Although I've said it before, I still can't believe that anybody is talking about economic "recovery" with a jobs market as bad as the one we have now. Aside from all the other data we've seen lately, here are three reports that emphasize just how challenging things are for those who are trying to earn a living the old-fashioned way:
"Help Wanted: Only Interns" (CFOZone.com)
Here is a frightening development from a macro economic standpoint. However, for CFOs, it frankly offers a shrewd opportunity to boost staff without destroying the budget.
A CareerBuilder survey of more than 2,500 employers found that more than one-quarter (27 percent) plan to hire interns during the remainder of 2010 to help support workloads.
Good for potential interns.
Here's the scary part. Look who is applying for these internships.
According to CareerBuilder, nearly one-quarter (23 percent) of employers report they are seeing experienced workers, those with more than 10 years experience. Even more astounding, employers are reporting that workers age 50 or older are applying for internships at their organizations.
This underscores how critical the employment problem has become in this country.
Obviously, companies like interns because they are cheap and don't receive benefits.
Indeed, seven percent said they don't even plan to pay their interns. Another 5 percent said they will hire both paid and unpaid interns.
Just a little more than half (53 percent) said they plan to pay interns $10 or more per hour, which is what retailers pay their unskilled labor.
A benevolent 5 percent said they will pay $25 or more per hour.
"Employers Moving Slowly to Fill Jobs" (Wall Street Journal)
Employers filled available jobs at a slower pace in June, in a development that could further complicate the U.S.'s battle with long-term unemployment.
The Labor Department reported Wednesday that nonfarm employers made 4.3 million new hires in June, down 7% from May. That left them with 2.9 million job openings at the end of the month, unchanged from May.
The June data highlight a growing disconnect in the labor market. Even as jobs remain scarce, employers are being unusually slow to fill positions—a problematic trend at a time when 4.3% of the labor force has been out of work for more than six months. As of June, job openings were up 26% from mid-2009, when the economy bottomed out. New hires rose only 5% over the same period.
"It's troubling," said Henry Mo, an economist at Credit Suisse in New York. "We need employers to hire more boldly to make the recovery self-sustaining, but we're not getting there."
"Forced to Retire, Some Take Social Security Early" (Associated Press)
Unable to find work, unemployed turn to reduced Social Security checks early to stay afloat
Paul Skidmore's office is shuttered, his job gone, his 18-month job search fruitless and his unemployment benefits exhausted. So at 63, he plans to file this week for Social Security benefits, three years earlier than planned.
"All I want to do is work," said Skidmore, of Finksburg, Md., who was an insurance claims adjuster for 37 years before his company downsized and closed his office last year. "And nobody will hire me."
It is one of the most striking fallouts from the bad economy: Social Security is facing a rare shortfall this year as a wave of people like Skidmore opt to collect payments before their full retirement age. Adding to the strain on the trust are reduced tax collections sapped by the country's historic unemployment -- still at 9.5 percent.
More people filed for Social Security in 2009 -- 2.74 million -- than any year in history, and there was a marked increase in the number receiving reduced benefits because they filed ahead of their full retirement age. The increase came as the full Social Security retirement age rose last year from 65 to 66.
Nearly 72 percent of men who filed opted for early benefits in 2009, up from 58 percent the previous year. More women also filed -- 74.7 percent in 2009 compared with 64.2 percent the previous year.
Jason Fichtner, an associate commissioner at the Social Security Administration, said the weak economy has led more people who lost their jobs to retire early. However, it also has forced some people hard-hit by the recession and in need of a bigger paycheck to push back retirement and stay in the work force longer.
"But we're seeing more people taking early benefits than staying in the workforce longer," Fichtner said.