As a veteran recruitment partner to organizations across a multitude of industries, including real estate, financial services, and professional services, 20/20 Foresight Executive Search closely watches the jobs reports compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics each month. Analyzing these economic and employment trends empowers our team to provide the best counsel possible to our clients to help with their hiring decisions and goals based on the of-the-moment data.
Lately, it’s no news that those numbers have been harder to decipher. Many analysts call our current conditions a “tale of two jobs markets,” observing that seemingly divergent stats — a strong showing for job creation paired with historically low unemployment rates vs. doom-and-gloom headlines reporting hiring freezes and layoffs — paint a murky picture for understanding what’s really going on in boardrooms across the country.
In an effort to make some sense of the stats and what they mean specifically for you and your organization, we offer some of our key takeaways from the Q3 jobs reports.
The Top Takeaway: An Ongoing Post-Pandemic Recovery
If there is one constant throughline in the July, August, and September 2022 U.S. jobs reports, it is that the labor market has remained surprisingly steadfast.
The 22 million jobs lost during the pandemic have all been gained back, plus half a million more. Coupled with a low unemployment rate (3.5% as of September — the lowest level in more than 50 years), energetic corporate hiring, and robust consumer spending patterns that have stayed solid post-pandemic as well as in today’s volatile economic climate, this is the good news for an economy that desperately required a restart after 2+ years of upheaval.
The largest employment gains overall have been in industries that 20/20 Foresight serves, such as professional and business services, financial services, construction, and manufacturing as demand for services and goods skyrocket. These sectors continue to progress as businesses across the country reopen and children return to school, thus giving the economy the shot in the arm it needed.
Navigating the Economic Tides
However, this race to return to “normal” (albeit a “new normal”) meant that the economy grew by leaps and bounds to help make up for what was lost. As we reorient ourselves to what all of this explosive growth has meant for our economy, many employers may be considering their hiring objectives for the remainder of 2022 and into 2023.
Two under-the-radar jobs market data points to pay attention to are the labor participation rate — Americans who are working or actively looking for work — and the number of open jobs (1.7) for every available worker. The participation rate has changed little since the start of the pandemic, suggesting that some individuals may be having a hard time returning to work due to factors such as a lack of childcare or caring for an elderly relative, an aspect that has disproportionately impacted women in the workforce. These stats combined imply that many job seekers are still sitting on the sidelines.
How can employers attract these eligible workers? As we’ve reported this year, the most impactful way to attract and retain employees in today’s new world of work is to listen to their demands and create a company culture that reflects your commitment to their engagement, satisfaction, and growth. These efforts will be individual to each organization and require an empathetic approach to human capital and authentically enhancing the employee experience.
A Look Ahead to Q4 and Beyond
Despite recent news of high-profile corporate layoffs, experts expect hiring growth to continue across all major industries in Q4 of 2022.
A bigger question for employers and employees alike to truly understand the larger picture may be: Why do new jobs continue to be created in today’s uncertain economy?
The answer is: New roles and ways of working will continue to emerge because the world has transformed since 2019.
The dynamic economic and employment direction will continue to undergo this unprecedented transformation. Today, people can work with job finding experts to apply for desirable jobs not only in another city, but another country. They can upskill and/or reskill to further their personal and professional advancement and even and allow them to change careers midstream. In today’s new economic and employment landscape, how, when, and where we work is all up for debate, and the savviest and most successful organizations will have those vital conversations to be at the forefront.
Recruitment Expertise Meets Industry Experience
It’s not enough to only track trends in your own industry. To stay relevant and competitive in today’s interconnected marketplace, leaders must define and deliver upon their organization’s place in the new world of work.
Times like these call for an executive search partner who is fluent in your industry’s trends, as well as in the larger economic and employment outlook. The 20/20 Foresight Executive Search team has been guiding organizations for almost 30 years on making the right hiring decisions at the right time.