The Big Picture
The U.S. added 263,000 jobs in September, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics — highlighting notable gains in professional and business services, as well as leisure and hospitality and health care sectors. The national unemployment rate also dipped slightly from August’s 3.6% to 3.5%.
In the past 12 months, hourly wages have increased by 5%. This trend is in line with employers using competitive pay as a tactic to win over skilled talent, especially as high interest rates and inflation continue to impact the everyday consumer. Coupled with the tight labor market and unclear forecasts of a looming a recession, companies are still trying to grow their teams while keeping their budgets in mind.
But as LinkedIn notes, wage growth has begun to slow in the last two months — which may hint toward a brighter outlook for the economy in Q4 and 2023. We share what this means for employers and job seekers in the coming months.
LinkedIn sees the recent data as a possible glimmer in the cloudy expectations of what’s to come, specifically the moderate salary growth and plummeting job openings. Down from two openings for every worker, that number has slid to 1.7.
“This is consistent with indicators like hires, quits, and job openings coming down — i.e., the labor market cooling from ‘extremely hot’ to just ‘very hot,'” the popular platform explains. The key takeaway: “The Federal Reserve might succeed in bringing U.S. inflation down without causing major damage to the U.S. labor market.” The economy could scrape by with a “soft landing” instead of a full blown recession.
For hiring managers, this “very hot” market still has skilled candidates driving the hiring landscape. In fact, the unemployment rate for degreed professionals is down to a low 1.8% — leaving experienced accounting and finance professionals in incredibly high demand. Offering candidates compensation at market rate is critical, as well as a flexible work arrangement. What was once not-so-important on the wish list for job seekers in 2020, is now within the top three most significant factors when evaluating a new career opportunity, according to a new Qualtrics report.
To learn more about candidate insights and what matters most to current professionals, check out our blog.
For Job Seekers
Hiring freezes and layoffs are at the forefront of recent news headlines as companies try to grapple with the economic uncertainty of 2023. But even as some business are making cuts, others are making plans to grow their teams. In a PwC survey of 700-plus executives, 83% said they are focusing their business strategy on growth — with only 30% viewing the possibility of a recession as a serious risk.
One indicator that points to a strong labor market: the staffing penetration rate. Employment in this area continued its upward trend in September with 27,000 staffing jobs added. And this need is only expected to increase in Q4.
So what does this mean for skilled accounting professionals and job seekers? Well, the market is yours — at least for now. Use this to your advantage. Identify opportunities that align with your most important criteria, including pay, work schedule, growth opportunity and more. Step into consultant roles to stretch your skill set or learn more about a company you’re interested in working for.
Partnering with staffing and recruiting firms can aid in this process, helping to connect professionals with top direct hire or temporary opportunities that would best meet their needs.