Employers added 271,000 jobs in October, Engineers Remain Scarce!

2The Labor Department reported this morning that U.S. employers added jobs at their strongest pace this year last month. Nonfarm payrolls rose a seasonally adjusted 271,000 in October. Additionally, government revisions showed employers adding 12,000 more jobs in September and August than previously estimated.

The unemployment rate, which is obtained from a separate survey of U.S. households, fell slightly to 5.0% in October. This was its lowest reading since April 2008 and down from 5.1% the prior month. Many economists had predicted job growth would only rise by 183,000 in October, but they did correctly predict that the unemployment rate would fall to 5.0%. October’s vigorous employment growth and Labor Department revisions bring the average monthly job gains for the past three months to 187,000.

Wages Also Increasing Particularly Among Engineers

Wage growth showed signs of increasing. Average hourly earnings of private-sector workers rose last month by 9 cents to $25.20. From a year earlier, hourly wages have risen by 2.5%, up from the 2.0% average pace during the six-year expansion.

Anecdotally, our engineering recruitment division has found during the past 6 months that wage increases are particularly acute among engineers. As a result, it has been common for hiring companies to induce employment for their engineering talent vacancies with both: a) salary increases of over 10% and b) other perks (e.g. sign on bonuses)!

Employment Increases Centered on Professionals

Job growth in October was concentrated in the private sector, which added 268,000 jobs, while government payrolls grew by only 3,000.

Many of those jobs were in professional and business services, a sector that added 78,000 jobs in October, and a notable increase from an average of 52,000 per month over the prior 12 months. Administrative and support services accounted for 46,000 of the jobs added in this sector. The health-care sector continued its growth, adding 45,000 jobs in October to bring the total over the past year to 495,000.

Engineering Recruiting Particularly Robust

Both our engineering recruitment division and many other engineering recruiters we surveyed this morning have found that high quality engineers continue to be in high demand and short supply across many industries and job functions including mechanical, quality assurance, design, electronics, computer, architecture, construction, information technology (IT) and many other science and process related applications of engineers. This is confirmed by plentiful online advertisements for engineers on CareerBuilder, Indeed and other niche engineering job boards. Increasing technology projects in many fields have created many of these engineering vacancies. Unfortunately, engineering resumes are in short supply.

The surge in engineering recruitment over the past several months has caused stress for company management teams, internal technical and engineering recruiters and external services such as engineering and technical staffing firms. All have had to become more aggressive in their search for high quality engineers and technology professionals. As a result, one can no longer just place an advertisement and hope a lot of engineering talent will respond. Instead, new techniques need to be applied in the search for engineers to fill your engineering staffing vacancies.  Then when a good engineer is uncovered, one needs to provide substantial rewards to induce them to fill your employment vacancy.

What are your findings?