‘Quit rate’ at 3-year high and 7 out of 10 employed workers ‘mailing it in’ at best
OK people. It’s over. The recession is officially two years in the rear-view window. Let’s get back to business already. You’re not going to get an official memo from the Government saying it’s safe to start hiring people again, or it's OK to invest in capital improvements you so badly need, or to build out your marketing platform so you can get actual qualified leads.Remember those? What else do you need to make a decision?
But what about the euro zone crisis, you say? Don’t waste your time watching the daily gyrations of the financial markets. Check your portfolio one every three months or so, but don’t use stocks as a proxy for the state of business conditions or the economy. It’s a glorified casino driven by program traders, hedge funds and short-term speculators.
People are working, and more importantly quitting for better jobs
Here’s what’s important: New claims for jobless benefits in the United States fell last week to their lowest level since early April and the country’s trade deficit unexpectedly shrank in September, pointing to a slight improvement in the sluggish economy. More encouraging was a Labor Department report showed a strong increase in the “quit rate” -- the number of people voluntarily leaving their jobs for a new one rose 5 percent in September and hit its highest level since November 2008. It means that workers are finally more confident that they can find new work if they are unhappy with their current positions—a recent Gallup Survey found the 71 percent of U.S. workers are “not engaged” in their jobs or “actively disengaged” form their work.
Greater turnover in the job market now means more opportunities for the 14 million unemployed or under-employed workers seeking to get back into the workforce.
Out Take: Stop focusing on the unemployment rate. It’s stuck like a rusty wheel at 9 percent and doesn’t accurately reflect what companies need to grow and thrive. We think a better measure is the number of job seeker to job openings. That ratio is down to 4.1, from a peak of 6.9 workers per opening in the horrible summer of July 2009.
If you’ve got a job. Now’s the time to find a better one. If you’re looking for work, make sure you don’t settle for the dregs left behind by a former employee burned out by the recession. Find something that matters—and pays you commensurately for your skill. If you have a company, make sure you do whatever it takes to keep your best people happy and by all means, make sure you’re capturing all the knowledge, contacts and processes they have stored in their brains and personal hard drives.
There’s going to be a “brain drain” of epic proportions soon—and you won’t get a memo letting you know when it’s officially started. If you’re not careful, all your organizational “smarts” could go walking out the door on a moment’s notice.
Where smart marketing comes in
That’s also where smart marketing comes in. It’s not just to raise your brand and generate qualified leads—it’s a time-tested way to keep your name in front of the best talent and vendors in your industry. When you cut back on your marketing, you not only choke off your lead funnel and brand awareness. You make yourself conspicuously absent relative to your competitors and lose opportunities to capture great talent. That’s right, think about all the great people who just might have spent one too many late nights at the office without feeling adequately appreciate by their bosses. If you’re not top of mind with them, they’re certainly not top of mind with you.