We've been receiving a ton of messy winter weather here in the North East this season! As we venture out today in anticipation of more than five inches of snow we see local businesses, schools and government offices prepare for an early shut down, and maybe even a late opening tomorrow. Businesses have been losing valuable productive time because of the snow.
Changing gears for a moment: Why did the job market only add 74,000 jobs last month? Why did over 300,000 people abandon their job hunt, causing the lowest labor participation rate (62.8%) in over 35 years? The employment was growing - slowly - but it was growing. What happened? Could it have been the weather?
Yes it could!
The Labor Department counted over 270,000 people unable to work last month due to winter weather conditions (and that's just what was reported). The December average in this area is between 160,000 - 170,000. The unemployment rate rose to a high of 6.7% in December - the highest rate of 2013. However, the high rate is largely due to older retiring workers and the dwindling numbers of job seekers. So it's unclear what role the weather is playing when it comes to job searches.
One thing is clear: when businesses can't operate as usual there are less hours to for them to focus on hiring. If you're frustrated with a job search, stay strong and dedicated! As the winter weather subsides, businesses will be back to more normal hours. This could lead to more hiring!
Sources: Forbes Magazine, 1/10/14