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Why Is the Latest Jobs Report Actually a Lie?

In April 2024, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) published an Employment Situation Summary detailing the state of America’s job market.

On the surface, it all looked like good news. The report showed that in March 2024, the economy added 303,000 jobs. Though those new jobs didn’t change the unemployment rate – which stayed steady at 3.8% - the numbers suggest that the U.S. is building a more stable job market that can only benefit you.

With "great news" like this, maybe you won’t end up needing the help of a resume building service to help you land a job. But what is the actual truth concerning the latest jobs numbers? For as encouraging as the BLS’s figures appear on the surface, there’s several dirty secrets lying behind them that tells us the figures are actually a lie.

the words "The Latest Jobs Report Is Lying" with a man holding a paper and his nose growing like pinocchino

What the Report Claims

You won’t see evidence of this lie if you check the BLS’s employment situation report yourself. It’s positively glowing. Beyond the claims of 303,000 new jobs, the report says that this increase is substantially more than the monthly average gain of 231,000 seen over the past 12 months.

The report also breaks the numbers down, with the healthcare sector being the big winner thanks to adding 72,000 jobs in March 2024 – 12,000 more than the monthly average over 12 months. That’s a pattern seen throughout the BLS report. Government employment numbers rose by 71,000 (23% of all jobs created). To put this in perspective, in good economics times, government jobs should only make up around 10%-12%.

Construction also saw a rise to 39,000, with the leisure, hospitality, social assistance, and retail sectors all recording increases in employment numbers.

It all makes for very rosy reading.

But that report isn’t a true reflection of what’s happening with the American job market.

What’s Really Happening in America’s Economy

The first hint of the lie comes from figures published by the United States Chamber of Commerce. It points out that its latest data shows that there are 9.5 million job openings in the United States – more than enough to provide jobs to the 6.5 million people in the country who are currently unemployed.

If that’s the case, then why are so many millions of people struggling to find work?

The answer is that the work on offer isn’t the type of work they want.

Specifically, most of the jobs being created are part-time positions that don’t pay enough to help Americans support their families and, in some cases, necessitate workers getting a second job to supplement their income.

To see evidence of this, you can examine the employment numbers the BLS published for February 2024, just a month before its most recent figures. CNBC reported on those numbers, pointing out that February saw the creation of 275,000 new jobs – again, above the 231,000 per month average over 12 months – which should be good news.

However, CNBC’s report dug a little deeper.

5 arrows with a down trend and the words "Full Time Jobs Being Lost"

U.S. Is Losing Full-Time Jobs & Only Creating Part-Time Jobs

It was discovered that full-time job creation declined during February 2024, with the number of people in full-time roles decreasing by 187,000. By contrast, the numbers in part-time employment rose by 51,000, telling us that the BLS’s figures are actually skewed toward roles that many job hunters don’t want to take.

It gets even worse when you start looking at what many analysts call the “real” unemployment rate.

This rate doesn’t just cover people who aren’t in jobs at all. It also accounts for those in part-time roles who hold those jobs for economic reasons, as well as people classed as discouraged workers. In February 2024, that rate rose to 7.3% - much higher than the standard 3.8% rate used in the BLS report.

So, what does all of this tell you about the BLS report?

Ultimately, the BLS report is trying to paper over the cracks in the American economy. While it proclaims that hundreds of thousands of jobs are being created, those jobs are predominantly not ones that people want to have. Most of them are part-time – with full-time positions declining – and they’re being filled by a specific category of people:

The underemployed.

These are people who are typically working either in low-paid and low-skilled jobs, even when they’re capable of working better jobs or those who are only working part-time because they can’t find full-time positions. Typically, these people are recent graduates struggling to find entry-level positions, older workers, immigrants, and – in some cases – women who struggle to find full-time work due to gender discrimination.

There are currently 5.4 million underemployed people in the United States. The sad fact is that most of the jobs the BLS trumpets in its report are going to those people who simply aren’t able to find full-time work.

hand holding a magnifying glass over the words "Truth Lies"

What This Means for You as a Job Hunter

Suddenly, the picture being painted about the American job market is far less promising than the BLS would like you to believe. Sure, jobs are being created. But those jobs are often undesirable – especially to those who need full-time work – meaning the economic climate is still tough for those seeking employment.

Where does that leave you as somebody who’s looking for a full-time job?

Sadly, the number of positions open to you is declining. You’ll see that from the CNBC figure quoted earlier that highlights how February 2024 saw the loss of 187,000 full-time jobs, even as the BLS reported an overall increase.

You have fewer choices and face more competition for the roles you want to get, making it less likely that you’ll find a single full-time job through which you can support your family. The odds are now even higher that you’ll fall into the “underemployed” category, especially if you’re forced to take a part-time role to make money.

What Can You Do About America’s Employment Situation?

The simple answer is to become a top competitor for the few available full-time roles.

Start with your resume. Sending out a standard document of your past roles and educational history is no longer enough when there are so many people competing for roles. Take the health industry as an example.

That sector apparently saw 71,000 new jobs added in March 2024, yet there were 1.8 million open positions in the industry toward the end of 2023. This suggests that most of the jobs open to healthcare professionals aren’t desirable, and the few that are go to the people who do a great job with their resumes before impressing during interview processes.

Do research online to find professional resume builders that can assist you in creating an effective resume that ensures you stand out when you apply for one of the few full-time positions available.

By creating a great resume, you can counter the proliferation of part-time roles and land a job worthwhile for both your time and earning potential.

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