The Truth About the Job Market
Unemployment rates are at historically low levels. The labor force – a measure of those working or looking for work -- is above pre-pandemic levels. The latest monthly reports continue to show very strong gains in the job market.
So why do some polls show that many feel the opposite is true?
For one thing, labor shortages mean service is suffering in some industries such as restaurants, hotels and retail stores. There aren’t enough school bus drivers, workers to build products and truck drivers to deliver those products.
Inflation is at a 40-year high, housing and energy costs are soaring, and who knows what impact the conflict in Ukraine will have in the months ahead.
But two underlying truths about the job market paint a brighter long-term picture.
Workers’ increasing influence. More than 3 million workers in the U.S. quit monthly, many to go to higher-paying jobs, better benefits, more meaningful work and/or more flexible work arrangements. The risk of layoffs is lower with the likelihood of workers switching to better jobs.
Tight labor market drives wage increases. U.S. businesses posted a near-record level of open jobs at the beginning of 2022. The nation is still missing almost 4 million workers as employers struggle to fill about 10 million job openings. With 75 million baby boomers retiring by 2030, their accelerated departure from the labor force with decades of experience will be hard to replace. Employers competing to fill jobs from a decreasing pool of applicants continue to drive wage growth to attract talent.
Bottom line – the marketplace is expected to be better for job seekers in this decade compared to the last decade, perhaps similar to the 2019 job market.
There’s good news for area employers, too. CareerSource provides services to help rebuild and sustain businesses in today’s challenging marketplace. We expanded the local jobs pipeline by hosting/participating in 168 in-person and virtual hiring events that attracted 66 local employers and over 2,000 job candidates.
We also absorb the cost of most of our services for employers including recruitment, assessments and referrals of qualified job candidates; space and staff assistance for screening/interviewing candidates; and grants for training employees. During the past five program years, CareerSource Palm Beach County awarded more than $10 million in grants to area businesses and employees for job training and educational assistance.
We appreciate the opportunity to serve you with your hiring needs. From our homepage at www.careersourcepbc.com go to “For Employers” for more information.
The March unemployment rate for Palm Beach County is now a record low 2.6 percent, which was below state rate at 2.7 percent and lower than the nation at 3.8 percent (all numbers not seasonally adjusted). This is a positive local job recovery with 40,134 open jobs, compared to 19,235 unemployed residents.
With local job openings reaching a high in March at over 40K, and not enough job seekers to fill them (reported at under 20K in March), economists say that even more money and flexibility will not stop record turnover of the currently employed for better opportunities.
The local labor force was over 751K in March, total nonagricultural employment in the county is 659,700 adding 32,700 jobs over the year – a 5.2 percent gain. The biggest March local employment increases were in the Leisure/hospitality sector and Trade/transportation/utilities. In March there were only 47 unemployed workers in Palm Beach County for every 100 local advertised job openings.
The Great Resignation – What is happening locally is reflected nationally. Millions of Americans are quitting and starting new jobs at record pace while openings remain at an all-time high, and employers are at a loss over how to solve the talent crisis.
Though the local unemployment rate is ticking down, the number of people not actively looking for work nationally remains high — nearly 99 million people according to the Census Household Pulse Survey from March 2nd to 14th. Of that share, half, or 42.4 million, retired. For comparison, in the survey’s first week from April 23 to May 5, 2020, the Census Bureau reports 117.8 million Americans were not working, and one-third, or 37 million, were now retired.
After retirees, the next-largest group of people not actively looking for work in March 2022 included 18.8 million nationally who gave “other” as their reason, and another 7 million did not report a reason at all. Elsewhere, people reported they were unable to work because they were sick or disabled not related to Covid; responsible for caregiving; sick with Covid or caring for someone else who was; or concerned about Covid risks.
Employers are scrambling for a solution to reach these tens of millions of Americans, but how do you advertise that you’re willing to be flexible in a job to someone who’s not actively looking for one?
With companies raising wages and offering flexible benefits, perhaps money isn’t the main issue keeping people out of the workforce. Survey respondents are asking, “is this job going to fit neatly into the circumstances of my current life?”
For example, workers with caregiving responsibilities might not think an employer will be accommodating their schedule, they don’t see how work can fit into what’s going on in their life right now, and if employers are willing to work with them to make it fit — that’s the disconnect we must help employers recognize and fix. Employers today must make an earnest, intentional discovery to figure out how to make jobs more accommodating to people not in the workforce.
More people could come back to the labor force out of financial necessity, too. According to the Census Household Pulse Survey, many people not actively looking for work are paying their bills by relying on credit cards or their savings accounts. Rising inflation could draw down those resources faster than expected and require people to take new jobs.
The level of churn during the ongoing Great Resignation could lead to burnout among the people who stay put in their job. If you are an employer asking workers, ‘Hey, I just need you to give us a little time more until we staff up again,’ now you are five to six months into doing that and this may become a problem for the remaining staff.
Productivity has remained high even in industries facing supply chain issues and labor shortages like manufacturing. Leaders in those sectors should be concerned for the resilience of their strained workforces, “Can we continue these business gains, or do we risk burning people out?”
In closing, we at CareerSource Palm Beach County continue to assist employers in this rapidly changing work environment. We offer a wide range of services to connect business with talent, most at no cost. Contact our Business Services department today!
We offer the following at no cost to employers:
Job Posting & Recruiting Post open positions on our statewide jobs database, Employ Florida, where people apply to your open positions in whichever means suits your company best. Work with one of our professional recruiters who will actively seek out qualified candidates for your open positions.
Virtual Job Fairs Employers may post one or more open positions in a virtual job fair. Candidates can access your virtual booth where you can screen the candidates and, if interested, go to a one-on-one video interview.
On-the-Job Training Grants OJT's are used to assist the employer in finding and securing employees that may not have all the technical skills required for the position. Employers are reimbursed at least 50% of the wage rate of an OJT participant for the costs of providing the training and additional supervision related to the OJT.
Customized Training For training future employees or recent hires who meet eligibility requirements. CSPBC reimburses the employer 50% of the cost of training for each individual that completes the training and is employed/retained by the employer after the training.
Labor Market Information Data about labor supply and demand, earnings, employment and unemployment statistics, job outlook, and demographics of the labor force.
Incumbent Worker Training Grants Provides grants for continuing education and training of current full-time employees. This program can be helpful when planning a large business expansion or training staff on new technologies to avert downsizing. The program will provide reimbursement grants to businesses that pay for preapproved, direct, training-related costs.
In-person Hiring Events CareerSource works with employers on mass hiring events. This no-cost recruiting service allows employers to interview a large number of qualified candidates in one convenient location and time.
Apprenticeships Formal technical instruction combined with paid on-the-job learning. Workers learn practical skills associated with a particular industry and/or employer using a structured program of "Learn While You Earn". Business gains the trained talent they need and the employees earn nationally recognized credentials that attest to the skills they have gained.
The Business Development Board's Palm Beach County Business magazine is recognized as the quarterly business portrait showcasing local influencers and news in the county. Each quarter CareerSource Palm Beach County participates and this feature focuses on our On-The-Job Training program and how CareerSource Palm Beach County helped military veteran, Max R. Jacques successfully land his dream job. View the digital version by following the link.