January 2018 Prosperity at Work E-Tip

Economics & Job Creation:

“THE EMPLOYMENT SITUATION — December 2017”

Life Sciences:
“People who sleep less than 8 hours a night more likely to suffer from depression, anxiety”

Technology:
“Machine learning will change jobs”

Healthcare:
“New behavioral science approach combines experiments, models”

The Industrials:
“Unemployment Rate Remains at 17-Year Low”

Human Capital Solutions, Inc. (HCS) www.humancs.com is a Retained Executive Search and Professional Recruiting firm focused in Healthcare, Life Sciences, the Industrials, and Technology. Visit our LinkedIn Company Page to learn more about HCS and receive weekly updates.

HCS has created the Prosperity at Work proposition which focuses on creating prosperous relationships between companies and their employees (associates). HCS assists companies in improving bottom line profitability by efficiently planning, organizing and implementing optimized, practical and value-added business solutions.


 

Economics & Job Creation:

THE EMPLOYMENT SITUATION — DECEMBER 2017

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 148,000 in December, and the unemployment
rate was unchanged at 4.1 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.
Employment gains occurred in health care, construction, and manufacturing.

__________________________________________________________________________________
| |
| Revision of Seasonally Adjusted Household Survey Data |
| |
|Seasonally adjusted household survey data have been revised using updated seasonal|
|adjustment factors, a procedure done at the end of each calendar year. Seasonally |
|adjusted estimates back to January 2013 were subject to revision. The unemployment|
|rates for January 2017 through November 2017 (as originally published and as |
|revised) appear in table A, along with additional information about the revisions.|
|__________________________________________________________________________________|

Household Survey Data

In December, the unemployment rate was 4.1 percent for the third consecutive month. The
number of unemployed persons, at 6.6 million, was essentially unchanged over the month.
Over the year, the unemployment rate and the number of unemployed persons were down by
0.6 percentage point and 926,000, respectively. (See table A-1.)

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rate for teenagers declined to 13.6
percent in December, offsetting an increase in November. In December, the unemployment
rates for adult men (3.8 percent), adult women (3.7 percent), Whites (3.7 percent),
Blacks (6.8 percent), Asians (2.5 percent), and Hispanics (4.9 percent) showed little
or no change. (See tables A-1, A-2, and A-3.)

Among the unemployed, the number of new entrants decreased by 116,000 in December. New
entrants are unemployed persons who never previously worked. (See table A-11.)

The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was little
changed at 1.5 million in December and accounted for 22.9 percent of the unemployed.
Over the year, the number of long-term unemployed declined by 354,000. (See table A-12.)

The labor force participation rate, at 62.7 percent, was unchanged over the month and
over the year. The employment-population ratio was unchanged at 60.1 percent in December
but was up by 0.3 percentage point over the year. (See table A-1.)

The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as
involuntary part-time workers) was essentially unchanged at 4.9 million in December but
was down by 639,000 over the year. These individuals, who would have preferred full-time
employment, were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they
were unable to find a full-time job. (See table A-8.)

In December, 1.6 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force, about
unchanged from a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.) These individuals
were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job
sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not
searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey. (See table A-16.)

Among the marginally attached, there were 474,000 discouraged workers in December, little
changed from a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.) Discouraged workers
are persons not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available
for them. The remaining 1.1 million persons marginally attached to the labor force in
December had not searched for work for reasons such as school attendance or family
responsibilities. (See table A-16.)

Establishment Survey Data

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 148,000 in December. Job gains occurred in health
care, construction, and manufacturing. In 2017, payroll employment growth totaled 2.1
million, compared with a gain of 2.2 million in 2016. (See table B-1.)

Employment in health care increased by 31,000 in December. Employment continued to trend
up in ambulatory health care services (+15,000) and hospitals (+12,000). Health care
added 300,000 jobs in 2017, compared with a gain of 379,000 jobs in 2016.

Construction added 30,000 jobs in December, with most of the increase among specialty
trade contractors (+24,000). In 2017, construction employment increased by 210,000,
compared with a gain of 155,000 in 2016.

In December, manufacturing employment rose by 25,000, largely reflecting a gain in
durable goods industries (+21,000). Manufacturing added 196,000 jobs in 2017, following
little net change in 2016 (-16,000).

Employment in food services and drinking places changed little in December (+25,000).
Over the year, the industry added 249,000 jobs, about in line with an increase of
276,000 in 2016.

In December, employment changed little in professional and business services (+19,000).
In 2017, the industry added an average of 44,000 jobs per month, in line with its
average monthly gain in 2016.

Employment in retail trade was about unchanged in December (-20,000). Within the industry,
employment in general merchandise stores declined by 27,000 over the month. Retail trade
employment edged down in 2017 (-67,000), after increasing by 203,000 in 2016.

Employment in other major industries, including mining, wholesale trade, transportation
and warehousing, information, financial activities, and government, changed little over
the month.

The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls was unchanged at
34.5 hours in December. In manufacturing, the workweek edged down by 0.1 hour to 40.8
hours, while overtime remained at 3.5 hours. The average workweek for production and
nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm payrolls was unchanged at 33.8 hours. (See
tables B-2 and B-7.)

In December, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose
by 9 cents to $26.63. Over the year, average hourly earnings have risen by 65 cents, or
2.5 percent. Average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory
employees increased by 7 cents to $22.30 in December. (See tables B-3 and B-8.)

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for October was revised down from
+244,000 to +211,000, and the change for November was revised up from +228,000 to
+252,000. With these revisions, employment gains in October and November combined were
9,000 less than previously reported. (Monthly revisions result from additional reports
received from businesses and government agencies since the last published estimates and
from the recalculation of seasonal factors.) After revisions, job gains have averaged
204,000 over the last 3 months.

http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.nr0.htm

 

Life Sciences:

“People who sleep less than 8 hours a night more likely to suffer from depression, anxiety”

Sleeping less than the recommended eight hours a night is associated with intrusive, repetitive thoughts like those seen in anxiety or depression, according to new research from Binghamton University, State University of New York.

Binghamton University Professor of Psychology Meredith Coles and former graduate student Jacob Nota assessed the timing and duration of sleep in individuals with moderate to high levels of repetitive negative thoughts (e.g., worry and rumination). The research participants were exposed to different pictures intended to trigger an emotional response, and researchers tracked their attention through their eye movements. The researchers discovered that regular sleep disruptions are associated with difficulty in shifting one’s attention away from negative information. This may mean that inadequate sleep is part of what makes negative intrusive thoughts stick around and interfere with people’s lives .

“We found that people in this study have some tendencies to have thoughts get stuck in their heads, and their elevated negative thinking makes it difficult for them to disengage with the negative stimuli that we exposed them to,” said Coles. “While other people may be able to receive negative information and move on, the participants had trouble ignoring it.”

These negative thoughts are believed to leave people vulnerable to different types of psychological disorders, such as anxiety or depression, said Coles.

“We realized over time that this might be important — this repetitive negative thinking is relevant to several different disorders like anxiety, depression and many other things,” said Coles. “This is novel in that we’re exploring the overlap between sleep disruptions and the way they affect these basic processes that help in ignoring those obsessive negative thoughts.”

The researchers are further exploring this discovery, evaluating how the timing and duration of sleep may also contribute to the development or maintenance of psychological disorders. If their theories are correct, their research could potentially allow psychologists to treat anxiety and depression by shifting patients’ sleep cycles to a healthier time or making it more likely a patient will sleep when they get in bed.

The paper, “Shorter sleep duration and longer sleep onset latency are related to difficulty disengaging attention from negative emotional images in individuals with elevated transdiagnostic repetitive negative thinking” was published in ScienceDirect.

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/01/180104152947.htm

 

Technology:

“Machine learning will change jobs”

Machine learning computer systems, which get better with experience, are poised to transform the economy much as steam engines and electricity have in the past. They can outperform people in a number of tasks, though they are unlikely to replace people in all jobs.

So say Carnegie Mellon University’s Tom Mitchell and MIT’s Erik Brynjolfsson in a Policy Forum commentary to be published in the Dec. 22 edition of the journal Science. Mitchell, who founded the world’s first Machine Learning Department at CMU, and Brynjolfsson, director of the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy in the Sloan School of Management, describe 21 criteria to evaluate whether a task or a job is amenable to machine learning (ML).

“Although the economic effects of ML are relatively limited today, and we are not facing the imminent ‘end of work’ as is sometimes proclaimed, the implications for the economy and the workforce going forward are profound,” they write. The skills people choose to develop and the investments businesses make will determine who thrives and who falters once ML is ingrained in everyday life, they argue.

ML is one element of what is known as artificial intelligence. Rapid advances in ML have yielded recent improvements in facial recognition, natural language understanding and computer vision. It already is widely used for credit card fraud detection, recommendation systems and financial market analysis, with new applications such as medical diagnosis on the horizon.

Predicting how ML will affect a particular job or profession can be difficult because ML tends to automate or semi-automate individual tasks, but jobs often involve multiple tasks, only some of which are amenable to ML approaches.

“We don’t know how all of this will play out,” acknowledged Mitchell, the E. Fredkin University Professor in CMU’s School of Computer Science. Earlier this year, for instance, researchers showed that a ML program could detect skin cancers better than a dermatologist. That doesn’t mean ML will replace dermatologists, who do many things other than evaluate lesions.

“I think what’s going to happen to dermatologists is they will become better dermatologists and will have more time to spend with patients,” Mitchell said. “People whose jobs involve human-to-human interaction are going to be more valuable because they can’t be automated.”

Tasks that are amenable to ML include those for which a lot of data is available, Mitchell and Brynjolfsson write. To learn how to detect skin cancer, for instance, ML programs were able to study more than 130,000 labeled examples of skin lesions. Likewise, credit card fraud detection programs can be trained with hundreds of millions of examples.

ML can be a game changer for tasks that already are online, such as scheduling. Jobs that don’t require dexterity, physical skills or mobility also are more suitable for ML. Tasks that involve making quick decisions based on data are a good fit for ML programs; not so if the decision depends on long chains of reasoning, diverse background knowledge or common sense.

ML is not a good option if the user needs a detailed explanation for how a decision was made, according to the authors. In other words, ML might be better than a physician at detecting skin cancers, but a dermatologist is better at explaining why a lesion is cancerous or not.

Work is underway, however, on “explainable” ML systems.

Understanding the precise applicability of ML in the workforce is critical for understanding its likely economic impact, the authors say. Earlier this year, a National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine study on information technology and the workforce, co-chaired by Mitchell and Brynjolfsson, noted that information technology advances have contributed to growing wage inequality.

“Although there are many forces contributing to inequality, such as increased globalization, the potential for large and rapid changes due to ML, in many cases within a decade, suggests that the economic effects may be highly disruptive, creating both winners and losers,” they write. “This will require considerable attention among policy makers, business leaders, technologists and researchers.”

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/12/171221143032.htm

 

Healthcare:

“New behavioral science approach combines experiments, models”

Researchers from North Carolina State University and Northwestern University are outlining a new approach to behavioral research that draws on experimental studies and computer models to offer new insights into organizational and group behavior.

“Social research has a history of using both small-scale experiments and computer models to explore questions about human behavior — but there are very few examples of how to use these two techniques in concert,” says William Rand, a computer scientist and assistant professor of business management in NC State’s Poole College of Management who is co-lead author of a paper describing the work.

“This paper details an approach that we feel capitalizes on the best aspects of both research techniques to advance our understanding of the behavior of large groups and advance the field,” says Ned Smith, an associate professor of management and organizations at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, who is co-lead author of the paper.

Here’s how the approach works. Researchers design and conduct experiments aimed at addressing a behavioral question, such as how a small group tries to solve a particular problem. The data from those experiments can then be fed into a model, allowing researchers to predict how this behavior would manifest itself on a larger scale. The results of the model may then be used to inform future experiments, further validating the model or shedding new light on the research question.

For example, experiments may find that groups take two different approaches to solving a given problem. The model could then help researchers predict which circumstances lead groups to choose one approach over the other. The researchers can then devise additional experiments to determine whether the model is correct.

“This sort of work can help us answer questions that have relevance for everything from business management to public policy,” Rand says. “That’s because computer models provide us with a testbed to explore how sensitive lab results are to the particular settings they are constructed around, as well as examining policy interventions that may alter social behavior in beneficial ways.

“Our goal with this paper is to make people aware of this approach, which makes good use of experimental data and advances in computational modeling,” Rand says. “We think this is a valuable tool that could help advance the field of organizational behavior as a whole. We want this idea to catch on.”

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/01/180103101113.htm

 

The Industrials:

“Unemployment Rate Remains at 17-Year Low”

Employers added 148,000 jobs last month as the U.S. unemployment rate remained at a 17 year low of 4.1 percent, according to the most recent U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report. The December gain is the 87th consecutive month of job growth. The number of unemployed persons was essentially unchanged at 6.6 million.

Most economists expect the Trump administration’s tax cuts to help speed the economy’s already decent pace of growth. Some envision the unemployment rate dropping as low as 3.5 percent by the end of 2018, according to the Associated Press.

Economists surveyed by Reuters had been expecting nonfarm payrolls to grow by 190,000. The total was well below the November pace of 252,000, which was revised up from the initially reported 228,000.

“A little bit of a disappointment when you only get 2,000 jobs out of the government and get retail at the absolute busiest time of the year losing 20,000 jobs. It just goes to show the true struggle that traditional brick and mortar is having now,” said JJ Kinahan, chief market strategist at TD Ameritrade. “Outside of that I actually thought it was a good report.

Where Job Growth Occurred

Employment in healthcare increased by 31,000 in December. Employment continued to trend up in ambulatory healthcare services (+15,000) and hospitals (+12,000). Healthcare added 300,000 jobs in 2017, compared with a gain of 379,000 jobs in 2016.

  • Construction added 30,000 jobs in December, with most of the increase among specialty trade contractors (+24,000). In 2017, construction employment increased by 210,000, compared with a gain of 155,000 in 2016.
  • In December, manufacturing employment rose by 25,000, largely reflecting a gain in durable goods industries (+21,000). Manufacturing added 196,000 jobs in 2017, following little net change in 2016 (-16,000).
  • Employment in food services and drinking places changed little in December (+25,000). Over the year, the industry added 249,000 jobs, about in line with an increase of 276,000 in 2016.
  • In December, employment changed little in professional and business services (+19,000). In 2017, the industry added an average of 44,000 jobs per month, in line with its average monthly gain in 2016.
  • Employment in retail trade was about unchanged in December (-20,000). Within the industry, employment in general merchandise stores declined by 27,000 over the month. Retail trade employment edged down in 2017 (-67,000), after increasing by 203,000 in 2016.
  • Employment in other major industries, including mining, wholesale trade, transportation and warehousing, information, financial activities, and government, changed little over the month.

What Sectors Are Hiring

U.S. employers in all sectors expected hiring to pick up in the first quarter, with 21 percent planning to add staff. According to the latest “Employment Outlook Survey,” released by ManpowerGroup, employers in all 13 national industry sectors expected to grow staffing levels during the final quarter of 2017: leisure & hospitality (by 28 percent), transportation & utilities (26 percent), professional & business services (23 percent), wholesale & retail trade (23 percent), durable goods manufacturing (19 percent), construction (18 percent), education & health services (14 percent), financial activities (14 percent), information (14 percent), mining (14 percent), government (13 percent), nondurable goods manufacturing (13 percent) and other services (13 percent).

When compared with the final quarter of 2017, transportation & utilities sector employers nationwide reported moderately stronger hiring intentions. A slight improvement in hiring prospects was reported for two industry sectors at the national level: construction and wholesale & retail trade. Hiring plans remained relatively stable in all the remaining national industry sectors when compared with the previous quarter.

“We’re seeing a renaissance in industries like construction and manufacturing in the U.S.,” said Becky Frankiewicz, president of ManpowerGroup North America. “These are not the jobs of the past – many are highly skilled roles that will build America’s future. Strong hiring intentions tell us employers have positions to fill, yet we know they’re struggling to find people with the right skills to fill them.”

“Technological disruption will touch all industries sooner or later,” Ms. Frankiewicz said. “It’s time for us to embrace this change and do more to invest in American workers.” She pointed to her own company as a prime example of what employers can do to make the transition to the workforce of tomorrow.”

Similar Findings

According to a recently released report by Indeed, 61percent of the 1,000 HR leaders who were surveyed said they expect to hire more people next year than they did in 2017. By contrast, just 10 percent are planning to reduce their rate of hiring, while the rest plan to maintain current levels.

Most businesses in virtually every industry should see a jump in hiring in 2018, but some will be more aggressive in going after talent than others, according to the report. The most active sectors for recruiting will be architecture and engineering, where 82 percent plan to hire, IT and telecom companies (75 percent) and professional services firms (71 percent).

“I’ve been recruiting for nearly 30 years, and rarely have I been as optimistic as I am right now about the coming year,” said Rob Tillman, founder of executive search firm TillmanCarlson. “Historically, recruiting activity has most closely tracked the consumer confidence index which is now at a 17-year high. With the stock market at all-time highs and tax cuts on the horizon, economic conditions should get even better in 2018,” he said. “While we may be entering the final stages of the economic recovery, the trends we see in the war for talent should become even more pronounced in 2018.”

“The first major trend we’ve seen in the markets is the increasingly greater impact of big data and predictive analytics,” said Mr. Tillman. “Big data and digital is becoming hugely important in hiring CEOs and CTOs for tech companies, but what’s truly amazing is how these influences are impacting nearly every business in every industry.” The speed of innovation is completely changing the competitive landscape, he noted.

The second major trend Mr. Tillman identified is middle market companies winning in the war for talent. “As large corporations have largely recruited established and proven leaders from each other, middle market companies are stepping up and providing more attractive opportunities for leaders to make a meaningful impact and participate in value creation,” he said. He said private equity investors are increasingly in the mix and with fundraising at an all-time high leaders can expect to see even more opportunity to lead smaller companies with significant equity plays.

https://huntscanlon.com/unemployment-rate-remains-17-year-low-2

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