The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported this morning that the economy added 242,000 jobs in February and the unemployment rate remained steady at 4.9%, which is its lowest rate since November 2007.
As a result, employers are scrambling to fill many open positions. Especially, the demand for technical positions far outstrips the supply!
Most Jobs Indices Are Getting Stronger
This was the 65th straight month of jobs creation! Additionally, the labor market participation rate moved up a full half-point from near-40-year lows to 62.9% in February. This points to job candidates getting off the sidelines in serious numbers and going back into the workforce as the market continues to tighten. Moreover, the employment-population ratio edged up to 59.8% over the month, and the labor force participation rate edged up to 62.9%. Both measures have increased by 0.5-percentage point since September.
Even the broadest measure of unemployment, the so-called U-6, fell to 9.7% in February from 9.9% in January, and is down from 11% a year ago.
Technical Recruiting Continuing To Ramp Up
Our technical recruiters and R&D, scientific, engineering, IT and technical recruitment professionals we have polled at other staffing firms over the past six months have reported that technical recruiting has been rising at an accelerated rate.
Hiring for software developer (esp. AI and VR) in specific and in general engineering, manufacturing, development and most technology jobs remains robust. Technical recruiting firms like ours are scrambling to find the best talent for our technology clients.
For example, we continue to find a dearth of excellent Electrical Construction Project Managers. These candidates have a B.S.E.E degree with strengths in bidding and managing new electrical projects. These positions pay $90,000 to $130,000 depending upon experience.
Across The Board Jobs Gains
Many job sectors are growing with three sectors at the top of jobs growth in February: Health Care, Retail Trade and Food Services and Drinking Places.
Health care and social assistance added 57,000 jobs in February. Wages for education and health services rose 2.1%, to $22.40 from $21.94.
Retail trade added 55,000 jobs in February. Wages in that sector rose 2%, to $14.95 from $14.65.
Food services and drinking places added 40,000 jobs in February. Leisure and hospitality wages rose 2.5%, to $12.64 from $12.33.
Fourth on the list was education, which created 28,000 jobs in February. Its wages are captured in that education and health services number I referenced above.
Construction came in fifth, adding 19,000 jobs, and was the last sector that added enough jobs for the BLS to break it out in the release. Wages in that sector rose 2.9%, to $25.41 from $24.69. Employment in construction is up by 253,000 over the past 12 months, with residential specialty trade contractors accounting for about half of the increase.
Economists and Strategists Confirm That The Jobs Market Is Getting Stronger
SouthBay Research’s Andrew Zatlin, shared, “In terms of economic stress and weakness, most of the payroll data points to continued strength. There wasn’t any uptick in overtime, but there wasn’t a down tick either. The overtime trend is in a holding pattern, which is consistent with minimal wage inflation. Manufacturing layoffs stopped, and seasonal temp demand was the same as a year ago, which is a good sign of small-business strength.”
David Lefkowitz, senior equity strategist at UBS Wealth Management Research, said, “Together with other positive U.S. economic data, the February jobs report looks good to stock investors. There has been a lot of concern about the strength of the US expansion, and in the last few weeks we’ve seen better economic data, and the jobs report confirms that data is getting a little bit stronger and recession fears will continue to diminish.”
Mark Hamrick, senior economic analyst at Bankrate.com, said, “With payrolls up, the unemployment rate remaining below 5%, wages declining and rate expectations little changed, February’s report further quells fears of a possible U.S. recession.”
The Need To Constantly Recruit
One of the mistakes many recruitment departments make especially with technical recruiting is waiting until hiring vacancies occur and then engaging in vigorous recruiting efforts. Instead, we recommend to Constantly recruit.
Especially with technical staffing needs, one needs to be very vigilant all year round! This means don’t wait for a job opening to seek out talent. Instead, attend trade shows and industry events to build your staffing network.
Then when you have a staffing need, you can quickly fill it by taping into your employment database. So remember to constantly recruit.
Please go to my 12 Commandments of Recruiting and click on #8 below for my video on this important recruiting tip.
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