While some commentators moan about a jobless recovery, high unemployment, and layoffs as companies restructure, employers in dozens of metropolitan areas face challenges right now in their recruiting. Labor shortages exist today; this issue is not some anomaly anticipated years down the road.
The latest numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics reveal that the metropolitan unemployment rate has dropped to 5.4 percent, not seasonally adjusted. From a big-picture perspective, that rate is similar to the national condition.
Buried in these numbers is the critical information that 82 (out of 331) metropolitan labor markets are wrestling with less than 4.0 percent unemployment, significantly lower than the national average. Fifteen metropolitan areas are struggling with unemployment rates under 3.0 percent.
The lower unemployment rates may be good news for people looking for jobs, but this situation is frightening for employers in need of qualified employees. The geographic pockets of labor crisis are a serious problem for companies that need people to serve their customers, produce their products, and grow as the economy provides opportunities.
Demographers talk about the migration to the exurbs…beyond the suburbs. People are moving there to escape urban sprawl, urban blight, and urban congestion. Employers seeking competent workers eager to dig in and do great things will move more of their operations out of cities, out of metropolitan areas.
Immigrants have traditionally moved into the central core of major cities. The patterns have changed with mobility and opportunity guiding more of these potential employees to smaller communities and outlying areas. These new residents are welcomed by popular support spearheaded by churches eager to provide good jobs and homes to families they sponsor or those who join their congregations.
The face of exurban communities, the independent cities and towns, will be forever altered by the needs of employers in search of a base of talented workers who will be steady, long-term employees.
The Herman Group is a firm of consulting futurists concentrating on workforce and workplace trends and their implications. Emphasis is placed on employee selection and retention as critical strategies. Included in the firm are researchers, professional speakers, authors, and consultants. The Herman Group is based in Greensboro, NC, with affiliates in Sao Paulo, Melbourne, Hong Kong, and Port Louis, Mauritius. Contact Joyce Gioia-Herman at 336-210-3548 or e-mail: email@example.com.
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