Shrinking American Workforce plus Lower Unemployment, Major Obstacles to HR Recruitment

Current low U.S. unemployment numbers (1) are obscuring the real story for HR directorsthe steadily shrinking workforce and resultant tight job market are bringing extremely difficult recruitment problems. Knowing how to hire correctly and wisely is the key, says human resources veteran Patrick Valtin of HireBox.

(Clearwater FL) March 5, 2018—The percentage of people eligible to work (age 16+) in the U.S. who are actually working, or available to work, has been shrinking since the implementation of long-term U.S. government safety nets. For U.S. men, this percentage (known as the Labor Force Participation Rate, or LFPR) has shrunk from 75.0% in 2000, to 69.2% at the beginning of 2018.(2) For women, the LFPR has gone from 60.3% in 2000 to 56.7% in 2018(3). The recent unemployment rates only express the small part of the diminished work force who are unemployed but available to work. CEO and President of HireBox.com—a results-based HR testing platform, says the resulting American labor market is presenting unprecedented challenges for HR managers in expansion-minded companies.

The shrinking American workforce has made hiring the right person a daily nightmare for small to medium-size businesses that are unprepared to deal with such a highly competitive job market. “It is a fact that in pursuit of other job opportunities, a high percentage of applicants are willing to misrepresent job experience, education, references, etc. on a resume,” says HireBox president and CEO Patrick Valtin, “especially with the potential problems that come from a rapidly growing practice of hiring subcontractors and other contingent workers.” (4)   

A contributing factor to the situation is the national economy’s steady shift away from the manufacturing sector into the services sector, a transition not everyone is willing or able to make. But the most significant factor in the shrinkage of the American labor force is the long-term effect of the safety net that has been gradually built since the Great Depression in an effort to support American workers. In the process, the safety measures have tended to act as disincentives to full employment, beginning with the Roosevelt administration’s post-Depression introduction of Social Security and unemployment insurance. (4)

Subsequent administrations have largely supported these efforts. The Eisenhower administration made national disability insurance a reality in 1956, and the Johnson’s War on Poverty brought Medicaid and the food stamp program. The Nixon administration instituted federal housing assistance in 1974. During the Great Recession, Obama temporarily doubled the maximum eligibility time for receiving unemployment insurance benefits.

Valtin states, “Evaluating prospective employees with proven testing methods is more important now than ever before.”

HireBox.com has created a one-of-a-kind kit that reveals the exact steps that any small-to-medium size business owner, HR representative, recruiter or executive needs to know in order to surround themselves with top employees, with production records that can be validated.

About HireBox.com

HireBox is a results-based testing platform utilizing legal quality control to give hiring missions the best outcome. Founded by Patrick Valtin, the job-matching assessments and internal evaluations provide vital information about potential and current employees to human resource professionals, executive coaches, management consultants and CPAs. Specifically, the Recru-Tec™ pre-hire assessment can detect bully personalities. Based on the evaluation of over 25,000 applicants, Patrick Valtin has come to the conclusion that no matter the talent, competencies or experience, the odds of a successful hire are very, very low if willingness AND ability to contribute to one’s team success and happiness as selection criteria are missing. For more information on HireBox and its successful tools for recruitment, assessment, hiring, onboarding and retention, visit www.hirebox.com.

About Patrick Valtin

Patrick Valtin is the president and CEO of New Era Management and HireBox, as well as an international speaker and author. Considered an industry leader in recruiting, pre-employment assessment, personnel performance evaluation and human resources development, he has trained more than 125,000 people in more than 35 countries over the last 29 years. Patrick Valtin was an international business consultant for the Belgian government between 1986 and 1988, later starting his Belgian company, U-MAN, in 1988. The company remains today the largest training company in the country for small businesses. Valtin received an MBA in International Business Studies from the Moore Business School at the University of South Carolina in 1982; his clients over the past 22 years have included Ford Motor Co., BMW, Mercedes, Motorola, IBM and Century 21. His book, No-Fail Hiring 2.0, is a bestseller on Amazon.


  1. “Employment Situation Summary.” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
  2. “Civilian Labor Force Participation Rate: Men.” FRED, 2 Feb. 2018 LNS11300001.
  3. “Civilian Labor Force Participation Rate: Women.” FRED, 2 Feb. 2018 LNS11300002-.
  4. “Why the Portion of Americans with Jobs Keeps Shrinking.” Dallas News, 11 July 2017.

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