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Joe Coombs is Senior Analyst, Workforce Trends and Forecasting for the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). Joe tracks current trends and issues in the labor market including the economy's impact on hiring and recruiting, wages and compensation, retirement benefits and the aging of the work force. In addition to The Jobs Blog, he also writes monthly and bi-annual reports on the labor market using data culled by the research department. Contact him at or on LinkedIn


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Joe Coombs


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Articles by Joe Coombs


New projections from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) show that the labor force is getting older and that job creation will slow in the near future. The demographic shift will result in a lower rate of participation in the labor force overall and, in turn, fewer employment opportunities will mean increased competition among those already struggling to find new jobs.

January 8, 2016

Metro of the Month: Houston

The recent decline in oil prices has slowed growth in the energy-heavy Houston region, but unemployment in the area remains low as other industries have expanded.

December 17, 2015


The U.S. labor market has continued to add jobs this year, and in recent months the unemployment rate has fallen to levels not seen since 2008. And yet, there is plenty of evidence that hiring could be even stronger: Job openings in our country’s labor force remain at near-record levels, and many HR professionals have cited challenges with finding qualified applicants for their vacancies.

December 4, 2015


If you still need proof that our society—and, in turn, the U.S. labor force—is getting older, look no further than our increased life expectancy and lower birth rate, according to one expert.

November 18, 2015


The Atlanta region has quickly built a reputation as a hub for the tech sector, and that industry is among the leaders for economic growth at the moment, along with biosciences and advanced manufacturing.

November 16, 2015


October 16, 2015


Continued job growth in the health care, manufacturing and biosciences industries has helped to keep the unemployment rate low in the Minneapolis/St. Paul region. State and local officials, however, have rolled out several grant programs to get even more people back to work.

September 15, 2015


However, middle-wage jobs remain below pre-recession levels

The labor market’s ongoing recovery—often described as steady, if unspectacular—still has its share of skeptics who contend that too many of the new jobs fall into the low-paying, low-skill category. But several recent reports provide some evidence that the job market is getting much healthier overall.

September 3, 2015

'Good Jobs' Returning to the U.S. Economy

News Updates
August 27, 2015


The Philadelphia area’s economy has long relied on its sizable health care and higher education sectors. Much of its future success, however, may depend on easier access to jobs in manufacturing, retail and other industries that are expanding in the region.

August 17, 2015


Telework option for foreign service officers’ families in pilot phase

Employers’ increased acceptance of telecommuting and flexible schedules is redefining the workweek.

“Workers want more flexibility in their schedules, and with improvements in technology that enable employees to check in at any time, from anywhere, it makes sense to allow employees to work outside the traditional nine-to-five schedule,” said Rosemary Haefner, CareerBuilder’s chief human resources officer, in a statement.

July 31, 2015

A series of corporate relocations, steady growth in real estate development and a jobless rate that is consistently below the national average have all made the Dallas region’s economy a top performer among major metro areas in the United States.

July 15, 2015

Hiring conditions are perhaps in their strongest stretch since the Great Recession ended six years ago. Job openings have reached a level not seen in nearly 15 years, and more workers are quitting their current positions in search of something better, thus creating churn and opportunities for other job seekers.

July 10, 2015


For the past several years, San Francisco officials have scrambled to find jobs for younger residents as summer approaches. And through partnerships with local nonprofits and the private sector, the city to date has matched nearly 20,000 of its youths with warm-weather work gigs.

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News Updates
June 5, 2015

What Is the State of U.S. Manufacturing?

News Updates
May 18, 2015

Millions of professionals flock to Las Vegas each year for meetings and conventions, and the Society for Human Resource Management is once again part of that group in 2015. Corporate gatherings are big business in Las Vegas, where tourism and related travel activity represent the heart of the metro region’s economy.

May 18, 2015

High-tech entrepreneurship, the health care industry and a resurgent manufacturing sector are just a few of the important elements of the Chicago region’s economy.

April 15, 2015

Despite Cloudy Future, Health Benefits Remain Vital

News Updates
April 6, 2015


Los Angeles is home to the second-largest metropolitan economy in the United States, but did you know that it is also the birthplace of an array of pop culture standards? The electric guitar, the bathing suit and the skateboard were all developed here, along with several high-tech innovations like the Mars rover and the F-117, the first stealth fighter built for the United States military.

March 16, 2015