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Black unemployment rises in February

Irina Novoselsky, CareerBuilder CEO, joins Yahoo Finance to discuss job growth and shifts in the workforce due to the pandemic.

Video Transcript

MYLES UDLAND: All right, let's stay on the jobs report and talk a bit about the broader setup for those seeking employment throughout the economy. Joining us now to talk about all this is Irina Novoselsky. She is the CEO at CareerBuilder. Irina, thanks for joining the show this morning. Let's start with your view of the jobs report, I guess, also in the context of how you guys see the labor market today, what dynamism looks like, what companies are looking for, what they can find, and put all that together for us.

IRINA NOVOSELSKY: Yeah, we sit in an interesting spot, because we're sitting at a bird's eye view of both the supply and demand side at CareerBuilder. And so one of the things that everybody's seeing is the 6.2% unemployment rate. When you dig underneath, there's some positives and then there's some opportunities for improvement.

On the positive side, as you've heard, 90% of jobs that were created were in the hospitality and leisure sector. When you dig into that, 75% of those were for bars and restaurants, which is just great to see. We also saw that retail trade continues to be in the top 10, which is an encouraging sign.

Some of the opportunities for improvement are really on the equality demographic side that we look at. We saw the overall rate at 6.2 for unemployment. Women came down, and actually for the first time since COVID, really have gone below 6% at 5.9, which is still about 2 times more than we were back before COVID. When you look at Black Americans, it's a really concerning demographic stat that we see, in that unemployment is 9.9%. And they are the only category that has actually increased this month from last month. And so there is definitely still more work to be done there.

JULIE HYMAN: And so Irina, it's Julie here. Where are you seeing sort of those mismatches, for example, as evidenced on your platform, and/or in the data? Where are you seeing people who want jobs, where are they not able to get them? And on the flip side, where are you seeing employers that want people in certain industries and aren't able to find them?

IRINA NOVOSELSKY: Well, one of the things that we're seeing on both sides is flexibility. That is really the key is flexibility on skills. For example, we've talked about that there are several industries that aren't hiring yet. Yet there are a lot of professionals in that space that have a skill set that can match for different roles. And so having companies be really open to hiring based on skill set versus experience, or technology matches based on skill set. But it is a mentality shift that we all have to do. And on the candidate side as well. One of the surveys that we ran that 85% of candidates are open to looking outside of their regular industry.

The second thing that we're seeing as far as just trends in mismatch of dynamics between supply and demand is really the shift to work from home. And this is-- we've talked about this over COVID-- what are the lasting implications of this? And as we survey candidates, one of the things that we're seeing is that 35% of candidates won't even interview for a job without work from home flexibility.

On the other side, we're seeing a significant amount of candidates applying outside of their geography, expecting that post-COVID there will be more flexibility on work from home. And one of the things that that's actually driving is a little bit more of a competitive advantage for medium size and smaller businesses in non-top cities across the country. It's really making it a little bit more competitive to get the best talent.

MYLES UDLAND: And you know, Irina, we're all working from home here at Yahoo Finance still. So it's top of mind for us. I'm curious if you guys have any sense of how companies are or are not tweaking pay packages based on where some people are based. And also, I think there's a question of whether employers will have the leverage to get people back into the office on a regular basis. It kind of sounds like they're not going to have that, based on some of those trends that you outlined.

IRINA NOVOSELSKY: I think the companies that are going to be mandating typical work from the office Monday through Friday are going to have a tough time getting exceptional talent. But the other thing, of what are candidates looking for, where are the competitive levers to get the best talent, it's actually shifting. And we're seeing three main things.

One is really around diversity and equity. It's no longer just a nice-to-have for businesses. Candidates are demanding to understand a company's diversity statistics. And that is a key reason for them wanting to join a company. The second thing is really around culture and making sure that the values that the company is exhibiting is matching up with what the candidate is looking for. And then benefits continues to fall into the top three.

What you will not see, and haven't seen yet, is really around looking for price or salary movement. One of the things that we're seeing both from the unemployed population and employed population is the emphasis to have the ability to work from home and work for a company that really matches to what they're looking for.

- Irina, clearly the US economy is starting to accelerate. And that's a good thing. Are you seeing any signs of a wage inflation?

IRINA NOVOSELSKY: Not yet. We are starting to see job growth acceleration that is not really presented in these unemployment numbers yet because they're a little delayed. We're seeing that about 50% of the states across the country are seeing double-digit job posting growth. So they're starting to open roles for candidates to apply. And we're seeing in early week of March a similar trend as well.

MYLES UDLAND: All right, Irina Novoselsky is the CEO at CareerBuilder. Irina, thanks so much for joining the program this morning. I know we'll be in touch.

IRINA NOVOSELSKY: Thank you, Myles.