Massachusetts economy doing ‘quite well’ after winter slowdown

A recent article in the Boston Business Journal details great news for the local economy. Indicators such as Massachusetts’ real gross domestic product, unemployment rate, and the growth of wages and salaries are all strong and are also doing better than their corresponding national rates.

Read the full article here.



Massachusetts Unemployment Rate Holds Steady in June

Massachusetts’ unemployment rate remained at 4.6 percent in June, its lowest point since before the recession began in 2007, according to the Massachusetts Office of Labor and Workforce Development. The state added 10,500 jobs last month, making June the tenth straight month of job gains for Massachusetts.


The biggest job growth reported was the professional, scientific, and business services sector, which added 5,200 jobs. About 30 percent of all jobs added in Massachusetts over the past year were in this sector, including jobs in the biotech industry.


Nationally, the unemployment rate is 5.5 percent.

PSG Named Largest Boston-Based Temporary Staffing Firm in Massachusetts

Professional Staffing Group is among the largest temporary staffing firms in Massachusetts, according to the Boston Business Journal. Ranking #3 on the BBJ’s annual list of the area’s largest temporary staffing firms, PSG is the largest firm listed with headquarters in Massachusetts. The rankings are based on the average number of temporary workers supplied daily in Massachusetts. This is the 13th consecutive year that PSG has been named to the list.


PSG provides staffing services for clients in need of office support, technical, creative, finance, healthcare and human resources talent in Massachusetts.

Massachusetts Unemployment Drops to 8-Year Low

Massachusetts’ unemployment rate fell slightly to 4.6 percent in May, the lowest it’s been since December 2007, according to the state’s Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development. Massachusetts employers added 7,400 jobs in May, the ninth consecutive month of job gains.


Construction experienced the largest uptick in hiring of about 3,500 jobs. Retail gained 1,500 jobs, manufacturing added 600 jobs and financial activities added 700 jobs, while transportation and warehousing lost 500 jobs.


Over the past year, the state unemployment rate has fallen 1.2 percentage points and is nearly half of the peak unemployment rate of 8.8 percent in September 2009. Education and health services, as well as professional, scientific, and business services have grown fastest in the past year.


Nationally, the unemployment rate is 5.5 percent.

Boston is Popular with Recent College Grads

A recent report from the American Institute for Economic Research (AIER) ranked Boston as the third most popular major American city among young college graduates.


This trend appears to be a reversal of a study two years ago that found a “brain drain” occurring as recent college graduates were leaving New England at a faster rate than any region in the country.


Among the eight economic and quality-of-life factors in AIER’s Employment Destinations Index that influenced migration patterns of college grads ages 22-35, the most important were:

  1. A high density of people with a college degree
  2. A low unemployment rate
  3. The ability to get around without a car


Other factors in the Employment Destinations Index included bars and restaurants per 1,000 residents, as well as earning power, rents, competition for jobs, and ethnic and racial diversity.


Massachusetts’ unemployment rate recently fell to its lowest rate since 2008 and the unemployment rate for workers with college degrees is about half the national average.


Despite the MBTA’s recent troubles, Boston takes public transportation seriously. Several PSG clients have chosen to relocate to more accessible, urban locations when upgrading their office space. This is an important consideration for attracting Millennial workers who may be eschewing car ownership.


PSG clients, and other Boston-area employers, are also attracting younger workers with state-of-the-art office design that promotes collaboration. Benefits such as providing free and healthy meals are also popular recruiting and retention tools.


What is your organization doing to attract younger workers? If you’d like help recruiting and hiring talent from this demographic, give PSG a call today.



Photo by Bill Damon




Massachusetts Unemployment Rate Lowest Since 2008

The Massachusetts economy added jobs for the eighth consecutive month and Massachusetts’ unemployment rate has dropped to 4.7 percent, according to the state’s Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development’s monthly report for April.


Massachusetts employers added more than 10,000 jobs in April, after adding 12,000 jobs in March. The biggest job gains in April were in the education and health industries, which added 4,500 jobs last month, and in professional, scientific and health industries, which grew by 3,700 jobs. Leisure and hospitality businesses added 1,900 jobs. Construction, information, and government also grew.


The last time the state’s unemployment rate was at 4.7 percent was in January 2008.


Nationally, the unemployment rate is 5.4 percent.

Managing Your References

Employment references can be a critical element to your job search; the right reference can make the difference to a hiring manager who is on the fence. In this article, PSG Director Kristen Coppins shares advice for managing your references to ensure a positive experience.

Kristen’s advice includes keeping your references aware of your job search process and keeping your contacts current. Read more advice on managing references from Kristen and here.




PSG Sponsors NEHRA’s Annual Diversity & Inclusion Gala, Student Scholarships

PSG was once again proud to sponsor the annual Northeast Human Resources Association (NEHRA) Diversity & Inclusion Gala. At the Gala, which was held last week, PSG awarded scholarships for Boston students.


The PSG Scholarship was awarded to Bill Zhou, a senior at Boston Latin School, who led students in calling on the Massachusetts Code of Conduct for student discipline that is more fair and more respectful of students’ diverse backgrounds.


PSG was also part of the selection committee that chose Juliana Pena as the Blue Beacon Scholarship Winner, which is sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts. Juliana was honored for her community service work to integrate students with special needs, low incomes, and minority backgrounds.


In this short video, Bill Zhou inspires us with his work to identify opportunities and work for change: 


Hear Juliana Pena explain the motivation behind her long hours spent creating a more inclusive community: 

2015 College Grads are Entering Strongest Entry-Level Job Market Since Before the Recession

A recent study by Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. indicates that this year’s job market for recent college graduates is the best in the post-Recession era.

The study found that unemployment for recent grads is declining. The most recent report shows the unemployment rate of 20- to 24-year-olds with bachelor’s degrees is at 4.4 percent, down from 6.4 percent in 2014. At its peak in 2011, the unemployment rate for this demographic group was 8.5 percent.

Trends impacting the entry-level job market include a rise in the number of Baby Boomers who are retiring, as well as an increase in the number of employees who are quitting their jobs for new opportunities. Job churn from these events increases the number of job openings overall.

More good news for recent and soon-to-be college grads:

Survey results published by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) found that one-third of organizations (35 percent) have already hired college students to begin working before or after their 2015 graduation. Of the almost two-thirds (65 percent) of employers that have not yet hired graduates, the majority (71 percent) plan to hire graduates, an 18 percent increase since 2013.

Another survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) found that companies plan to increase hiring of college graduates by 10 percent over last year’s pace.

More than 1.8 million college graduates will enter the job market this year.

Adapting to a Candidate-Driven Job Market

This post was originally published in NEHRA’s April e-newsletter. 


New England-area employers and hiring managers are experiencing first-hand a shift to a candidate-driven job market. They’re finding that it’s become more difficult to land top talent and that candidates are increasingly in the driver’s seat.


This shift is a result of several market conditions that drive demand for skilled workers, including:

  • 4.8 percent – Massachusetts’ unemployment rate in March 2015
  • 10,500 jobs were added to the Massachusetts economy in March, about double the monthly average job growth over the past year
  • 2 percent of the U.S.’ eligible workforce is participating in the labor market; according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the labor participation rate in March was the highest it’s been since June 2010
  • There are now 5.1 million job openings in the U.S., an increase from 4.2 million in 2014 and a rise of more than 21 percent


This demand for highly skilled workers – across all industries – continues to rise and has become a central challenge for recruiters and hiring managers. Recruiters and hiring managers are becoming well aware that this candidate-driven market exists and they are responding.


Highly skilled workers have many job openings to choose from, and are ultimately receiving multiple job offers during a typical job search. Skills and experience in IT, professional services and healthcare continue to be among the highest sought after. For example, temporary contractors with IT skills and experience are seeing multiple offers for future projects or permanent positions before wrapping up projects they’re currently on.


Not only are skilled candidates seeing multiple opportunities and then fielding several offers, but compensation and benefits are also affected. Salaries across the U.S. have remained mostly stagnant, but for highly skilled IT, Project Management, and niche financial and healthcare professionals, it’s a completely different story. One banking client of ours in Boston hires several experienced consultants to facilitate cyclical financial reporting projects. According to him, “Recently, there are just fewer immediately available candidates with the specific skills [he] needs to hammer through these reports, and they are able to demand higher hourly rates simply because of supply and demand.”


Our clients are faced with a critical decision over how much budget to allocate for each new hire. If they allocate too little, they will lose candidates to other offers. Large tech companies like Google and Facebook are setting new standards for both compensation and benefits, forcing other companies to follow suit. A large social media and tech company just outside Boston recently offered select highly skilled software engineers salaries at three to five times the market average, and is increasing company-provided lunch from three days per week to five days per week starting in July this year. Employers are trying to be flexible and think creatively about how they attract talent.


Companies in the Boston and New England area have been forced to rethink how they go about getting work done, the type of candidates they end up hiring, and the process through which they hire. It seems obvious, but I’ll elaborate a bit. In today’s economic climate, where demand for skilled workers has steadily increased, companies going through organizational change, merger or acquisition, implementations, upgrades, growth or decline will face difficulty finding available talent that meets their exact need. The more prerequisites or more specific the skill-set is, the harder it is to find the perfect match.


Hiring managers feel the pressure of time to meet deadlines and manage through change, and more frequently than ever before, they are utilizing temporary or contingent workers to fulfill those needs. According to the BLS and Staffing Industry Analysts, temporary workers as a percentage of total employment is at an all-time high and trending upward. Some firms find that it is faster and more affordable to utilize a staffing firm to hire a temporary consultant than to post a job and find the perfect full-time employee.


Hiring managers who hire quickly win. With a talent pool on the decline and demand on the rise, those who shorten the time it takes to find and onboard candidates are winning the best available talent when they need it most. Many of our clients have elected to trust our screening and interviewing process, asking us to send our best available candidates, rather than requesting to see and screen resumes and then interview themselves. This can mean the difference between getting the best available candidate or the second or third round, and it saves our clients money and time toward deadlines and goals.


On another note, clients who are generally more flexible with required skills and experience are finding access to alternative talent pools more efficient and successful than waiting for the perfect candidate to turn up. Intertwined in our screening and interview process is a detailed and rigorous extraction of skills and experience not appearing on resumes. Another way to speed the vetting and hiring process up a bit is simply by using technology – like Skype or other video conferencing tools – to ease requirements for meeting in-person.


At PSG, we rely heavily on our ability to build strong relationships with clients where this process is a true collaboration, and we commonly coach and advise clients on effective search techniques. In today’s tight market, shortening identification and onboarding time, being more flexible with prerequisites and offering competitive wages and benefits are keeping our clients at a competitive advantage in this new candidate-driven market.


If you or your company would like to discuss hiring in a candidate-driven market, please feel free to reach me at or 617-250-1000.


Nicholas Brown is  Director – IT, Finance & Accounting, Creative and HR Staffing Solutions at Professional Staffing Group