Job numbers were strong on Friday, March 9, 2018. The Labor Department said nonfarm payrolls rose a seasonally adjusted 313,000 last month. It was the strongest monthly gain since July 2016. The unemployment rate of 4.1% held at the lowest level since December 2000 for the fifth straight month!
Although the unemployment rate held at a 17-year low in February the pace of wage growth eased. One way for the U.S. to reverse this trend is through STEM, Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education. As I shared in a previous article, “STEM Education Improvement: Answer To More High Paying Jobs” improvement in STEM will exponentially improve recruiting of high paying jobs.
The Labor Department reported that many U.S. employers increased their recruiting last month. Recruiting was at its strongest pace in a year and a half.
As I shared on Chicago CBS Radio affiliate WBBM News Radio on Friday, one sector taking the lead was construction. 61,000 workers in construction in February. This was their biggest increase in nearly 11 years!
Recruiting also picked up at retailers, manufacturers and local governments, including schools. All levels of government added 26,000 workers, also the best gain since July 2016.
This was the 89th consecutive month of job creation, the longest streak of continuous hiring on record. It is a testament to the durability of the economic expansion that began in mid-2009, even as the pace of overall growth has lagged historical levels.
More Americans entering the workforce backed improved hiring. The share of Americans participating in the labor force rose by 0.3 percentage point to 63.0% in February.
Additionally, the Labor Department also revised past figures. Employers’ actually added 239,000 jobs in January and 175,000 in December, a net upward revision of 54,000. The pace of hiring has picked up recently. Hiring in the first two months of 2018 is outpacing 2017’s average monthly growth of 182,000. That runs counter to economists’ expectation for hiring to broadly ease as the labor market tightens.
However, Still Many Negatives Including Slow Wage Growth
Many economists projected that this tighter labor market would also produce better wage growth. But last month, wages grew at a slower rate compared with January.
Average hourly earnings for all private sector workers increased 4 cents last month to $26.75. Wages rose 2.6% from a year earlier in February. The annual wage gain in January was revised down to 2.8% increase.
Also, a broad measure of unemployment and underemployment that includes Americans stuck in part-time jobs or too discouraged to look for work held steady at 8.2%.
Increased Recruiting And Wages Via Improved STEM Education!
Boosting R&D, scientific, engineering, technical, IT and manufacturing leaders will be the cornerstone of future innovation. Further, the technology businesses these STEM oriented entrepreneurs will create historically generate the most high pay jobs.
Technology remains the catalyst for future research and development (R&D) and innovation but U.S. STEM education has been sliding for several decades. We therefore now need to place major emphasis on improving STEM education.
Education, more than any other government effort, will quickly increase high paying jobs resulting from novel technical, engineering, scientific, IT, R&D and manufacturing innovation such as virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics!
STEM education is the best way to generate more innovation and technology development. In turn an increase in science, engineering and technical endeavors will naturally increase the demand for scientists, information technology (IT) and research and development (R&D) workers.
Unfortunately, the leader in supplying this sort of talent is not the United States. Instead, according to the publication from the Economic Times entitled “India Tops In Producing Bachelors In Science, Engineering” India now produces 25% of the world’s estimated 7.5 million technical, engineering and scientific bachelor degrees.
As in any field the more production you have over your competition, the more likely you will succeed. STEM education is no different. Therefore, if India is minting ¼ of the world’s engineers, scientists, IT, technical and R&D experts, they will continue to have a differential advantage in future innovation and technology!
The main problem is most worldwide companies have a high demand for skilled technology workers. Unfortunately, the supply of qualified R&D, IT, engineering, technical, scientific and manufacturing technology talent is far below the demand. STEM can be the answer!
Many Recruiters Yearn For Better Worker STEM Skills
Also during Friday’s radio broadcast, I shared many steps our recruiting clients have taken to attract and retain key talent.
Additionally, my recruitment team is constantly hearing from our recruiting clients that there is a deficiency of science, engineering and technical skills to meet open jobs. As a result, many of our clients have had to resort to internal training to bridge the skills gap.
Unfortunately, not enough is being done to ramp up STEM skills. Therefore, in order to not only improve candidate job skills, but also create more high paying jobs, U.S. lawmakers need to take a serious look at improving STEM in specific and macro level education in general. This will be the best way to significantly ramp up American jobs and wages.