Unemployment Rates Falls Again, This Time to 3.6 Percent

Here’s the latest jobs report, with recruiting professionals Tom Spry, Todd Bennett, and Rebecca Henderson weighing in. It’s been an active hiring period yet again for employers.

May 3, 2019 – Employers added 263,000 jobs last month as the U.S. unemployment rate dropped to 3.6 percent, according to the most recent U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report released this morning. Economists had estimated that 190,000 jobs were added last month, according to a Bloomberg survey. The April gain is the 103rd consecutive month of job growth. The number of unemployed people currently stands at 5.8 million.

“Growth will slow but there’s very little in the data flow to suggest a recession is around the corner,” Michael Gapen, chief United States economist at Barclays, told the New York Times. “Employment growth is solid.”

“Some people are tempted to say slow growth is fragile,” he said. “We’ve been on the other side, saying that slow growth is durable.”

Several crosscurrents were expected to affect April employment. Midwest snowstorms were likely to reduce job gains by about 20,000, Goldman Sachs estimated. In addition, the research firm estimated that early federal government hiring for the 2020 census would increase employment additions by up to 10,000. 

Where Job Growth Occurred

  • Professional and business services added 76,000 jobs in April. Within the industry, employment gains occurred in administrative and support services (+53,000) and in computer systems design and related services (+14,000). Over the past 12 months, professional and business services has added 535,000 jobs.
  • In April, construction employment rose by 33,000, with gains in nonresidential specialty trade contractors (+22,000) and in heavy and civil engineering construction (+10,000). Construction has added 256,000 jobs over the past 12 months.
  • Employment in healthcare grew by 27,000 in April and 404,000 over the past

12 months. In April, job growth occurred in ambulatory healthcare services

(+17,000), hospitals (+8,000), and community care facilities for the elderly

(+7,000).


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.


  • Social assistance added 26,000 jobs over the month, with all of the gain in individual and family services.
  • Financial activities employment continued to trend up in April (+12,000). The industry has added 110,000 jobs over the past 12 months, with almost three- fourths of the growth in real estate and rental and leasing.
  • Manufacturing employment changed little for the third month in a row (+4,000 in April). In the 12 months prior to February, the industry had added an average of 22,000 jobs per month.
  • Employment in retail trade changed little in April (-12,000). Job losses occurred in general merchandise stores (-9,000), while motor vehicle and parts dealers added 8,000 jobs.
  • Employment in other major industries, including mining, wholesale trade, transportation and warehousing, information, leisure and hospitality, 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.

Recruiting Professionals Weigh In

“As the tight job market continues in the consumer services sector, our client companies are choosing top grading leadership rather than growth to gain a strategic advantage over their competition,” said Tom Spry, founder and leader of Tom Spry Executive Search.


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. 


“The tight labor market has created more opportunities for women, even in sectors traditionally dominated by men, such as transportation, construction, police and security, which, along with other protective service jobs, has seen women’s participation grow more than 40 percent since 2000,” said Rebecca Henderson, CEO of Randstad Sourceright. “As labor participation among men ages 25 to 54 has lagged, cohorts of women have been participating at higher rates than their predecessors, especially those in their prime-age years.”

Related: Employers Look to Continue Hiring Plans

“In this job market, employers are giving female workers a chance they would not have otherwise, which could eventually facilitate more long-term gender balance, both in what are viewed as traditionally male roles, and in the overall workplace,” she said.

“Coming off the most competitive hiring quarters I have seen, it is hard to imagine the climate getting even more competitive, but I have yet to hear from a client who does not have pronounced needs to add talent to critical positions still this year,” said Todd Bennett, CEO of Fort Worth, TX-based R. Todd Bennett Retained Executive Search.

“The dirty little secret in the recent jobs report, the 3.4 percent increase in hourly wages, pales to the increase in VP and C-level increases we have seen going back to 2018,” he said. “Having a strong executive search partner that can position a client in the market to win talent is essential now more than ever, especially with many candidates seeing multiple opportunities at once.”

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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