Welcome to 2023! The labor market is still strong according to the December Jobs Report.
The economy added 223,000 jobs in December, higher than the forecast of 200,000.
Unemployment fell to 3.5%, which is a 50-year low. The labor force participation rate, which is the percentage of people employed or searching for employment was up slightly to 62.3%. This number is about a percentage point lower than pre-pandemic, due to COVID deaths and a larger number of people that opted to retire.
There is still a gap between the pool of available workers and listed jobs, and the gap is larger than the historical average.
Not all the news is great.
Tech firms are experiencing fallout from their aggressive hiring during the pandemic when tech services were suddenly in high demand. Once pandemic restrictions started easing and people resumed their offline activities, the demand for tech services cooled. In addition, rising interest rates make borrowing more costly, so companies are finding that it is more expensive to bet on future innovations.
Even though 2022 was marked by extraordinary job growth, a report from outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas found tech layoffs were up 649% in 2022 from 2021. The overall economy saw a 13% rise in job cuts. Amazon, Salesforce, Stitch Fix. Twitter and others have announced sweeping layoffs.
Confidence in hiring and finding jobs is still high.
According to a survey by Monster, 92% of the employers who responded to the survey are planning to hire in 2023. Some are filling open positions and some are expanding. There are still companies struggling to find the talent they need, and layoffs by the larger companies could help them fill open positions. Employees who responded are confident that they will find work, although slightly less confident than last year.
Recruiters may want to tweak their strategy
Recently laid-off candidates are looking for something different from their next employer. Tech candidates expect a competitive salary and that alone won’t make your open position stand out. Stability and long-term growth options are becoming more important, along with competitive compensation and flexibility.
Keep in mind that recently laid-off employees are probably dealing with some intense emotions, so be sensitive when you reach out. You do want to support them with a new position, but you don’t want to come across as benefitting from their pain.
Social media is a good way to reach candidates who have recently been laid off. It’s much easier to target them on social media than on job boards.
This is also a good time to showcase your brand. Candidates who have recently been let go will be especially sensitive to how your company treats its employees. Your diversity and inclusion initiatives and your ability to provide growth and stability will be scrutinized more carefully now.
Employers are hiring more carefully, but they are still hiring. Candidates continue to look for remote work, flexibility, and commitment to DEI. 2023 promises to be an exciting year.