The unemployment rate was unchanged at 5.1 percent in September, according to the most recent U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report. No news is good news, right?
Not exactly. Compared to the recent record in August of 94,031,000 people out of work, the numbers increased by 579,000 in September. The labor force participation rate went from 62.2 percent to 62.4 percent in September, the lowest rate since 1977.
This means that there are 1.9 million “marginally attached” individuals—or those available and looking for work in the past 12 months. In this group, there are 635,000 “discouraged workers,” which The Bureau of Labor Statistics defines as “persons not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for them.”
If you’ve all but given up on your job search, you’re accustomed to difficult choices. Whether you’re living with family, dipping into a nest egg-worthy 401K or savings account, or “making do” by cutting back on everything, including the basics (5 for $1 Ramen noodles, anyone?), it might be time to consider drastic measures like changing career fields or moving to a city with more opportunities.
Change careers. #Employment in some fields, particularly healthcare and technology (developers, apps engineers and other IT professionals), has been trending up for the past few years. Consider education, certification, and even internships in another field.
Pros: Being able to postpone your student loans with an education deferral, having a regular schedule again, and the excitement of learning new skills.
Cons: The possibility that you won’t love your new profession. Consider a free MOOC (Massive Online Open Course) before taking a leap. You can take an online course from top universities like Johns Hopkins and UC Berkeley, among others. Most are free to audit and some only charge for certification. Check out free upcoming MOOCs at OpenCulture.com.
Move. Where you live absolutely matters when it comes to your job search. We compiled a top 10 list from US Census Bureau data, Bureau of Labor Statistics (September 2015), and City-Data.com.
The Top 10 Cities For Job Growth in 2015
Government, communications, distribution, wholesaling, train manufacture and repair, flour and feed milling, grain storage, and diversified manufacturing
Trade, transportation, utilities, education, health services, and professional and business services, with some manufacturing, construction, mining, and information
Advanced manufacturing, clean energy and power transfer, corporate headquarters and regional offices, creative and digital media technology, data management, life sciences
Energy, engineering, warehousing and distribution, call centers, information technology services, software, education, and healthcare
Healthcare, agriculture, advanced manufacturing, biotechnology, bio-agriculture, bio-medicine, and R&D
Corporate offices, healthcare, semiconductors, software, aerospace, and telecommunications
Business and IT services, biomedical and biotechnology, energy, auto manufacturing, healthcare, financial services, military
Aerospace, biotechnology, energy, business services, transportation and logistics, healthcare, hospitality and entertainment, telecommunications
Corporate offices and business services, agriculture and water technology, health and life sciences, technology, and financial services
Tourism, military, defense, defense contracting, agriculture, and biotech
Sources: U.S. Census Bureau & Bureau of Labor Statistics. Industry information is from City-Data.com.
Pros: New city, new opportunities!
Cons: Most companies in today’s economy won’t pay to relocate employees, so you may have to dip further into savings or tolerate a shared living situation until you secure a job. Consider reaching out to contacts, friends, or family members in cities with better job markets. With a local address (and plane fare at the ready), it’s easier to stay where you are while you search in another market and you’re less likely to be rejected based on your location (some recruiters may assume you’ll require relocation and are unable to provide it).
We wish you the best of luck in your search and if you have tips for the long-term unemployed, share them with your fellow job seekers via our social media links!