A Note from ProEdit
This article was written months before news broke of the novel coronavirus and COVID-19. In 2019, economists did indeed predict the end of historically low unemployment, but the pandemic exacerbated this trend well beyond most expectations. We acknowledge the hardship and loss endured by many workers and their families in the U.S. and around the world.
ProEdit exists “to put people to work.” We have decided to leave these suggestions on our blog for future reference and as a reminder to hope for the best and plan for the worst. We pray for a swift end to the pandemic and for the wellbeing of hardworking professionals everywhere.
Economists are predicting the end of record-low U.S. unemployment. There are a few things workers and companies can do to prepare for the coming downturn.
Since the 2008 recession, the U.S. has joined most of the world in a long period of economic expansion. UCLA economist Edward Leamer explains, “We are in the 38th quarter of the expansion and only one of the previous ten expansions has lived so long, and it perished in the 40th quarter.” The widespread expectation is that a contraction is coming, and with it, higher unemployment.
The projections show that the jobless rate is expected to begin rising in 2020. The median estimate for unemployment at the end of 2019 is 3.5 percent, compared with a projection of 3.6 percent for the end of 2020 and 3.8 percent in 2021.
The thought of losing a job or laying off staff is scary. But preparation is possible.
What Workers Can Do
1. Grow Your Skillset
Use this opportunity to take a class. Getting a new certification can strengthen your resume and lead to opportunities you don’t expect. Taking a class is also a great way to meet ambitious people and to network.
2. Take on More Responsibilities
Essential team members tend to have more professional longevity. Taking on new tasks not only makes you indispensable; it also develops more skills. Additionally, you can network as you work with new clients and other departments.
3. Update Your Resume
If you’re concerned about an imminent change in your employment status, consider updating your resume and putting your profile where recruiters can find it. Getting ahead of layoffs can limit the duration of future unemployment.
What Companies Can Do
1. Capture Your Experts’ Knowledge
One of the most important things a company can do to prepare for possible layoffs is to capture knowledge. First, define all the mission-critical processes, topics, software, and data that make your company function. Then, create a plan to spread the knowledge around. This can include interviews, surveys, training sessions, company wikis, manual development, and other systems to protect knowledge in case team members make unexpected departures.
2. Plan to Hire Staff
Periods of higher unemployment bring more skills into the job market. It’s actually a great time to hire top talent. During low unemployment, most qualified employees are already working someplace. The upside of high unemployment is that those employees are available to join your team.
3. Train Your Current Team
Sometimes, hiring new employees to fill gaps in team experience is not an option. Instead, consider training your team in new skillsets. For example, teach technical writing skills to your engineers so they can write their own documentation. Basically, improve your team when you can’t grow your team.
What ProEdit Can Do About Unemployment
ProEdit’s mission statement is Putting People to Work. We are recruiters specializing in business communication, and we also offer project services and training to help companies capture info and upgrade their teams.
Decide what you need to do to prepare for increasing unemployment, and then let us know how we can help.