Job creation decelerated in December with the unemployment rate rising to 4.7% from 4.6% a month earlier. However, wages grew at their most robust pace since 2009. This signals a tightening labor market more than seven years after the jobs expansion began.
75th Straight Month Of Job Creation!
The Labor Department reported on Friday that nonfarm payrolls rose by a seasonally adjusted 156,000 in December from November. This uptick in the unemployment rate reflected more Americans entering the labor force.
The final full month of President Barack Obama ’s term was the 75th straight month U.S. employers adding jobs. This is the longest such jobs stretch on record dating back to 1939. The unemployment rate was at the lowest level to end a year since 2006, well down from the 7.8% level recorded when he took office in January 2009, during a deep recession, and from a peak of 10% early in his presidency.
Technical Recruiting Outpacing The Overall Jobs Market!
Strategic Search Corporation six recruiting divisions (Research and Development, engineering, scientific, technical, Information Technology and manufacturing) all continually survey hiring trends. As a result, we have found that recruitment of engineers, scientists, R&D (research and development), IT (information technology) and manufacturing continues to rise with key talent remaining in short supply and high demand.
As a result, staffing managers are having troubles recruiting key technical, scientific, engineering, R&D, IT and manufacturing. Therefore, talent vacancies in some cutting edge fields like AI (artificial intelligence), IoT (Internet of Things) and robotics are at all time highs resulting in candidates demanding exponentially higher wages to change jobs to work for a new employer.
Wages Are Up!
Less slack in the labor market could finally be putting upward pressure on wages. Last month, average hourly earnings for private-sector workers advanced 10 cents from November, or 0.39%, to $26.00. Economists had expected a 0.3% increase on the month.
From a year earlier, wages rose 2.9% in December, the best annual gain in more than seven years. Wage gains firmed last year, but remain weak by historical standards. Wages for nonsupervisory workers, for which there’s a longer series of data, since 2009 have grown at the slowest rate of any expansion since at least the mid-1960s.
Jobs Picture Not Completely Rosy
However, the labor market has been a mixed bag over the past few years including historically weak wage gains, the lowest share of adults in the labor force in four decades, and an elevated number of Americans frustrated because they are stuck in part-time jobs but want full-time work.
Friday’s Labor Department report showed November nonfarm payrolls were revised up to a gain of 204,000 and October’s tally down to 135,000, a net increase of 19,000.
For all of 2016, the economy added just under 2.2 million jobs, or an average of about 180,000 a month. That’s the worst calendar year performance since 2011. In 2014 and 2015, employment expanded at a rate not seen since 1999.
A slowdown in hiring is consistent with a tightening labor market. Firms in some industries say they are struggling to find employees with the necessary skills. At the same time, a sluggish global economy helped keep business expansion plans in check.
A broad measure of unemployment and underemployment, which includes those who have stopped looking and those in part-time jobs who want full-time positions, was 9.2% in December, the lowest since April 2008. The rate averaged 8.5% in the three years before the recession.
The labor-force participation rate, those with jobs or actively seeking work, moved up to 62.7% in December from 62.6% the prior month, still hovering near a four-decade low. The smaller share of adults working partly reflects an aging U.S. population. But it could also show little wage growth and an expansion of Medicaid and other safety net programs encourage some Americans to stay out of the workforce.
Networking The Key To Landing A Job!
In order to land your next job, keep in mind my main employment mantra, “Resumes Don’t Get Your Hired, You Do!” As a result, I recommend networking to land your next job. As I shared in my Second Commandment of Interviewing (click on 2nd above to view), the keys to networking are: 1) developing a 30-second elevator pitch and 2) letting everyone you know you are looking for a job.
During the 30-second elevator pitch, you want to quickly convey three things: 1) who you are 2) what you are looking for and 3) your 2-3 greatest strengths. Furthermore, you want to repeatedly practice this pitch in a mirror, on video and with friends to perfect it.
When you have perfected your pitch, you need to get before people who know about hiring openings in your field. This includes meetings both online and in-person including social media and important events in your industry. During these meetings you want to share your pitch with everyone you meet because you never know who might know about your next job.
This will avoid getting your resume screened out by a low level staffing person. Instead, you will be meeting hiring managers who can influence your landing your next job.