July 11, 2017 – Employers added 222,000 jobs last month as the U.S. unemployment rate rose slightly to 4.4 percent, according to the most recent U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report. During the month, the number of workers unemployed dropped to seven million. June marked the 79th straight month of job growth in the U.S. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast payrolls increasing by 185,000 jobs last month and the unemployment rate holding steady at 4.4 percent.
“We’ve been creating close to 200,000 jobs a month now for more than seven years,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics. “That’s just an incredible achievement. And that machine is still humming.”
President Donald J. Trump has pledged to dramatically accelerate the pace of job growth and oversee the creation of 25 million new jobs in the next decade. By comparison, the U.S. has added 15.5 million jobs since 2010, a mark that includes significant catch-up from the mass layoffs of the financial crisis.
In a statement Friday morning, Rep. Kevin Brady praised the job numbers and the growth in the labor force, but said House Republicans had a lot more work to do on tax reform. “Working with President Trump and the Senate, we will deliver bold reforms this year that spur job creation, allow workers to keep more of their hard-earned paychecks, and improve the lives of all Americans for generations to come,” he said.
Where Job Growth Occurred
During the month, job growth took hold in a number of broad industries. Here’s a look at some of the most important key sectors:
- Healthcare added 37,000 jobs. Employment increased in ambulatory healthcare services (+26,000) and hospitals (+12,000). Healthcare has added an average of 24,000 jobs per month in the first half of 2017, compared with a monthly average of 32,000 jobs in 2016.
- Social assistance employment increased by 23,000 in June. Within the industry, employment continued to trend up in individual and family services (+12,000) and in child day care services (+8,000). Social assistance has added 115,000 jobs over the last 12 months.
- Employment in financial activities rose by 17,000 in June and has grown by 169,000 over the year. Securities, commodity contracts and investments added 5,000 jobs over the month.
- In June, mining employment grew by 8,000, with most of the growth in support activities for mining (+7,000). Since a recent employment low in October 2016, mining has added 56,000 jobs.
- Employment in professional and business services continued to trend up in June (+35,000) and has grown by 624,000 over the last 12 months.
- Employment in food services and drinking places also continued on an upward trend in June (+29,000). The industry has added 277,000 jobs over the year.
- Employment in other major industries, including construction, manufacturing, wholesale trade, retail trade, transportation and warehousing, information and government, showed little change over the month.
A Recruiter’s Perspective
“We have seen real change in the market,” said Edward Batchelor, managing partner at Hardman Batchelor International, an Austin, TX-based search firm. “As a firm that works a great deal in technology and communications we have experience working with strong internal recruiting at our major clients. These internal recruiting teams are overwhelmed currently and challenged with bringing in world class talent. It has really become a candidate’s market and employers are having to raise their compensation and engagement levels to hire top talent.”
“Companies need to focus more attention on retaining top talent because they are currently harder to retain and given the current growth in the economy these roles will be harder to fill,” he said. “It will take longer and likely cost more than the incumbent.”
“Also, with baby boomer retirements now accelerating one on the most significant areas where Hardman Batchelor is seeing growth is in leadership roles,” Mr. Batchelor said. “Companies have often had weak succession planning and this has started to catch up with them and is driving a sudden need to fill more senior roles.”
Workforce Summer Fling Could Set Up Race for Workers This Fall
U.S. employees are more willing than ever to test their options. According to one recent report, 25 percent of workers might be heading to greener pastures this summer. That is likely to set up a fall scramble to find new workers.
Lack of Available Talent
A company’s workforce is clearly its most valuable asset. The largest expense on any employer’s balance sheet is headcount, and investing in employees and their skills are critical to an organization’s success. Smart employers are acting now to ensure they have the most highly skilled and productive workforce to ensure their organization is prepared for whatever business challenges are coming.
According to the “Definitive Guide” report by Adecco, nearly half (48 percent) of best-in-class companies are already increasing training in critical skill areas to help combat the skills gap. Employees likely want to fill any holes in their skill-set, but cost can be a prohibitive factor. These programs can be expensive. But for companies, the initial investment in alternative training programs may pay lasting dividends, especially where global competition is concerned, said Adecco.
Governments, businesses and employees can learn a lot from what the U.S. economy and workforce endured during the great recession. What is certain is that American workers will show resilience in the face of a daunting labor market, said Adecco. By applying that same resilience, innovation and reinvention to the current skills gap challenge, the report concluded, the American workforce will undoubtedly evolve to meet the needs of the new global economy.
A significant part of the challenge will be balancing the development of soft and hard skills; both will be required to effectively navigate and tackle new industries, technologies and global competitors. And while these are the same dynamics responsible for widening the skills gap, the report said, they will also help connect the American workforce and economy to a greater success and prosperity.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor; and Chase Barbe, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media