Q3 Accounting & Finance Employment Report

May 3, 2018

By Ron Blair, COO & Managing Director 

The overall pace of job growth continued with a slight hiccup in September as employers appeared to shed 33,000 jobs. We say “appeared” because expectations are that these job losses will be short lived and are likely the result of hurricane related issues and not a change in the underlying labor-market. In fact, nearly 1.5 million people reported in September that they had a job, but were not at work due to “bad weather”. This was the highest number seen since 1996 when powerful blizzards hit the East Coast. Most of these appear to come from the Leisure and Hospitality sector in the affected regions.


The fact remains that in 2017 employers have added an average of 148,000 jobs per month, while this is down from a monthly average of 187,000 in 2016 — job gains remain steady.

More importantly for Accounting and Finance professionals are the job gains numbers for Professional & Business Services and Financial Activities. These sectors combined added 23,000 jobs from the previous month – the largest area of growth and ahead of Healthcare. Additionally, there has not been a negative change month-to-month for employment in Professional and Business Services since January 2016.


U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics Unemployment Rate Chart

The unemployment rate declined 0.2% in September to reach 4.2% – the lowest unemployment rate seen since early 2001. The unemployment rate has remained below 4.5% for the past six months and remains below the level that the Federal Reserve considers “normal” and below the rate that many economists consider “full-employment”.


U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics Unemployment Rate Chart

The story gets better for college graduates. As the chart above shows – unemployment for candidates with a bachelor’s degree or higher is even lower than the 4.2% rate for all workers, hovering at 2.3%-2.4% over the last five months.


The high demand for and limited supply of Accounting and Finance professionals with a combination of specialized knowledge, training and experience has driven the unemployment rate for these candidates even lower – and demonstrates how challenging the market is for those looking to hire and how strong the market is for candidates in today’s accounting and finance job market. Current unemployment rates for selected categories are listed below:

  • Financial managers: 1.8%
  • Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks: 2.0%
  • Accountants and auditors: 2.2%
  • Financial analysts: 2.5%

The bottom line, finding candidates has never been more challenging. This is great news for Accounting and Finance Professionals and provides a partial answer to Hiring Manager’s question “Where are all of my candidates?” They’re working.

Contact us today to help with your recruiting needs or search for a new job.


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