Unemployment Rate Falls to 3.5 Percent

October 7, 2022 – Employment rose by 263,000 in September as the U.S. unemployment rate edged down to 3.5 percent, according to the most recent U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report. Notable job gains occurred in leisure and hospitality and in healthcare. Hurricane Ian had no discernible effect on the employment and unemployment data for September. The number of unemployed persons edged down to 5.8 million in September.

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rate for Hispanics decreased to 3.8 percent in September. The jobless rates for adult men (3.3 percent), adult women (3.1 percent), teenagers (11.4 percent), whites (3.1 percent), blacks (5.8 percent), and Asians (2.5  percent) showed little change over the month.

Among those not in the labor force who wanted a job, the number of persons marginally attached to the labor force was little changed in September at 1.6 million. These individuals wanted and were available for work and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months but had not looked for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey. The number of discouraged workers, a subset of the marginally attached who believed that no jobs were available for them, increased by 119,000 to 485,000 in September.

Where Job Growth Occurred

  • Leisure and hospitality added 83,000 jobs in September, in line with the average monthly job gain over the first eight months of the year. Within the industry, employment in food services and drinking places rose by 60,000 in September. Employment in leisure and hospitality was below its pre-pandemic February 2020 level by 1.1 million, or 6.7 percent.
  • In September, employment in healthcare rose by 60,000 and has returned to its February 2020 level. Over the month, ambulatory healthcare services and hospitals each added 28,000 jobs.
  • Employment in professional and business services continued its upward trend in September (+46,000). Thus far in 2022, job growth in the industry has averaged 72,000 per month. Employment in temporary help services continued to trend up (+27,000) in September. Job gains occurred in investigation and security services (+9,000) and in scientific research and development services (+5,000). Job losses occurred in business support services (-12,000), legal services (-5,000), and advertising and related services (-5,000).
  • Manufacturing employment continued to trend up in September (+22,000). Job gains occurred in motor vehicles and parts (+8,000), fabricated metal products (+6,000), and electrical equipment and appliances (+3,000). Printing and related support activities lost 4,000 jobs over the month. Manufacturing has added an average of 36,000 jobs per month thus far in 2022.
  • In September, employment in construction continued to trend up (+19,000), in line with average monthly job growth in the first eight months of this year. Specialty trade contractors added 18,000 jobs in September.
  • Employment in wholesale trade continued its upward trend in September (+11,000). Wholesale trade has added an average of 18,000 jobs per month thus far in 2022.
  • In September, employment in financial activities changed little (-8,000), as declines in insurance carriers and related activities (-9,000) and non-depository credit intermediation (-7,000) were partially offset by a job gain in depository credit intermediation (+5,000).
  • Employment in transportation and warehousing was little changed in September (-8,000). A loss of 11,000 jobs in truck transportation was partially offset by a gain of 3,000 jobs in air transportation.
  • Employment showed little change over the month in other major industries, including mining, retail trade, information, other services, and government.

Search Veteran Weighs In

Dana Feller founded Hudson Gate Partners in 2010. She has significant experience across multiple human resources functional areas including recruiting, training, talent management, performance management, compensation, career mobility, employee relations, and advancement. She previously spent over 10 years at Lehman Brothers where she served as a senior strategic business partner to both the investment management and investment banking divisions.

Ms. Feller recently sat down with Hunt Scanlon Media to discuss the market conditions and what she is seeing in the executive search industry.

       Dana Feller

Dana, how have the events of the past two years changed how you work with clients?

We have developed deeper relationships with our clients. A lot of our relationships are now built on strong foundations of mutual loyalty and trust. We have helped many franchise clients add new talent across various functional areas — from marketing to accounting to legal to IT to HR, etc. It is particularly fulfilling when we are able to help our clients make multiple hires with different hiring managers and in various office locations. Our marquee clients consider us their go-to search partner, knowing that we fully understand their unique cultures and value propositions — and that we know how to best position them in the talent marketplace.

What do you see for the economy looking ahead?

I believe that hiring will continue to slow down and that 2023 will start off much slower than 2022 did — which was a pace none of us had ever seen before. My guess is that if the Fed is able to execute on its much desired soft-landing, that the pace of hiring will start increasing again in about six months time, maybe late Q1 / early Q2.

Are talent shortages here to stay?

On most levels, yes, talent shortages are here to stay for the foreseeable future — at least in the PE, VC, and hedge fund industries. Our clients are looking for the absolute top echelon of talent, at all levels and across all functions. There will always be a shortage of stellar talent that the various funds will compete for — not only against each other but also against technology firms, in particular.

“I believe that hiring will continue to slow down and that 2023 will start off much slower than 2022 did — which was a pace none of us had ever seen before.”

Can you discuss some of your recent search work?

We have executed some very exciting team build-outs lately. We hired four marketing professionals for a top-tier PE firm across both New York and California. We also have hired five IT professionals (data experts, engineers, developers) for a very high growth asset management firm with offices in Florida and Massachusetts. Other very busy areas for us currently are the chief administration officer, chief operating officer, and chief revenue officer roles. Coming out of the pandemic, our clients are scaling up and building new lines of business and revenue streams. Senior strategic talent is in high demand right now — and essential in order to enable our clients to successfully execute upon their expansion strategies.

Related: Talent Shortages Reach Highest Levels in 16 Years 

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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