Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Job seekers line up to sign in before meeting prospective employers at a career fair at a hotel in Dallas. In Utah, women are twice as likely as men to earn lower wages, a new study has found. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
Why severe weather made little mark on U.S. hiring
First Published Mar 08 2014 11:52 am • Last Updated Mar 08 2014 11:52 am

Last month’s harsh winter weather cut across the U.S. economy, closing factories, canceling flights and keeping shoppers home.

Employers, though, kept hiring. They added 175,000 jobs in February, the government said Friday, far more than in December and January.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

So why didn’t the weather put job growth in a deep freeze?

Mainly because of how the government counts company payrolls. The Labor Department calculates jobs by asking companies how many people they employed during the pay period that includes the 12th day of the month.

If a company’s pay period is, say, every two weeks or twice a month, a staffer who worked just one day during that period would be counted as employed.

Take Junkluggers, a New York City junk removal company. Josh Cohen, the founder and CEO, says a snowstorm forced him to shut down for six full days in February. It cost his company an estimated $15,000 to $20,000 in lost revenue. Roughly 45 hourly workers went without pay.

But Junkluggers pays its employees twice a month. So anyone who logged any hours during that time would have been counted as employed.

Cohen thinks the severe weather will actually lead to increased business this spring as some customers call him for jobs that were delayed by the weather. Business typically rebounds solidly in spring after a tough winter, Cohen says. He plans to double his staff to about 120 by May.

Economists, too, expect most hiring disruptions to be made up in coming months, resulting in further job growth.

That’s the message from Patrice Rice, CEO of a recruiting firm based in Dunkirk, Md., who says the weather was a big headache last month. Her firm, with 30 offices nationwide, places executives, managers and chefs for restaurant and hotel chains such as Ruby Tuesday’s, Chipotle, Applebee’s and Marriott.


story continues below
story continues below

Snowstorms caused interviews to be postponed and delayed the completion of new restaurants, she says. That, in turn, delayed hiring at those sites. Overall, Rice thinks the number of people her company placed in jobs fell about 22 percent in February from its monthly average.

"You had somebody set up for an interview, and then the weather comes in, the interviews were canceled," she says. "People don’t want to drive for days, because they’re not used to the snow in Dallas and Atlanta."

Many Southern states were hit by much more severe winter weather than usual. About 700,000 customers lost power in the Southeast.

Still, Rice says the restaurant business is doing well, and she expects her business to recover strongly as job openings delayed by severe weather are filled.

And many companies, like Cleveland-based OnShift, plan their hiring over weeks and months, so aren’t much affected by weather. Mark Woodka, CEO of OnShift, has added 14 employees to his Cleveland-based software company this year, bringing its total staff to 74.

Woodka expects to add 11 more by May. The company’s software helps nursing homes, assisted living facilities and home health care firms manage and schedule their employees. They are hiring salespeople, software engineers and managers.

"We’ve been growing quickly, and our products are in demand," he says.



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.