recruiting methods. They’re much more likely to find their new role through word-of-mouth or networking, and a specialized recruiting firm engages their expansive network to target them. Engaging with a specialized recruitment partner ensures priority with a first look at that qualified talent. This is especially valuable when filling niche, critical roles.
Recruitment firms are revolutionizing the accounting staffing industry by building partnerships between recruiting agencies and organizations with sights set toward both short-term and long-term goals. It eliminates much of the risk associated with filling important positions internally because getting it wrong can set a project back months (or longer) and have significant revenue consequences for the business. Recruitment firms offer exclusive access to a large pool of qualified, passive candidates. It can be employed for a single placement or a batch of hires and depending on the agreement, can provide a guarantee of service and/or quality. A recruiting agency becomes an extension of an organization’s hiring arm and can be a powerful and efficient tool ensuring technical hiring needs are met
Office staff member taking notes.

Career lessons from working in an office

An office is an incredibly beneficial area to work. Almost every industry features clerical work as an essential component. And for young people just starting their careers, there are many ways to get into their selected industry. One way is to start out as an office staff member. Although the setting may not seem as appealing as other jobs, there are a lot of benefits that come with working behind a desk. Here are just some of those perks to look forward to.


Investing in your future

To be honest, being an accountant or an office staff assistant can often be very dull. There are a lot of numbers and logistical information that need to be tackled on a regular basis. But in order to make it in most companies, the ability to organize and use that information is imperative to the future of your career. This is often true in branding and creative agencies. You have to learn how to use the tools before you can start playing with them. Working as an accountant or office assistant will help provide such training.


Lessons within the practice

Take for instance if you wanted to be a writer for a big brand agency. You will likely start out as an assistant. Your job may require you to organize content for SEO. That might not be exactly what you had in mind, but it teaches you the fundamentals of writing content. You will need to learn the importance of deadlines, as well as writing within a fast paced environment. Think of it as a training ground for your dream job.


Balance between co-workers

Another thing that you will learn while in the office is the power of working as a team. It might sound cliché, but it is paramount to any future leadership position. A true leader knows how each of their employees’ works and has a respect for their individual style. So you will have to learn how to work alongside each of your teammates. This includes everyone from the floor manager to the accountant. Even if you are not looking to be the leader of the firm, you will still have people work around. One of the most important lessons an office can teach you is how much your responsibility trickles over onto other people.


With these lessons in your back pocket, you will be able to move forward into whatever career you wish. For more information on if you are fit to join an office staff position, be sure to check out our skills assessment and training page. For any more questions not found on our website, please feel free to contact Accountants for You.

Office staff worker taking notes.

Top 5 disciplines for working in an office setting

Whether or not you are a permanent or temporary office staff worker, the job can often be challenging. When it comes to maintaining a consistently good work ethic, it is always wise to practice a few essential disciplines. With these disciplines, you will find your office job to be a lot more productive than you anticipated.


Goal Organization

Set aside some time to just sit down and map out your goals. This can be for every day, every week, and/or every month. Your calendar makes a huge difference since it allows you to know when every assignment is due. It seems like an obvious discipline. However, it is absolutely necessary for a healthy state of mind. Both permanent and temporary office staff workers require an organized foundation.


Prioritize the load

Once you have your calendar down and ready, you will need to prioritize your work. You will often find multiple things due on the same day. Whether the projects are big or small, always put your main assignments first. After that, you can take care of the next thing. With no situation being perfect, this might mean that you have to put something off for the next day. But that is okay as long as you get the main priority assignments done.


Adapt the work to your personal flow

Part of prioritizing and staying organized is making sure that you can work at a good pace. Generally, your boss won’t mind how you work as long as you get the work done on time. In this case, try to find your own personal flow as an office staff worker. Some people like using two computer monitors instead of just one. Others prefer having some files on paper. The key is your personal style of organization. This could also include how you decorate your office. You want it to be a positive work environment. So, therefore, it is a smart idea to decorate your desk with some personal encouragement (if your company allows it). This could be anything; a picture of your family, a bobble-head, or just a colorful aesthetic. The whole purpose of your work sanctuary is to make you both comfortable and confident enough to complete your assignments. Even if you are working as temporary office staff, it is still a good idea to decorate your desk.


Take your break

A good policy is to keep your work and personal life separate. You can easily get antsy if you excessively take your work back home with you. You are only being paid for certain work hours, so don’t feel guilty about enjoying your time off. That time is necessary. This is the reason you are given breaks in between the day. People are not meant to be worked to the bone in unreasonable amounts of time. If you set aside some time to breathe, you may find yourself more energized to complete your assignments for the day.


These tips may seem simple, but they can mean the whole difference between a positive and a negative office work environment. For more information finding your own clerical job, please see our staffing positions. For any additional help, please feel free to contact us here.

Customer service staff member.

The Importance of Customer Service Staff

There are many important staffing positions in today’s industries. But the value of customer service often goes overlooked. Each customer service staff member is essentially a brand ambassador; they are the ones who personally meet with the clients. They have the opportunity to either grow or weaken the company that they represent. Here are a few qualities that you will find within our customer service staff.


As mentioned earlier, customer service is often the personal face of the company. Clients meet with them to file requests and express issues. It is hard to work in customer service when it is late and you’ve been dealing with multiple issues. Anyone could easily show some annoyance or frustration. But a true customer service clerk will keep their composure. They won’t give in to the stress; they always find a way to stay focused. One way in order to maintain that focus is to remember why they are there in the first place.

Focus on the client

The whole purpose of customer service lies in its title. Each member is there to serve the customer. They must make sure that the client is happy. This should be the driving force for the staff’s performance, no matter how difficult a client might be. The customer service crewmembers must be able to hold a compassionate attitude. They must also be able to think on their feet when things do not go as planned (i.e. when an appointment is not in the registry).

Work under pressure

As alluded to earlier, being a customer service staff member requires dealing with unforeseen problems. Often times those problems can seem great, and anyone could easily crack under the pressure. But a great customer service clerk is able to block out that pressure and just focus on the task at hand.

Total value

Whether or not it is for temporary staffing or permanent recruiting, each customer service clerk must maintain these essential qualities. If a clerk (or any staff member) expresses these qualities, it will be a reflection on the overall company. For more information on our staffing services, please feel free to contact us here. If you are ready to request staff for your own company needs, be sure to check out our staffing request form here.

Hiring Temporary Accountants for Tax Season

We all know that tax season is inevitable and can be burdensome for businesses without enough manpower in their accounting department. During this time, a smart move to make for any company is to hire temporary accountants and other workers to make sure that the process can go smoothly. It’s always a bonus to have extra help on hand. When tax season comes, business owners can be overwhelmed even with an internal staff of accountants on board. Hiring temporary accountants through a staffing agency can be a great and efficient alternative to hiring more full-time employees for your own accounting team.

With a temporary staffing team on your side, you’ll get the work you need done for the exact amount of time that you need it. You won’t have to put the time and money into training new accountants as they will already have all the work experience and credentials necessary to dive right into what needs to be done. Once all the work is complete, you can then reduce staff levels and get back to your regular work force size. It’s a win-win.

Accountants For You specializes in providing skilled and experienced accountants at any level and for any sized staffing need. Prevent your core team from burning out through this tough season and come out ahead of the game. Contact Accounts For You for your temporary accounting needs today.



You can trust me (the Recruiter), I’m not the enemy


You can trust me (the Recruiter), I’m not the enemy

Sometimes Recruiters get a bad rep from both the clients and candidates. We’re seen as the enemy…. WE’RE NOT!!!!

As professionals with over 35 years of experience, who spend every day helping people,  we really DO know a thing or two. Yes, we get paid based on making the placement, but that doesn’t mean we are trying to force a square peg into a round hole. If the candidate doesn’t work out, we will have an unhappy client that will never call us again and an unhappy candidate that will do the same. That serves the purpose of no one and quite honestly, we’d have been out of business long ago had we employed such tactics.

Take our advice, it’s FREE but it’s not cheap; we do require something in exchange. We ask that you trust us.

We’ve been around a while and we are always happy to share our knowledge. For instance, if you’re working on a temporary position and get a call about a permanent job, TAKE THE INTERVIEW.  You never know what could happen. Your temporary position that was supposed to last until April, may end tomorrow due to unforeseen budget cuts. That permanent position that didn’t seem so interesting? The interview might teach you otherwise.

Below is an email we received from a candidate after he turned down an interview for a permanent position for just such a reason. Two months later, he wrote:

Hello Mark,

Boy did I mess up royally. I am so sorry for not going on that interview 1-2 months back. My consulting gig is over on 12/16/16 due to a major RIF for consultant when my assignment was supposed to go until 2/28/17 with possibility of being brought on FT and extension. I hope you will work with me again and do not hold that one interview I missed over me because I truly am a great candidate and truly want to find a great place to work. Hopefully you can help.

I sincerely apologize for screwing up that interview and I truly hope it didn’t effect your relationship with the company but I hope maybe you can still help me out.

I appreciate your assistance.


Unemployed Applicant

We certainly weren’t happy to receive the note. But it crystalizes the message we’re trying to send. If you decide to partner with a Recruiter for your job search, then you need to trust that what they’re advising you is true. If you can’t, you may have chosen the wrong recruiter with whom to work.

We are here to help make a great match for both our clients and our candidates. It’s how we build relationships which is at the heart of what we do.

From The Desk Of The Working Mom

From the Desk of the Working Mom….

Now that we’re back to school, the chore of packing school lunches has been re-instated.

I dread…loathe….absolutely detest this task.

I will literally waste as much time as I can in the morning, to avoid the daily dance with my pantry and refrigerator that is figuring out what my 3 darlings are going to eat that day.  This one likes cream cheese but that one can’t stand it and with the third, I never even get around to bagel spread options because she’s too busy deciding if her bagel has too much “toaster burn” for her to even consider eating it.

It’s some kind of reverse psychology trick when they follow me in to the kitchen, watch me painstakingly pack their lunchboxes, only for them to unzip the boxes…and remove each item one by one and offer their critique.

Seriously?   In the time it takes us to accomplish the lunch task, I could’ve negotiated a union contract, changed the oil in my car AND figured out who shot JR.

In the end I make it through only to have the lunch boxes returned to me at the end of the day, with half the contents still in there. Why? Because they weren’t hungry.


Until next time


From The Desk Of The Working Mom

She’s BACK!

After a brief hiatus, the Working Mom is back with a new post!

From the desk of…

The Working Mom

Every summer, I work from home the last 2 weeks before school starts because camp has ended and the options to fill my children’s time are slim and expensive.

I’ve always equated the gap between camp ending and school starting, to the inequity in the number of hot dog buns in the bun pack (typically 10), to hot dogs in the hot dog pack (typically 8) as in the fact that there are about 10 weeks of summer, and about 8 weeks of camp (7 weeks, in many cases).

As a Working Mom, I think of camp as “Summer’s daycare”.  Am I flying solo with questioning the scheduling or is everyone making analogies between food packaging and their kids’ summer activities?

Let me know…I’ll be here, re-purposing the leftover hot dog buns.