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Study: What Are The Unemployed Doing To Find Work?

Jobless Americans Report What They Are (and Aren’t) Doing to Find Work

“State of the Unemployed” Survey Reveals Internet is Focus of Job Search

OKLAHOMA CITY, June 13, 2014 — Express Employment Professionals, the nation’s largest franchised staffing firm, today released results of the “State of the Unemployed” survey, revealing what jobless Americans are doing to find work.

The exhaustive survey was fielded online by Harris Poll on behalf of Express Employment Professionals from April 9 through April 21, 2014 among 1,500 unemployed adult Americans age 18 or older.

While 90 percent of unemployed Americans agree that they are “working hard to find a job,” the time they spend looking varies greatly. An overwhelming majority are not looking for work full time.

The unemployed were asked how many hours they spent “looking for work” in the previous week:

  • 14 percent said zero hours.
  • 22 percent said one to five hours.
  • 21 percent said six to 10 hours.
  • 21 percent said 11 to 20 hours.
  • 12 percent said 21 to 30 hours.
  • 9 percent said 31 or more hours.

The internet is the focus of most people’s job search. The unemployed were asked what they are doing to find a job:

  • 53 percent said visiting or researching online job boards.
  • 44 percent said visiting a prospective company’s website.
  • 43 percent said posting resumes on major online job boards.
  • 41 percent said entering search terms directly into an internet search engine box.
  • 33 percent said using resources at the state employment office.
  • 31 percent said going to job or career fairs.
  • 29 percent said visiting social networking sites.
  • 28 percent said visiting or researching websites that provide resume tips.
  • 24 percent said working with an employment agency.
  • 24 percent said working with a temporary staffing agency.
  • 24 percent said visiting professional networking websites.
  • 18 percent said doing research on a professional organization’s website.
  • 18 percent said working with a job recruiter.
  • 15 percent said visiting demographically specific websites.
  • 10 percent said attending social networking group meetings or events.
  • 9 percent said attending professional networking group meetings or events.
  • 8 percent said working with someone at a college/university career center.

The unemployed who spent time looking for work in the last week spent the most time researching opportunities, and more time was spent filling out applications online, rather than in person. Respondents were asked how they divided their time looking for work in the previous week among specific activities:

  • On average, they spent 24.6 percent of the time researching job opportunities.
  • On average, they spent 20.4 percent of the time filling out applications online.
  • On average, they spent 12.3 percent of the time sending resumes.
  • On average, they spent 11.0 percent of the time networking online.
  • On average, they spent 9.7 percent of the time filling out applications in person.
  • On average, they spent 7.8 percent of the time following up on submitted resumes or applications.
  • On average, they spent 5.7 percent of the time networking on the phone.
  • On average, they spent 4.9 percent of the time interviewing.
  • On average, they spent 3.5 percent of the time attending networking events such as job fairs.

Interviews have not come easily for those who are unemployed:

  • 46 percent report not having gone on any job interviews in the prior month.
  • Among those unemployed for more than two years, 71 percent report not having gone on any interviews in the prior month.
  • 23 percent say their last interview was in 2012 or before.

For many, moving to another state or getting more education is not an answer:

  • 44 percent are “not at all willing” to relocate to a new city/town for a job.
  • 60 percent are “not at all willing” to move to another state to find work.
  • 64 percent have no plans to go back to school to make themselves more marketable. 7 percent are currently enrolled in classes, and 6 percent have already attended classes or earned a new degree.

“The Internet is clearly the tool of choice for Americans looking for work, but with so many Americans out of work for so long, the Internet alone is insufficient,” said Bob Funk, chairman and CEO of Express, and a former chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.“If I were giving advice to those looking for work, I would emphasize the importance of making face-to-face connections with people in the industry in which one wants to work. Meeting and interacting with professionals who are doing what you’d like to do will be a game-changer for your job search.”

Read the full U.S. report.

Survey Methodology
This study was conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of Express Employment Professionals and included 1,500 U.S. adults aged 18 or older who are unemployed but capable of working (whether or not they receive unemployment compensation benefits) who participated in an online survey between April 9 and April 21, 2014. Results were weighted as needed for age by gender, education, race/ethnicity, region and household income. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online. Totals may not equal the sum of their individual components due to rounding. No estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated; a full methodology is available.


If you would like to arrange for an interview with Bob Funk to discuss this topic, please contact Sherry Kast at (405) 717-5966.


About Robert A. Funk
Robert A. “Bob” Funk is chairman and chief executive officer of Express Employment Professionals. Headquartered in Oklahoma City, the international staffing company has 700 franchises in the U.S., Canada and South Africa. Under his leadership, Express has put more than five million people to work worldwide. Funk served as the Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City and was also the Chairman of the Conference of Chairmen of the Federal Reserve.

About Express Employment Professionals
Express Employment Professionals puts people to work. It generated more than $2.5 billion in temporary sales and employed nearly 400,000 people in 2013, and ranks as the largest franchised staffing company and second largest privately held staffing company in the United States. Its long-term goal is to put a million people to work annually.