Our “disease of the week” society, and our news media especially, tends to focus on bad news. This can be demoralizing and demotivating to the job hunter. It’s hard to get motivated when finding a job seems nearly impossible.

Guess what? Getting a job is not only possible, but 50 million people did it in 2009!
Our data comes from the United States Department of Labor. Your tax dollars paid for this research, so put it to use for the benefit of supercharging your job search with new hope and perseverance.

US Hiring Statistics 2001-2009

US Hiring Statistics 2001-2009

We studied the historical relationship between November and December hiring, and based on this, added our own projection for December 2009 hiring in order to get an early picture of hiring in the tough year of 2009. Here it is:

Yearly hiring history 2001-2009

Yearly hiring history 2001-2009

So you can see, contrary to the messages you have been getting – that it is all but impossible to get a job – people have been getting actively hired in 2009. The rate of hiring is just 13% lower than the mean hiring totals for the previous 8 years!

Hiring in the US 2001-2009

Hiring in the US 2001-2009

When you look at a graph of this activity, 2009 performance seems even less threatening. Note that most charts you will see in the media will chop off the bottom of the chart, and the scaling might start at 30 or even 40 million hires. This inaccurately changes the visual scale of the data. You don’t need mind games like that when you are pounding the pavement for a job. A chart scaled from zero will make you feel better. The area beneath the curve is where you will soon be – the ranks of those who are hired!


Seasonal adjustments
Another mind-game our Federal Statisticians unwittingly foist upon beleaguered jobhunters is the burial of data under the mantle of “seasonal adjustment”. At Fastest Job Search, we view seasonal adjustment as a friend to be embraced. Think of it as a planning tool. An intelligent job hunter is fully armed with knowledge about seasonal fluctuations in hiring, and uses low times to prepare for the next surge.

Seasonal fluctuations in U.S. hiring 2001-2009

Seasonal fluctuations in U.S. hiring 2001-2009

As you can see, every year there are very real, and quite predictable highs and lows in hiring. You can, to some extent, calibrate your job search tasks in harmony with these predictable hiring fluctuations:

Hiring percentage by month 2001-2009
Hiring percentage by month 2001-2009

The most important piece of knowledge contained in these seasonal hiring statistics is that December and February tend to be somewhat dead. That’s good to know, but not the whole story. What is a typical time duration between job application and hiring? Sooner or later we will find that statistic. But in the meantime, a not-unreasonable assumption might be 6-8 weeks with lots of variation.


And so, you have two targets to aim for: getting your original application submitted at a time when hiring activity is very active, and also following up at a time when hiring is active. Planning, research and revamping of resumes and other documents can be actively pursued in the months when hiring is asleep.

Percentage of hiring by month 2001-2009

Percentage of hiring by month 2001-2009

Putting on the optimists hat one last time, we might look at the data and see that even in the lowest month of December, over 6% of all hiring takes place. This represents an opportunity for a contrarian who dives in while the competition is sitting home thinking nothing is happening.


Tags: Federal Labor Statistics, U.S. Hiring Statistics, Hiring Data, Seasonal Hiring Fluctuations, Seasonal Adjustment in Hiring, United States Department of Labor Hiring Statistics