Magazine article Workforce Management

Go for Flexibility

Magazine article Workforce Management

Go for Flexibility

Article excerpt

Labor is relatively disposable and will remain so for the foreseeable future. Most companies are still fine-tuning head counts.

DATA BANK

ANALYSTS KEEP RAKING through the ashes of the job market, looking for any signs of new growth. Small pockets of hiring have appeared in specific niches, and employment may tick up in the weekly reports, but none of it matters. The total unemployment rate stands at 9.4 percent, or nearly 14 million workers. If the economy suddenly generates the 150,000 to 180,000 jobs a month that have eluded forecasters since the spring, it will still only absorb new entrants. Private-sector job creation has been negligible for months.

All the major forecasts predict that the official unemployment rate will remain above 5 percent for 2005, which means a comprehensive rate of about 10 percent and rates of 15 percent to 20 percent in the large urban centers. With no real job creation taking place, the average duration of unemployment is still rising; 22 percent of the jobless have been out of work for 27 weeks or longer. …

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