Job growth appears to be slowing even as the headline unemployment number has ticked down to 7.6%. Unfortunately, the reason for the lower number is not job growth but rather that labor force participation has been plummeting.

Things are better than they appear for our audience. People who work in an office and wear a collar have a much lower unemployment rate of 4 to 5%. Also, toy industry folks seem to be very good at creating consulting opportunities for themselves.

Here at Toyjobs, we’ve been on fire! (Success Stories) We’ve filled so many of our client’s key positions during the last few weeks that our job board is beginning to look anemic. Search starts have slowed over the last two weeks but I attribute this to the event-driven nature of toy industry hiring.

We have entered the annual phase of the calendar where a large percentage of toy execs that I speak with are complaining that retailers are “late” with their orders. Of course, the retailers don’t think they’re “late.” They’re just pushing as much risk as possible onto their suppliers in a seasonal fashion business. In a few weeks, these orders will come in. Some of those will come so late that it will be impossible to secure factory time, manufacture, and ship the goods for arrival at the time that the retailers want them. Many toy companies will do the impossible and either get the goods there at the appointed hour or find ways to roll back the delivery date.

When the orders come over the wires, toy executives will both grumble and breathe a sigh of relief. They will also need more people to get the work done which will trigger the next wave of toy industry job openings. Except for a few ugly years, like 2009-2011, the dogs bark but the caravan passes on.

All the best,
Tom Keoughan