Employers added an average of 345,000 jobs a month for the first quarter 2023. Today’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) April jobs report points to a gradual slowing demand. Total non-farm payroll increased by 253,000 in April in a macro environment characterized by slowing U.S. economic growth, a weaker housing market and a pull back in some business investment. Unemployment was little changed at 3.4 percent.
In spite of signs of a cooling job market, total job openings remain historically high with almost 1.6 open jobs per unemployed American. Within the college-educated workforce unemployment remains at or near full-employment levels at 1.9 percent.
“While the April BLS report indicates a moderating rate of job growth, our global Network of over 200 executive recruitment offices continue to see strong demand for top executive, professional, technical and managerial talent. In fact, the college-educated U.S. civilian workforce of over 63 million people is operating at what is essentially full-employment,” noted Nancy Halverson senior vice president, global operations, MRINetwork. “Over the past few months, my Employment Situation Report comments have focused on emerging client and candidate workplace dynamics. Today I’d like to deliver a brief commercial for my Network and our industry. For over 30 years I’ve been immersed in the talent world, from developing recruitment professionals to helping staffing firms to grow and thrive. In this high demand marketplace, our best clients work with us not just to connect to top performers, but to develop enduring talent strategies as they build and effectively communicate their hiring brand, culture and core values. Today’s business world provides a unique opportunity to consider a talent advisory career. Our Network can provide a gateway to a dynamic new career path.”
Lydia Boussour, senior economist at EY provided a concise topline summary on today’s BLS report, “The April jobs report confirms that the labor market slowdown is well underway and that the economy is cooling.”
Adding background to today’s BLS data, Wall Street Journal reporter Sarah Chaney Cambon noted, “The share of Americans in their prime working years, ages 25 to 54, who are employed or seeking jobs has climbed over the past year. The influx of job seekers is helping restaurants, bars and hotels snap up workers, after they struggled with acute labor shortages for much of the pandemic. Healthcare providers are also staffing up, replacing workers who quit or retired early. Wage growth is still running above prepandemic levels but is cooling as more Americans seek work. Slowing wage growth could comfort Federal Reserve officials who have worried that strong earnings gains would fuel continued inflation above the central bank’s 2% target.”
In April, employment continued to trend up in professional and business services (+43,000). Over the prior 6 months, the average monthly gain in the industry was 25,000.
Employment in healthcare increased by 40,000 in April, compared with the average monthly gain of 47,000 over the prior 6 months. Over the month, employment continued to trend up in ambulatory healthcare services (+24,000), nursing and residential care facilities (+9,000), and hospitals (+7,000).
Leisure and hospitality continued to trend up in April (+31,000), largely in food services and drinking places (+25,000). This segment has added an average of 73,000 jobs per month over the prior 6 months.
Employment in financial activities increased by 23,000 in April, primarily driven by gains in insurance carriers and related activities (+15,000). Employment in financial activities changed little in the first 3 months of this year.
Employment in mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction rose by 6,000 in April and has risen by 102,000 since a recent low in February 2021.
Employment was little changed over the month in other major industries, including construction, manufacturing, wholesale trade, retail trade, transportation and warehousing, information, and other services.
Overall, April’s job gains were somewhat offset by sharp downward revisions in previous months. March’s count was reduced to 165,000, down 71,000 from the initial estimate, while February fell to 248,000, a reduction of 78,000.
“From remote working, to new connectivity technologies, to new applications of interim hiring there is no one future of work. No single solution will fit every organization. That’s why our Network offers clear path to career fulfillment. We not only guide organizations throughout the world in finding top talent to fuel their growth, we practice what we preach as we help grow careers in talent advisory services,” noted Halverson.