Q4 comes on the heels of record unemployment for September: 3.5% — the lowest it’s been since December 1969.
Job growth continued to trend downwards, however, with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reporting that employers added 136,000 jobs last month. This remains in-line with 2019’s average pick-up of 160,000 jobs for the first nine months of the year.
Compared to 2018’s monthly average of 223,000 jobs, the story is clear — the economy may still be expanding, but at a slower rate. Both the manufacturing and retail sectors continued to shed jobs for a second consecutive month, while economists fear the trade war with China is causing wage growth to stall.
Still the outlook for accounting and finance professionals remains distinctly positive. Education and health services and professional and business services led the way in job creation — together adding a combined 73,000 jobs in September. The unemployment rate among college graduates also fell to 2%, illustrating the strong demand for skilled professionals in a tight labor market. For accounting and finance professionals, it remains well below this rate.
We saw wage growth tumble from 3.2 percent to 2.9 percent last month, even as the national unemployment rate dropped. Some economists attribute this to businesses playing it safe in response to the cooling market. But employers must remain competitive when it comes to offering top candidates great pay, benefits and career development opportunities. This is especially true in high-demand professions, including accounting & finance, healthcare, science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
In fact, The Science of Care’s recent study reported “60% of workers who said they felt cared for plan to stay with their companies for three or more years.” This can encompass everything from a strong benefits package to providing training and an inclusive company culture. Ninety percent of participants who feel cared for are also more likely to recommend the company to others, and can function as a strong recruitment strategy.
In today’s strong labor market, accounting and finance professionals with MBAs, CPAs and specialized skill sets are increasingly valuable — especially with more open roles than job seekers. Many employers cite lack of available skilled employees as their No.1 concern, and are turning to temporary professionals to complete key projects and fill roles on an interim-basis rather than investing in a permanent hire. BLS reported temporary employment edged up 0.3% in September from the previous month.
Use this trend to your advantage.
Exploring temporary employment opportunities is a lucrative route to explore different roles and find the best fit for you. If you’re looking for something specific, partnering with specialized staffing finance firms can help expedite your search by connecting you with positions that best meet your criteria.