2018’s Job Market Statistics

by Marcianne Kuethen
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After the crash of 2008, the idea of an expanding economy seemed preposterous. Yet the mounting evidence for a growing job market can be found in recent reports gathering job market statistics on employment, job ads, and private sector pay:

More Jobs

Private sector employment increased by 234,000 jobs from December to January, according to Automatic Data Processing. 2018 is on track to be the eighth consecutive year in which the economy creates over two million jobs, reports the chief economist of Moody’s Analytics. If it doesn’t live up to its hype, employers, the fault will likely be the difficulty of finding workers to fill all your open job positions.

More Job Ads

According to The Conference Board Help Wanted OnLine® (HWOL) Data Series, there has been an increase in online job ads.  As of December, the number of unemployed was approximately 6.6 million, With 1.7 million more unemployed workers than the 4,903,300 online job ads, you might imagine that filling open jobs would be a snap. But what that actually meant for December was that for every job ad run, there were 1.34 unemployed people available for each advertised job opening. (That’s not even saying they’re qualified for your position!)

With this many job ads flooding the job boards, it’s even more imperative that you write a great job posting. Keep in mind that candidates are asking themselves, “What’s in it for me?” To attract the right job seekers, be sure to highlight both the challenges and attractions of the position to paint a full picture of the opportunity.

Higher Compensation

Another sign of an expanding economy is that private sector pay has picked up, according to our nation’s Department of Labor. In the fourth quarter of 2017, total employee remuneration climbed and matched the largest 12-month increase since 2008. Private-sector wages and salaries rose 2.8% from a year ago, with some industries seeing an even greater increase. “While wage growth has gradually improved, a sustained acceleration is yet to occur in the current economic expansion,” says Bloomberg.com.  But the latest year-to-year growth in remuneration acts as a barometer for a tightening labor market. Clearly, companies are offering more generous compensation packages in order to compete for the same candidates.

Not everything has skyrocketed, by the way. Bloomberg reports that health benefit costs to employers rose a mere 1.1 percent from a year ago. But wages and salaries of civilian worker cost employers 2.5 percent more than last year, and benefit costs in private industry were 2.3 percent higher than a year ago.

These job market statistics reinforce the fact that the candidate’s market is still in full swing, employers. If you’re interviewing candidates for an open position, remember that the people you’re vetting are probably entertaining multiple offers simultaneously. Be sure to offer a fair market wage, communicate regularly throughout your hiring process, and be ready to negotiate with a better offer if you really want to land your favorite candidate.

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