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On February 4, 2011, the Bureau of Labor Statistics published the most recent unemployment rate for January 2011 of 9.049%, down .376 from 9.425% in December 2010. Down is good but 9% unemployment is still considered undesirably high.

This 9% unemployment rate is what we keep hearing about in the news. Yet employers lament that they can’t find the people they need for many of the positions they have available. High unemployment usually means there are more people looking for jobs than there are positions to be filled. So where is the disconnect?

Let’s look at the facts behind the number everyone is talking about. This 9% unemployment rate includes all types of workers—construction workers, farmers, service workers, professionals and everyone else who is looking for a job. However, the unemployment rate for management, professional and related types of workers has fluctuated between 3.9% and 5.1% for the past 25 months, coming in at 4.7% in January 2011. The unemployment rate for people with college degrees was fixed at 4.2% in January, the lowest it has been in 23 months.

The employment environment is therefore quite different for individuals with college degrees seeking management, professional and related jobs. For the most part, these people are already employed making it more difficult for employers with these open positions to find the qualified candidates they want. Those that are unemployed have a high probability of finding new jobs when they tap into the network of those searching for qualified candidates.

Professional recruiters are continuing to see demand for their services increase as employers recognize the real unemployment rate for college educated management, professional and related job seekers. This is because professional recruiters have established communication networks that allow them to source and connect with qualified candidates efficiently and effectively, saving employers’ time and money in the long run.

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