Counting Our Many Blessings in the US Labor Market


Now is the time of year in which we as Americans stop to reflect on all the abundance and good fortune we enjoy. While fortunes may grow and recede over time, regardless of where one rests on that continuum, there is always something to be grateful for. This year, there are more things to be thankful for than in ordinary years. The labor force (and by extension, the workforce management industry) is enjoying some pretty favorable conditions which should make this season of thanksgiving all the more special. Here are some of the reasons for a jovial season.

Labor Market Strength
The US labor market is experiencing strength better than at any time since the Great Recession of 2007. According to the American Institute for Economic Research,

“The Conference Board Employment Trends Index surged to a record 135.6 in October, a gain of 2.0 percent for the month and 5.4 percent from a year ago. The ETI tends to lead private payroll employment by about five months, suggesting further gains in payrolls in coming months (see chart).”

Employment Trends Index.jpg

Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reporting confirms the labor market continues to be robust with total 6.09 million job openings, falling just below the record high of 6.14 million openings back in July. Those employers and employees in professional and business services and health care have the most to be thankful for with the highest rate of job availability. However, even the fields with the lowest openings rates—education and construction—enjoyed growth of 2.6 percent and 2.8 percent respectively.

The AEIR also reported good news on the rate of layoffs,

“Further signs of labor-market strength may be seen in the layoffs rate, which held at 1.3 percent for private employers, well below the 2.2 percent peak rate in 2009, and the quits rate, which remained at 2.4 percent in September, well above the 1.4 percent rate in 2009.”

Payrolls are rising, layoffs are low and job mobility is increasing (quits on the rise). All this leads to the next piece of good news.

Wages Rising

The Federal Reserve of Economic Data (FRED), the economic research arm of the Federal Reserve reported that “real wages seemed to be on the rise.” The blue line on the chart below “shows the annual change in wages and salaries for all civilian workers, using the ECI, while the redline shows the PCE measure of inflation. The gap between the two is the real gain in wages, which you can see started to emerge in 2015.”

FRED.jpgReal wage growth is a Thanksgiving gift that the American worker can feel.

The positive labor market is a boon for workforce management solution providers too, as we are afforded greater opportunity to help our customers grow their operations by delivering talent, talent delivery and workforce management systems.

So, it is in this atmosphere and spirit of abundance and gratitude that everyone here at nextSource wishes a truly happy Thanksgiving holiday to all our associates, suppliers and strategic partners. Working together, we all contribute to the bounty which we’ll celebrate on November 23. We’re thankful for each and every one of you!

More Articles