Unemployment Rate Remains Unchanged as Employers Add 196,000 Jobs

Here’s the latest jobs report, with executive search consultants Mark HuYoung of NorthWind Partners and Todd Bennett of R. Todd Bennett Retained Executive Search weighing in.

April 5, 2019 – Employers added 196,000 jobs last month as the U.S. unemployment rate remained unchanged at 3.8 percent, according to the most recent U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report released this morning. Wall Street analysts had expected an increase of between 150,000 and 200,000. The March gain is the 102nd consecutive month of job growth. The number of unemployed people currently stands at 6.2 million.

The numbers came a month after February’s jaw-dropping gain of just 20,000, which was revised up to 33,000 in the March report. Wage gains fell off the recent strong pace, increasing just 0.14 percent for the month and 3.2 percent year over year, below expectations of the 3.4 percent pace from last month.

“We think the labor market is the strongest thing in the U.S. economy right now,” Luke Tilley, chief economist at Wilmington Trust, told the New York Times. “We’re encouraged by the wage gains.”

“The lesson of this recovery is that the labor market keeps chugging on despite whatever turmoil happens around it,” said Martha Gimbel, research director at the job-search site Indeed.

Where Job Growth Occurred

  • Healthcare added 49,000 jobs in March and 398,000 over the past 12 months. Over the month, employment increased in ambulatory health care services (+27,000), hospitals (+14,000), and nursing and residential care facilities (+9,000).
  • Employment in professional and technical services grew by 34,000 in March and 311,000 over the past 12 months. In March, computer systems design and related services added 12,000 jobs. Employment continued to trend up in architectural and engineering services (+6,000) and in management and technical consulting services (+6,000).
  • In March, employment in food services and drinking places continued its upward trend (+27,000), in line with its average monthly gain over the prior 12 months.
  • Employment in construction showed little change in March (+16,000) but has increased by 246,000 over the past 12 months.

Top 5 Reasons Why the Job Market will Flourish in 2019
Many observers say that the pace of growth, with an average of more than 200,000 jobs created each month, is unsustainable. Some are even predicting a recession before 2020. But that is far from inevitable, according to a new report by ZipRecruiter, authored by labor economist Julia Pollack.

  • Manufacturing employment changed little for the second month in a row (-6,000 in March, following +1,000 in February). In the 12 months prior to February, manufacturing had added an average of 22,000 jobs per month. Within the industry, employment in motor vehicles and parts declined in March (-6,000).
  • Employment in other major industries, including mining, wholesale trade, retail trade, transportation and warehousing, information, financial activities, and government, showed little change over the month.

Hiring Plans to Continue

U.S. employers are expecting hiring to pick up in the second quarter, with 24 percent of employers planning to add staff, according to the latest “Employment Outlook Survey,” released today by ManpowerGroup. Employers in all U.S. regions and industry sectors are looking for headcount to grow. This is the seventh consecutive year of double-digit hiring outlooks in the U.S., according to the survey of more than 11,500 U.S. employers.

Related: The Global Recruiting Sector is in Growth Mode, But Challenges Loom

“As U.S. employers continue to report double-digit hiring outlooks, demand for talent is growing across the board from cybersecurity experts and data analysts to delivery drivers needed to keep up with 24/7 online retail,” said Becky Frankiewicz, president of ManpowerGroup North America. “It’s a skilled worker’s market. The best employers are reviewing the difference between what is desired in a role and what is required for a job. In the tech sector, we see a higher number of Java openings requiring computer science degrees than there are graduates.”

The most successful employers are re-evaluating the precise experience and education required to get the job done, she added, “and as a result they’re attracting the best, and often more diverse, talent to the organization,” Ms. Frankiewicz said.

Search Consultants Weigh In

“We are very encouraged by the latest economic data and even more so about the increase in larger company inquires as of late,” said Todd Bennett, CEO of Fort Worth, TX-based R. Todd Bennett Retained Executive Search. “The market for talent acquisition looks to remain strong for the balance of 2019.”

Nearly Half of Employers Plan to Ramp Up Hiring
The jobs outlook is positive for 2019, according to a new CareerBuilder report, as organizations plan to continue hiring full-time as well as temporary employees. The tough part, everyone agrees, will be finding the talent. 

Related: CEO Confidence Falls as Workers Remain Optimistic

“By all key indicators, this country’s economy is currently very strong,” said Mark HuYoung, managing partner of NorthWind Partners. “The current CPI of the U.S. is pretty healthy. I suspect unemployment will maintain its current trend or perhaps even drop slightly in the coming year based on my firm’s observations,” he added.

“Most importantly, GDP growth rate is expected to remain between the two and three percent which is ideal, controlled growth,” he said. “The only perceivable negative indicator I see is a downshift in GDP growth primarily due to the trade war. Although we see growth across PE investments in our key industries of focus (technology, healthcare, business services, and manufacturing/industrials), we’ve seen particularly significant increase in demand for leadership talent in the manufacturing sector where overall growth is being driven by an accelerated pace of capital equipment spending and exports.”

That said, he noted, “the war for executive talent is raging across all markets,” Mr. HuYoung said. “Demand is high, supply is low, capital is readily available, and general market perception about the future remains high. These factors are forcing companies to fight the war predominantly with their wallets on all fronts.”

Related: The Top 10 Emerging Talent Trends for 2019

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

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