Welcome to the Career Economy!
While I wrap my head around the fact that we’re nearly midway through the year, and it is light out when I go to bed, another month of job data became available.
In short: hiring booms, unemployment rises, and the Fed tries to keep it cool.
Yep, that’s pretty much it in a nutshell. If I wanted to make this the shortest edition of Career News ever, I could leave it at the summary, and you’d get the gist.
We also know I never answer any question in under one minute, so let’s get into the numbers!
Job gains significantly outperformed projections, with 339,000 new jobs.
We’re now at 14 straight months of positive job creation and the largest monthly increase since January. That’s big.
Additionally, March and April’s totals were adjusted (again) to include almost 100,000 more new jobs. Somehow, hiring continues to beat the odds and prove the enduring strength of the economy despite the Fed’s efforts to stave off inflation.
I’ll admit, these numbers surprised me.
I saw a surge of hiring at the very end of April into the first two weeks of May when several clients left the active roster and are happily settling into new roles (primarily in tech). But that activity fell off considerably around the middle of the month when I assume everyone started getting lost in the end-of-school and Memorial Day blurs AND holding our breath, waiting to see what happened with the debt ceiling debacle.
Now that’s behind us, I’m hoping these strong May numbers bolster even more confidence in hiring.
Some interesting tidbits in the numbers…
Construction, healthcare, and professional services all saw noteworthy increases. I found the jump in construction jobs (25,000) interesting, considering the negative impact of inflation on the real estate market.
Professional services had the largest increase at 64,000, which is a refreshing statistic for many of you reading this!
Hospitality also saw big gains, but I expect that sector to continue to play catch-up on hiring until it can find its way back to full staffing and stellar service (if you’ve dined out recently, you can hear the snark in that statement).
We also saw an uptick in job openings last month, which jumped about 3.5% in May to just over 10 million jobs. Whether all of those are legit, or ghosts, remains to be seen, but let’s hope the upward trend continues to alleviate the frustrations many job seekers are feeling right now.
Let’s hope for some good action between now and the Fourth of July, eh?
Recruiter friends of mine have been forecasting an above-average summer hiring season, and it’s possible we could see a reactionary surge considering the factors at play, including economists reducing the likelihood of a 2023 recession (depending on the source, I’ve seen predictions drop from about 58% to about 33%; however, some suggest we’re just buying time and pushing out the inevitable downturn into 2024…we’ll see what happens there).
Anyway, contradictorily, while hiring went up, so did unemployment (+0.3%).
This isn’t alarming but suggests the labor market may be cooling off even if new hire onboarding isn’t.
My “expert” opinion is that the increase in unemployment is a carryover from layoffs in big tech, banking, and media earlier in the year, where displaced workers were likely given large severances or delayed separations that caused a lag in applying for unemployment, so we’re just now seeing those numbers hit the UE database.
What does this mean for you?
I still stand by the recommendations I’ve been making for the past several months: approach job searching with tenacity, consistency, and patience.
A focused strategy and networking are more critical than they’ve ever been. This job market clearly has its quirks, as we see both positive movement and completely irritating challenges.
Competition is clearly present (duh, Angie), so stay proactive, focus on industries showing growth, and deploy your strategy methodically.
Most importantly, do not get discouraged.
Applying for jobs, getting ghosted, and going into a black hole can be demoralizing, and so can making it to the final round of an interview only to come up short.
Keep pushing, stay informed, and believe in your abilities and marketability.
That’s what I’m here for!
You got this!
Your Friend and Coach,