The labor market is still incredibly tight: According to the most recent Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, there were 11.2 million job openings in July, which is twice as many as the number of persons looking for employment.
The number of job opportunities increased in July after declining in June, which economists at the time speculated would point to a slowdown in the hiring market.
“I was a little surprised to see [openings] rose — I was expecting it to continue its slow tick downward,” according to Indeed Hiring Lab’s senior economist AnnElizabeth Konkel.
Some people’s faith in the employment market has been rattled by news of recent layoffs at businesses like Apple and Walmart, but by all accounts, those incidents aren’t changing the overall statistics. In July, the layoff rate was less than 1% of the workforce, or 1.4 million individuals, which was near historic lows. According to Konkel, layoffs in the information industry, which houses IT jobs, stayed consistent.
In the meantime, 4.2 million individuals departed their employment and 6.4 million were hired for new positions.
“By historical standard, job openings remain much higher than they were pre-pandemic, so it goes to show employers are looking for workers,” Konkel says.
Employees expect more pay and better work
In the competitive employment market, people are not only looking for new positions but also raising their compensation expectations.
According to Indeed’s labor market update for August, the percentage of persons looking for employment paying $20 an hour has increased 35.5% year over year, outpacing search demand for positions paying $15 an hour.
According to Konkel, a push and a pull force are probably at work: Job searchers are altering their salary expectations in accordance with their understanding that they are in a position to leverage employers boosting wages in the current competitive labor market. According to Pew Research Center, the typical job hopper received a 10% wage raise after shifting employment within the previous year.
On the other hand, with record inflation in effect, people might also be looking for higher-paying employment in order to make ends meet.
“It’s possible one person could experience both of those things of thinking: ‘Maybe I can get this higher pay’ and also, ‘I’m looking at my current paycheck, and it’s not going as far as it used to,’” Konkel says.
Those who still have many options are rediscovering security as a top priority.
A ZipRecruiter confidence index of employed job seekers, which reached a record low in August, found that one in four of them feel less confident about their present position than they did six months earlier.
Furthermore, while during the pandemic job seekers have typically prioritized higher compensation, less stress, and more flexibility, need for job security increased to become their second-biggest priority in August.
Despite worries, there are 60% more job openings and companies are hiring 6% more new employees each month than they were before the Covid pandemic. This has resulted in “vastly expanded opportunities for job seekers, and far greater job security than before the pandemic,” says Julia Pollak, chief economist at ZipRecruiter.
Compared to pre-pandemic, the job market is better for workers today.
The job market “continues to be better than it was before the pandemic for workers,” according to Konkel. The National Bureau of Economic Research defines a recession as “a significant decline in economic activity that is spread across the economy and lasts more than a few months,” which is what she claims it also proves.
“Where we sit right now, the labor market remains strong,” Konkel says. “We’re not seeing substantial slowdown in the labor market from any data I’ve seen.”
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