Thursday, May 07, 2009

Hard To Fire - Hard To Hire

It seems there is a mismatch between jobs and workers that is keeping as many as 3 million people unemployed. (it could be a lot less - but still)

Are American employers too picky? Are they rejecting reasonable candidates at the same time they claim to have lots of openings they would like to fill?

That's a key question because the job market is still getting worse even as the overall economy shows signs of reaching bottom. On May 6 the ADP National Employment Report said the private sector shrank payrolls by an estimated 491,000 jobs in April. Economists -- who don't always trust the ADP numbers -- expect the Bureau of Labor Statistics to report on May 8 a decline of about 600,000 jobs in the private and public sectors combined. The median unemployment-rate forecast in the latest Bloomberg survey of economists is 8.9% for April, vs. 8.5% in March.

With the labor market so weak, it's hard to understand why so many jobs are unfilled. As BusinessWeek pointed out in a recent magazine cover story, employers reported that they had 3 million openings they were actively trying to fill as of the end of February.
Well of course employers are going to be super picky. If it is hard to fire a worker without a lot of lawyering (or even fear of same) then employers are going to be super selective. Especially in slack labor markets.

At will employment is hard on those with a job. There is no job security. On the other hand such easy come easy go labor laws are better for the unemployed. Especially the person with a marginal record who want a chance to prove his or her value.

Such job protections are one of the reasons that so many companies employ contractors. They are in fact the last major bastion of at will employment.

And what is the very antithesis of at will employment? Companies with union labor contracts. Because it is very hard to fire a union guy who is not doing his job adequately. And then there are government jobs under civil service laws.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

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