"Solid labor market conditions are drawing people back into the workforce, a trend that could slow the pace of decline in the jobless rate, but provide an additional boost to the pool of available talent for employers," Jim Baird, a partner and chief investment officer at Plante Moran Financial Advisors, wrote in a research note Friday. "It seems like a bit of a broken record, but compared with any number of other gauges of the strength of the economy, labor market conditions have been a relatively consistent bright spot that should be expected to contribute to the virtuous cycle of economic expansion."
Many people with disabilities have enhanced strengths, such as the special ability of blind people to interpret sounds and touch, or the outstanding knack of people on the autism spectrum to observe detail. Not so well known is the potential of this large and untapped resource of excellence for the economy and society. We call these enhanced strengths "coolabilities." Powerful technologies are today ready to open the door to a new paradigm of work: instead of squeezing people into existing job slots, companies can tailor work that fits individuals' unique skills, talents, and passions, matching them with inspiring teams and offering them a choice of meaningful tasks. This has tremendous benefits for both the employee and employer by creating a "long-tail labor market" in which diversity brings competitive advantage.
Job availability has improved to its highest level in over four decades, the government said Tuesday, a fresh sign that companies are increasingly competing to hire workers amid the labor shortage. Despite the tight labor market, wages have been barely growing and private consumption, a key component of the economy, remains sluggish, raising the bar for policymakers to achieve a break with chronic deflation. The ratio of job offers to job seekers came to 1.48 in April from 1.45 in March, the best level since February 1974, when it stood at 1.53, according to the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry. This means that 148 positions were available for every 100 people looking for work. The unemployment rate was unchanged at 2.8 percent in April from the previous month, staying below the 3 percent mark, the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry said.
More people appeared to enter the workforce and look for a job in January, though, as the labor force participation rate climbed to 62.9 percent – its highest level since September. The number of people believed to be left out of the government's labor force calculations – either because they've given up on finding a job, have retired, are in school or for some other reason are neither employed nor looking for work – shrunk by 736,000.
"This is really one of our business imperatives, because we know that there is a talent crisis," said Nitcelle B. Emanuels, director of diversity and inclusion at Dell. "We need to get more creative." With the national unemployment rate now flirting with a 50-year low, companies are increasingly looking outside the traditional labor force for workers. They are offering flexible hours and work-from-home options to attract stay-at-home parents, full-time students and recent retirees. They are making new accommodations to open up jobs to people with disabilities. They are dropping educational requirements, waiving criminal background checks and offering training to prospective workers who lack necessary skills.