Job Numbers: What Really Matters

Job-related statistics can be misleading because there’s usually more to consider than a single number or percentage.  Plenty of numbers related to employment can be found, but many factors aren’t obvious to most job-seekers.  What matters – and what doesn’t- when it comes to employment statistics?

What doesn’t matter:  job openings

What really matters:  job openings vs. qualified applicants

Although the number of job openings is important, you should consider one other factor: how easy it is to become qualified.  Despite a large number of openings, certain jobs may be hard to come by because so many people qualify for them.  What you should look for is jobs that are in demand because of  limiting factors such as a high level of education (including difficult “weed out” classes) and competitive training programs.  Healthcare is a secure field not only because it is necessary even in a recession, but because most jobs in the field require certian training and/or certification.

What doesn’t matter: job board listings

What really matters: job board listings and recruitment

Most jobs aren’t advertised, so looking at job boards isn’t extremely helpful in assessing the demand for a given occupation.   It is possible to find a job using  these web-sites, but most jobs are filled through recruitment or  connections.   Some college programs have very high placement rates for graduates because of both the quality of the program and need for qualified employees in the field.   Experienced professionals may receive offers through recruiters or directly from a potential employer.  It’s better to talk with  recruiters or professionals in your chosen industry to get a sense of job demand.

What doesn’t matter: demand

What really matters: locations and specialties with highest demand

Demand can be high for a given occupation, but you may still not find a job in your industry if you don’t live where the employers are located.  Many industries, such as information technology, are geographically concentrated.  Certain cities are much better for job seekers.   Also, remember that you may not be able to get a job anywhere you want.  For example, rural and inner-city schools are most in need of teachers, while new teachers may have trouble finding  jobs at suburban schools.

Job statistics can be deceiving and hard to understand.  You may need to look at what isn’t measured or beyond the numbers reported in order to get a better picture.  To help with your research, visit the following links:

Top Entry-Level Employers 2009

America’s 25 Best Places to Move


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2 thoughts on “Job Numbers: What Really Matters”

  1. All of this is so true! Job boards don’t have anything but sales and “work from home” stuff. Also, I know so many people that “can’t find a job” but what they really mean is “I can’t find a job within a 10 mile radius of my house”. Great article!

  2. Thank you for commenting, Ashley. I know that some people have mortgages, their kids are in school, etc. so I see where they really don’t want to move for a job. This is where younger job-seekers will have an advantage.

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