You might not be a lover of statistics (I’m not overly fond of them myself), but it can be useful to pay attention to them—especially if they give you some potentially relevant insights into what’s happening or expected to happen in the world of employment. Bearing in mind that statistics, trend information and other data lose some of their meaning and validity if taken out of context, you can at least use them as a general guide in reaching some conclusions.
Good sources for employment statistics include the US Department of Labor (DOL), the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), and the Office of Personnel Management (for Federal employment statistics). What can you learn from sources such as these? For example, BLS information would tell you that unemployment rates were lower in August 2011 than the previous year in 262 of 372 major metropolitan areas and higher in 84 of those areas. If you’re in a tough area and considering relocation, you just might want to check out the areas where unemployment has dropped.
If you’re interested in trends that affect employment and other issues of key importance to you, a good source is The Riley Guide (see www.rileyguide.com/trends.html). Besides unemployment, you might be looking at which industries are growing and which are declining, how the areas are doing in terms of general growth and livability, and so on. The Riley Guide is one way to tap into that kind of information.