Disheartening new research from SF Fed suggests you really need a job to get a job

In America, you don’t hunt for the job, the job hunts for you.

A new report from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco said that most people who get a new job weren’t seeking it. Instead, recruitment and referrals form the basis of the bulk of new hiring.

“Many people find jobs without ever reporting actively looking for one. This implies that, rather than them finding jobs, the jobs actually find them,” write Carlos Carrillo-Tudela, Bart Hobijn, Patryk Perkowski and Ludo Visschers.

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The report suggest there’s great uncertainty and a lack of knowledge about the underlying state of hiring in the U.S. economy. It offers more evidence of the extremely complicated nature of job market hiring dynamics.

The authors do not address changes in total employment, but do suggest some of the measures used to determine how many jobs are available, and how many people want them, may not very helpful.

The researcher’s findings are primarily based on a periodic government survey conducted by the Census Bureau called the Contingent Worker Survey, which reports on job search behavior. Problematically, the survey is infrequent. The most recent data are for 2005. It’s unclear whether changes in the job market since the Great Recession would affect the report’s conclusions.


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