February 2023 Career News

Career News got a facelift!

Welcome to the Career Economy Newsletter! 

→ Don’t worry; this is the same fresh perspective, data-backed facts, and observations you’ve enjoyed for the past five years. It just got a new name 🙂

After a recent podcast appearance with my good friend Orlando Haynes, who titled the episode “Career Economy with Angie Callen,” I decided to run with the concept and retitle what you’ve known for years as Career News to The Career Economy Newsletter. 

I love talking about the numbers and statistics that tell us what’s happening in the labor market, so it seems fitting to give my monthly meanderings a fresh new title, especially on the heels of celebrating five years in business!

And now your market report. 

If you’ve felt like you’re on a roller coaster for the last four weeks, you’d be right.

“Amazon lays off 18,000”

“Microsoft reduces 5% of its workforce”

The labor market created 500k+ jobs in January, doubled projections, and now we’re at an unemployment of 3.4%, which is a low we haven’t seen since 1969!

I hope you didn’t have french fries with cheese sauce before entering this ride at the theme park because this activity will make you hurl if you let it. 

WHEW! Even my head is spinning with the ups and downs! 

→ What is going on out there, Angie!?

The OpEd you’re about to read is yet another rendition of the broken record I’ve been in since January 9th, the week I predicted hiring would pick up and precisely when the January job cuts commenced. 

What timing!

It’s really easy to get sucked into the negative, fear-inducing reality of layoffs, especially if you’ve been directly impacted by it. Luckily, a lot of positive activity is happening to counterbalance these headline-worthy cuts. 

Yes, there have been [large] layoffs, and it can feel shocking because we haven’t seen a shake-up like this in tech since the wake of the 2008 Great Recession. Ten+ years of a hiring tear is bound to break at some point, and that’s precisely what is happening in big tech right now.  

A perfect storm. 

Long-term, rapid growth + a pandemic that sparks innovation + overhiring = adjustments. 

And that’s exactly what these companies are doing – rightsizing after gaining a few pounds over the past few years because no one realized eating 2 extra cookies a day eventually adds up to a lot of extra inches around that waist! 

Should we just say that big tech went on a diet? I like that analogy because it means they’re trying to fix a little problem they created themselves, and, just like a diet (should be), it’s temporary. 

Let’s take a step back from that meager portion of dry, low-fat chicken breast on your plate (ok, I’ll stop with the diet metaphors) and look at the big picture. 

Big tech is trimming the fat, but the mid-tier and smaller tech companies are, luckily, not following suit. When big brother does something, little siblings are apt to follow, and we’ve seen that happen in the past, where activity at a large scale trickles down to the smaller sectors of the same market. 

Generally speaking, this layoff activity has still been pretty isolated; fortunately, mid-tier and smaller tech companies have remained steady. There is a flip side, though: they also haven’t been making big hires like we expect this time of year. 

Everything in the tech industry kind of went on pause while these smaller companies waited out the storm to see what happened in the larger January landscape. 

Guess what happened…

Do I dare call it – stellar?

The labor market added 517,000 jobs in January, with “widespread job growth” in leisure and hospitality, professional and business services, and health care. 

What’s of interest to me here is: 

  • Over half a million netjobs were created when there were almost 100,000 layoffs in the tech sector alone. Do that math, and wow!
  • Considering January 22, new jobs totaled 467k, which is kind of right where we should be.
  • Unemployment also fell slightly to reach a more than 50-year historic low, despite larger than usual layoffs (note: statistically, January typically sees the most layoffs all year).
  • Technical services reported 40k new jobs, so there was still hiring happening in tech and tech-adjacent companies to compensate for the layoffs.

So, now what? 

I believe the strength of the larger market, along with some time to let the dust settle on the layoff, will create more activity in the tech sector. Over the next two-four weeks, look for more opportunities to come online across the board, particularly in tech, where I predict companies will have the confidence to begin re-hiring, growing teams, and scooping up some of the high-quality candidates displaced by the unfortunate decisions of business giants. 

I also anticipate hiring across the board (all industries) to speed up a little, so February might be the firestorm we want it to be. For comparison, February 2022 was a pretty incredible month with 678k new jobs, so here’s your baseline from now until the next TCEN (The Career Economics Newsletter) report. 

What does this mean if I’m actively searching? 

First, if you’ve been laid off, take a step back, breathe, and then go read this article. 

Whether you’re active or not, be sure your materials are current and in tip-top shape. 

If you are actively searching for any reason, keep at it, and be patient. We’re no longer in the wildfire hiring landscape we saw from mid-2021 until this past fall, so things will not be as fast and furious, but they will still be moving.

Create a process, methodically attack it, and trust your strategies and the qualifications you have to offer. The next great role will appear. 

In closing, here’s a tip for any and all: networking remains an amazing way to create activity for yourself, build resources that will last a career lifetime, and get in front of great opportunities at trusted companies where you feel stable and safe. 

If there’s one productive thing you can do to advance your career today, it is network

Your Friend and Coach,
Angie

 

Angie Callen, Founder

I created Career Benders to inspire confident professionals. In just three years, we have helped nearly 500 professionals navigate job searches, nail interviews, and find satisfaction in their careers. We’re here for you!

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