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Looking for Work? Try Small Employers

Job seekers may find little encouragement in Thursday’s hiring data, but the numbers do suggest a change in strategy, experts say: Think small.

John M. Fugett /

Smaller companies seem to be doing more hiring than big corporations, according to a national employment report by payroll giant Automatic Data Processing Inc. The private sector added 133,000 jobs in May, below estimates of 155,000 in a survey by Dow Jones Newswires. However, employment on small payrolls — those with less than 50 workers — rose 67,000 in May. Cutbacks at big companies may be due to renewed concerns about economic problems in Europe, says Philip Noftsinger, president of CBIZ Payroll, a business services firm based in Roanoke, Va. “But I don’t believe the small-business owner is making material decisions based on macro-economic news.”

In fact, economists say there are tentative signs that small businesses may start hiring more. The firms added around 40,000 new jobs in May, according to a monthly small business employment index from Intuit Inc., a business management firm. And they added nearly 900,000 jobs since October 2009, says Susan Woodward, an economist working with Intuit. The index shows that there is a job recovery in small businesses underway, she says. The index is based on figures from 78,000 small businesses with fewer than 20 employees that use Intuit online payroll.

Temporary and contract employment is also on the rise, which some economists say is another sign of increased in confidence among smaller and medium-sized businesses. Staffing employment in May increased nearly 7% on the year, according to the American Staffing Association, which measures temporary and contract hires. Experts say many smaller business owners are more flexible and likely to take on temporary workers before committing to full-time employment. “These include jobs for accountants and architects,” says Mark J. Perry, professor of economics at the University of Michigan-Flint, “and not just lower-paid temporary employment.”

Other smaller private-sector businesses are already planning to add to their permanent, full-time workforce, according to a new survey this week by research firm Harris Interactive and, a jobs website. Almost one in five businesses with less than 250 employers added full-time employees over the past six months, the research found, while nearly one-quarter of the 2,000 hiring managers and human resource professionals surveyed said they expected to add permanent employees by the end of September. Half of those businesses also plan to take time training new employees who do not have direct experience in their industry.

However, economists say the Bureau of Labor Statistics May unemployment data to be released Friday will give a clearer picture of the health of the wider employment market. (Unlike the latest ADP data, these figures include government workers.) Plus, other data suggests a weakening in the wider employment market, which Noftsinger says could stall plans by smaller employers to add to their payrolls. The Conference Board says the number of online job postings dropped by 45,700 in May. However, that index has risen by 564,000 over the last five months.


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    • A fantastic blog, Ryan! You ipirsne me! Every time I see the pictures of Allison (a few years back) and you and Dan running Vermont, I think, Why not me? (for a 5K, that is). I’m going to do it in Oct., and will be cheering your new time in the Half as well. Thanks for this blog. Run on!Liz(Also bought a book. That’s something teachers have in common with attorneys.)

    • Hiya,Yes, a BA in Business Management would be a fine degree to apply to law scoohl with. In actuality, just about any four-year degree is suitable to apply to law scoohl with you are not limited to history, business, or finance. In addition, a bachelor’s degree (BA) is sufficient; you are not expected to have a Master’s (MA) degree. Although there are certainly “traditional” majors that students interested in eventually pursuing law undertake (economics, political science, history, etc.), there is no one “perfect” major when it comes to preparing you for law scoohl. Almost any academic subject is a fine choice. There are some majors (particularly those that aren’t strongly academic, such as the arts) that may place you at a slight disadvantage but, even so, plenty of students in those fields get admitted to law scoohl every year. The key is not so much what you major in but, rather, what you do within your major. Aim to do the following:1. Pick a major that will require a lot of reading- and research-intensive classes. This will not only prepare you for law classes (which themselves are incredibly research- and reading-heavy), but it will also demonstrate to scoohls, when you apply, that you can handle the academic load of law scoohl. Any of the majors you mentioned as interesting fall into this category. If you choose to instead major in something like photography, theater, or visual arts, try to take at least some of your non-major classes in predominantly academic subject, and be prepared to explain exactly why you feel law scoohl is a good career path for you in your law scoohl applications. 2. Keep an upward grade trend throughout college. This means that your grades either get stronger as you go through scoohl, or start off strong and remain there for all 4 years of college. Most law scoohls will want to see GPAs of 3.5 or above (the closer you can get to a 4.0, the better). If you get a B during your freshman year, it’s not a deal-breaker; your focus should be to keep your grades as high as you can get them.3. Take a challenging class load: Intro classes are okay for freshman and (maybe) sophomore year, but once you get to junior and senior year, your focus should be on upper-level classes and seminars that allow you to really hone in and focus on your specific interests within the major. And, as always, keep your grades up throughout.There are other things that you should consider doing in order to create the most advantageous law scoohl applicant profile possible:1. Establish rapport with your college professors (particularly during your junior and senior years). You can do this by attending office hours, working for them as a research assistant, and talking to them after class. They will be the ones writing your letters of recommendation, and will only be able to write effective, overwhelmingly positive ones is if they have specific, anecdotal knowledge of you and can favorably compare you to other students in your class.2. Work on your extracurriculars. Don’t worry about being a part of 30 student groups; instead, focus on 2 or 3. Become a part and get involved during your freshman and sophomore years, and then obtain leadership positions in them during your junior and senior years.3. Take the LSAT either the summer after junior year or the fall of your senior year of college. This will allow you to get the LSAT out of the way and apply as early in the admissions cycle as possible, which is incredibly beneficial to your overall chances. 4. Research law scoohls and become familiar with their LSAT and GPA requirements, as well as their acceptance percentages. A great place to start is the LSAC Official Guide to ABA-Approved Law Schools: I hope this was helpful! Feel free to reach out if you have any further questions; I’m happy to answer them!

    • Get a used bike, scour the streets and roadsides for recyclables. That’s “thinking small”, but possibly the best that you will be able to get in the medium term future!

    • Small Businesses do not offer the insurance benifits that are needed more by the unemployed. So if an unemployed person was to take a job, that would mean they would not qualify for public medical insurance. So what is the incentive to go off unemployement to earn the same amount after you calculate personal expenses needed to get through the work days. What a screwed up country we live in!!!

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