This morning on NPR I heard two faint glimmers of hope on the employment front. First a recent study of planned layoffs by executive placement firm Challenger Gray & Christmas shows that those numbers are down to their lowest levels in four years. And second, a recent report on job losses indicates that the trend is likewise down with guesstimates for February job losses (the BLS numbers come out on Friday) at or under 20,000 for that month.
I take some heart from both sets of numbers. The first indicates that employers are seeing fewer reasons to trim staff than they have for quite some time. The second says that the number of jobs lost (both planned and unplanned) continues to wane. Together, these statistics tell us that things continue to improve somewhat, though we’re by no means out of losing territory (job losses and layoffs do continue, albeit at a slower pace) and onto winning ground (where, ideally not only the general jobs numbers would improve, but also where IT employment would increase as well).
I continue to repeat my incantation “Be calm. Stay put. Things will improve.” knowing that while we do indeed see a few small rays of sunshine, the overall forecast remains pretty grey and gloomy, all the way into 2011 and beyond. But for the first time in quite a while, I find myself looking forward to the February job numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (the same BLS I mention in my first paragraph here) rather than dreading what they might portend. Let’s hope that modest or faint improvements improve somewhat themselves in the months ahead, and that the trickle of good news turns into a torrent. We could all use some encouragement, to be sure!