Searching for a job is a full-time job in itself. But how long does the average person need to beat on doors these days before one of them finally opens? We’ve got the numbers.
Looking at the Big Picture
This chart from Statista, a leading provider of market and consumer data, tracks the average duration of unemployment over the past three decades. The 2020 pandemic obviously skewed recent numbers, but you can see how historically the duration is highest during recessions and lowest during economic expansions. Makes sense. In the tough market conditions of the early 2010s, the average duration of unemployment was 40 weeks, but it fell into the low 20s as the economy picked up in the mid-2010s.
Zooming In on the Past Two Years
This chart from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics breaks timely data down by a number of factors but ultimately confirms that the average (mean) duration of unemployment has recently been hovering around 20 weeks. While that statistic covers all industries and occupations, it’s important to note that the length of time before the average unemployed person lands a job has always varied significantly depending on the industry and job market conditions at the time, along with global events like the pandemic and the war in Ukraine.
Digging Even Deeper
Reading the Economic Tea Leaves
Since the amount of time you could reasonably expect to be pounding the pavement is so clearly tied to the overall economy, you’re probably wondering where we might be headed in 2023. Two recent thought pieces are illustrative, if not quite definitive. This one brings together the unemployment rate, gross domestic product, durable goods orders, interest rates, the Consumer Price Index, and the stock market to paint a not-so-rosy picture. But this one offers some hope by pointing out that while many experts expect a recession this year, a good chunk of them think it’ll be pretty mild.
The Bottom Line
You might therefore conclude that you’re looking at around four months of job searching before you’ll grab the brass ring. But look, that’s a very broad estimate. Your education, experience, skills, and drive will have a significant effect on the amount of time it takes you to find a job this year. So will your location, the industry you’re in, and, perhaps most importantly, your job search strategy. Taking a proactive, persistent approach and being open to a range of opportunities can increase your chances of finding a job faster. One thing you could also do is connect with a reputable permanent placement recruiting firm—one with a nationwide presence and a quality-oriented approach. For CyberCoders candidates, the average time between applying for a job and being placed in it is 28 days.
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