Meeting analysts’ expectations, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported the economy added 431,000 jobs in March. Unemployment continued to decline, now reported at 3.6 percent. Among the college-educated civilian workforce the unemployment rate was 2.0 percent indicating a continued tight labor market. The labor-force participation rate among the college-educated cohort rose to 72.8 percent. Today’s Wall Street Journal noted that household savings are declining, which is likely pressuring some individuals to rejoin the labor force to collect a paycheck, especially as prices rise briskly for gasoline, groceries and rent, perhaps adding to the full employment picture.
Teleworking declined again in March to 10.0 percent versus 13.0 percent in February as easing COVID-19 restrictions and changes in employer policies brought more people back to the workplace.
“The March BLS employment growth report comes as no surprise to our Network of over 1500 executive recruiters in offices throughout the U.S. Despite economic headwinds, the specter of growing inflation and geopolitical uncertainty we continue to see robust demand for talent in our clients’ organizations in every sector of the economy,” said Bert Miller, President, and CEO of MRI one of the world’s leading search and recruitment organizations.
“I have been immersed in the world of talent for 37 years; ten in corporate America and the last 27 in recruiting. Through recessions, periods of slow steady growth, and in rapid expansion cycles there has been one reoccurring challenge to talented performers in even top organizations. Individuals tend to get ‘comfortable’ — they stop intentional learning.
We coach talented executives, managers, professionals, and even technical-based workers to look past current economic conditions and to avoid complacency — to keep their eyes open to who they can become. Complacency in any position leads to mediocrity and mediocrity leads to missed business opportunities and to fewer career options.
Our advice is simple. Be intentional, disciplined and never lose that curiosity to learn. Find who you can be without limitations. Top talent, at any career level, knows they could get that promotion, work with a dream organization, or even run a company.”
“All the constraints on the labor supply that were prevailing in 2021 have really eased,” said Lydia Boussour, economist at Oxford Economics. That is “a really important factor in driving that next leg of the recovery and getting employment back to where it was before the pandemic.”
Commenting on the overall health of the employment market despite the headwinds, Jefferies Group analysts Aneta Markowska and Thomas Simons noted, “It’s premature to start the recession countdown. This does not look like a late-cycle economy … It’s a mid-cycle economy and the business cycle has room to run.”
Employment in leisure and hospitality continued to increase, with a gain of 112,000 in March. Job growth occurred in food services and drinking places (+61,000) and accommodation (+25,000). Employment in leisure and hospitality continues to recover from its steep decline and is now down by only 8.7 percent, since February 2020.
Job growth continued in professional and business services, which added 102,000 jobs in March. Employment in this sector is now 723,000 higher than in February 2020.
Employment in retail trade increased by 49,000 in March, with gains in general merchandise stores (+20,000) and food and beverage stores (+18,000).
Manufacturing added 38,000 jobs in March. Employment in durable goods industries rose by 22,000. Nondurable goods manufacturing added 16,000 jobs over the month, including a gain in chemicals (+7,000).
Employment in construction continued to trend up in March (+19,000). Also in March, employment in financial activities rose by 16,000, with gains in real estate and rental and leasing (+14,000). Employment in both of these industry segments is now at or above pre-pandemic levels.
Employment in healthcare and in transportation and warehousing was essentially unchanged in March following large gains in these sectors in the prior 2 months.
“Talented performers open their eyes wider than they thought possible — remove any blinders and seek a view that seems far away and yet, is within reach.
They are curious and intentional about learning and recognize where obtaining new skills and up-skilling will provide a clear career advantage.
None of us are what we can become. Eyes open and keep looking and working to see who you can become — you might just find yourself in place that you had never dreamed,” noted Miller.