PeopleScout Jobs Report Analysis—January 2024

U.S. employers added 353,000 jobs in January, nearly doubling what economist had predicted and demonstrating employers’ willingness to keep hiring to meet steady consumer spending. The unemployment rate remained flat at 3.7% despite predictions of a slight increase. Year-over-year wage growth rose to 4.5%. 

The Numbers 

353,000: U.S. employers added 353,000 jobs in January.  

3.7%: The unemployment rate remained unchanged at 3.7%.  

4.5%: Wages rose 4.5% over the past year.  

The Good 

January’s jobs report defied expectations with job growth nearly doubling forecasts, the unemployment rate holding steady and wages outpacing predictions. Experts at The Wall Street Journal also point out that while the bulk of hiring in 2023 came from just three sectors: government, healthcare, and restaurants and hotels, job gains in January broadened, with nearly two-thirds of private sector industries adding to their payroll or keeping them steady. January’s report adds to months of data showing that economic growth is remaining stable, if not accelerating. And after being hit hard by inflation, Americans are finally starting to feel better about the economy, according to a University of Michigan survey which showed a 29% improvement in consumer sentiment compared to November 2023, the biggest two-month increase since 1991.  

The Bad 

With few signs of weakness, the January report was described by many as universally positive. Yet, some analysts have argued that after such a big rally, further gains will be more difficult to come by. Further, despite markets buoying, stock gains did not extend across the entire market, with shares of smaller companies falling in general. These businesses may continue to suffer if the Fed takes longer to cut rates, which as reported by the New York Times, they are now in no hurry to do.  

The Unknown 

January jobs reports have been somewhat hard to read since the onset of the pandemic. While job gains have consistently been above economist’s expectations for the past few years, some believe that may be the result of shifts in seasonal hiring patterns, according to The Wall Street Journal. Further, recent high-profile layoffs from companies like UPS signal for some that demand for workers may cool in the coming months, but for now as reported by Bloomberg, there’s still plenty of evidence that employers are still hiring.  

Conclusion 

For months, U.S. jobs data has pointed to a gradually cooling labor market, which along with receding inflation led experts to believe the Fed would start cutting interest rates in early 2024. However, this “blockbuster” January report has turned that narrative on its head, suggesting a reacceleration that is likely to delay any rate cuts, at least for the time being.  

[On-Demand] The Ticking Talent Clock: Is Time Running Out to Address the Skills Crisis?

[On-Demand] The Ticking Talent Clock: Is Time Running Out to Address the Skills Crisis?

With the rapid advancement of AI, accelerated digitalization and the greening of the economy, businesses are grappling with the changing nature of work—how we work and the types of jobs we do. In fact, a new research report from PeopleScout and Spotted Zebra, The Skills Crisis Countdown, reveals that nine in 10 HR leaders believe that up to half of their workforce will need new skills to perform their jobs in the next five years. Yet, only less than one in 10 say they are actively investing in reskilling programs.

Are HR leaders running out of time?

Join PeopleScout’s Global Head of Talent Consulting Simon Wright and Spotted Zebra’s Chief Customer Officer Nick Shaw as they delve into the key findings from the research, lay bare the skills crisis and show why the clock is ticking for HR leaders.

In the webinar, Simon and Nick cover:

  • How organizations are addressing the mismatch in skills demand and supply
  • The current state of skills utilization, skills-based hiring and the need to expand talent pools
  • Strategies for improving talent mobility (including case studies and success stories)
  • Practical steps you can take to transition to a skills-focused model
  • And more!

 

PeopleScout Jobs Report Analysis—December 2023 

U.S. employers added 216,000 jobs in December, exceeding economists’ expectations and fueling optimism that the economy can achieve a so-called soft landing. The unemployment rate remained flat at 3.7%. Year-over-year wage growth rose slightly to 4.1%.

The Numbers

216,000: U.S. employers added 216,000 jobs in December. 

3.7%: The unemployment rate remained unchanged at 3.7%. 

4.1%: Wages rose 4.1% over the past year. 

The Good

December’s jobs report shows a pace of hiring even stronger than expected, wrapping up a year of steady gains in what experts at The Wall Street Journal call “a job market that continues to defy expectations.” The addition of 216,000 jobs suggests a healthy economy, with the most significant growth seen in the healthcare, leisure and hospitality, and government sectors. The unemployment rate held steady at 3.7 percent, despite analyst predictions of a slight bump over last month.

The Bad

Despite overall job growth, losses in transportation and warehousing indicate sector-specific challenges that could be a sign of shifting consumer behavior or technological advancements impacting these industries. Further, the labor force shrank by nearly 700,000 workers in December, which as reported by the New York Times is disappointing after seeing strong labor force growth through much of 2023. This decrease is likely what caused the unemployment rate to remain flat.

The Unknown

Last month’s job gains have diminished previous hopes of an interest rate cut in March, with Bloomberg reporting experts now predict the rate cut is more likely to come in May. Time will tell if additional data will help convince the Fed that inflation is still falling as hoped. According to the New York Times, Federal Reserve officials have also indicated that wage increases above 4 percent are “a little too hot for comfort,” so December’s wage gains are also likely to keep them on watch.  

Conclusion

The December 2023 U.S. jobs report indicated that the economy avoided a recession last year, and experts think it’s likely to continue to grow through 2024 as labor market resilience supports consumer spending. However, this growth is likely to delay cuts in interest rates by the Fed, keeping them on the sidelines longer than expected.

PeopleScout Jobs Report Analysis—November 2023

U.S. employers added 199,000 jobs in November, continuing the slowing pace of hiring. This is only slightly higher than what economists expected and shows the Federal Reserve’s plan to increase interest rates may be working. The unemployment rate fell to 3.7%. Year-over-year wage growth fell to 4.0%.

jobs report infographic

The Numbers

199,000: U.S. employers added 199,000 jobs in November.

3.7%: The unemployment rate fell to 3.7%.

4%: Wages rose 4% over the past year.

The Good

Experts at The Wall Street Journal call November’s jobs report “nearly perfect,” and an indication that a soft-landing for the U.S. economy is taking shape. The 199,000 jobs added to the economy represent a sustainable pace of growth that has remained steady throughout the fall months. The unemployment rate also fell to 3.7% after jumping to 3.9% the previous month. This had raised some red flags on Wall Street, but November’s decrease demonstrates that job growth is likely to continue into 2024. Additionally, wage growth continued to soften, dropping to 4%. The Federal Reserve is looking for wage growth to slow to lower inflation.

The Bad

It’s not easy to find bad news in November’s report, but the New York Times points out that the job growth was not evenly spread across industries. The strongest growth was in healthcare and government hiring, which are two of the sectors least connected to the strength of the economy. While manufacturing did see growth in December, much of that can be attributed to workers returning after the auto strikes. Additionally, the retail industry shed more than 38,000 jobs, showing some weakness in holiday hiring.

The Unknown

The big question is what the latest jobs report trends will mean for interest rates. Marketwatch reports that the Federal Reserve is likely to keep rates high into next spring. However, as the board meets next week, analysts expect the pause on increases to continue. Recent jobs reports have indicated that their strategy is working, and they fear raising rates too high or too quickly could trigger a downturn.  

PeopleScout Jobs Report Analysis—October 2023

U.S. employers added 150,000 jobs in October, showing a slowdown after a summer of strong job growth. This is lower than what economists expected and shows the Federal Reserve plan to increase interest rates may be working. The unemployment rate rose slightly to 3.9%. Year-over-year wage growth fell to 4.1%.

The Numbers

150,000: U.S. employers added 150,000 jobs in October.

3.9%: The unemployment rate fell to 3.9%.

4.1%: Wages rose 4.1% over the past year.

The Good

According to the Wall Street Journal, October’s report is the clearest sign we’ve seen that the Federal Reserve strategy of raising interest rates to slow the job market and control inflation may be working. Throughout the summer, job growth remained strong, consistently outperforming analyst expectations. The latest numbers fall into a more sustainable rate of growth. Additionally, wage growth appears to be slowing. Over the past 12 months, year-over-year wage growth has been as high as 4.8%, which makes October’s 4.1% encouraging.

The Bad

While the U.S. saw overall job growth, several industries contracted last month. Some of the most significant losses were in the manufacturing, transportation and warehousing sectors. Although, as the New York Times reported, some of this can be explained by ongoing strikes, particularly in the auto industry. Another concerning sign is that labor force participation decreased in October, shrinking the labor force by 201,000 people. Though experts say not to read too much into monthly fluctuations, they will watch the labor force participation rate in the coming months.

The Unknown

With September’s blockbuster jobs report and October’s slowdown, MarketWatch reports that the U.S. economy is displaying mixed signals, but evidence is mounting that a cooldown is starting. However, experts debate exactly how it will continue to play out. Some say the economy could continue to move forward without any major bumps, just at a slower pace; while others say they’re more concerned. They tend to agree, though, that the latest report makes it less likely that the Federal Reserve will decide to raise rates again at the next meeting in December.

Food Processing Company Slashes Costs, Boosts Compliance with Contingent Workforce Tech Overhaul

Food Processing Company Slashes Costs, Boosts Compliance with Contingent Workforce Tech Overhaul

MSP – Contingent Hiring Solution

Food Processing Company Slashes Costs, Boosts Compliance with Contingent Workforce Tech Overhaul

PeopleScout helped a leading food processor centralize and streamline its contingent hiring process through targeted technology improvements resulting in $500k annual cost savings and 19% payroll spend reduction.

500 k annual cost savings
19 % reduction in payroll spend
100 % compliance audit scores

Situation 

A leading food processing company was struggling to successfully utilize its contingent labor program across all divisions of the business. The challenges spread across 67 of the organization’s locations in 23 states, where the existing business model enabled them to operate independently.

This decentralization resulted in varied spending between locations, increased compliance risk and an unequal distribution of contingent opportunities across the program. Just ten suppliers held 84% of the program spend, which drove diversity spend below 5%.

The client had also recently announced an initiative to move several satellite offices into the company headquarters, requiring contingent workers to either relocate or work remotely when possible.

On top of this, the client was experiencing reporting limitations within their existing vendor management system (VMS), challenges with an oversaturated supply base and difficulty identifying workers for unique healthcare assignments related to worker safety during the COVID-19 pandemic.

To solve these issues, the organization approached PeopleScout to create a centralized contingent hiring solution.

Solution 

PeopleScout deployed several centralized technology process improvements across all client locations. This included implementing a more robust and enhanced VMS to improve the experience for hiring managers, suppliers and project managers. The new VMS also offered better reporting and visibility into the program spend, supplier performance, requisition management, time-to-fill and more. PeopleScout also provided the client with data for competitive benchmarking. 

PeopleScout initially experienced resistance to the new process from both managers and suppliers but overcame that obstacle by highlighting benefits like cost savings, competitive rates, expedited payment terms and more.  

As the company relocated workers, PeopleScout proactively reached out to offices where contingent workers were assigned to determine if staff could work remotely and provided strategies to assist in retention and filling vacancies. 

PeopleScout also provided Talent Advisory consulting services, including onsite meetings to review the value of MSP programs and total talent management solutions, and to discuss DE&I trends and goals with the client’s DE&I taskforce.

Results 

PeopleScout’s program led to a cost savings of $500k in annual billing and reduced payroll spend by 19% while increasing diversity spend to $2.7 million. Additionally, in interviewing 333 workers, project managers maintained an overall compliance audit score of 100%. Partnerships have been established with knowledgeable suppliers to provide sourcing support for the challenging healthcare roles. 

“I am so very grateful for all that you have done and are doing for our location. You have made this very easy on this end. I truly can’t thank you enough.” 

Client Hiring Manager 

At a Glance

  • COMPANY: Food processing company
  • PEOPLESCOUT SOLUTIONS: Managed Service Program
  • LOCATIONS: 67 locations served in 23 states

PeopleScout Jobs Report Analysis – September 2023

U.S. employers added 336,000 jobs in September. This is nearly double the job growth that analysts expected and shows that employers still have a high demand for labor. The unemployment rate remained at 3.8%. Year-over-year wage growth fell slightly to 4.2%.

u.s. jobs report september 2023 infographic

The Numbers

336,000: Employers added 336,000 jobs in September

3.8%: The unemployment rate remained steady at 3.8%.

4.2%: Wages grew 4.2% over the past year.

The Good

The best news in September’s jobs report is that the jobs added were spread across industries, according to the Wall Street Journal. Leisure and hospitality led with 96,000 new jobs as bars and restaurants finally reached pre-pandemic staffing levels. Education and health services also added a significant 70,000 new jobs, and all major jobs categories experienced growth. The report shows that hiring is not slowing, despite high interest rates and wage growth, the restarting of student loan payments and low unemployment.

The Bad

The factors that make September’s report strong are the same ones that have analysts worried. In previous months, reports have suggested the Federal Reserve’s plan to slow hiring by raising interest rates was starting to work. The latest report tells an entirely different story. As the New York Times reports, Wall Street was wary of the blockbuster report because of the influence it could have on the Fed.

The Unknown

The latest report paints a more complicated picture for the Federal Reserve as they head into their next meeting. According to MarketWatch, this is the last report the Fed will see before that meeting, and it increases the likelihood that they will decide to raise rates again this year. The Fed has two more meeting scheduled in 2023—one on October 31 to November 1 and another December 12-13. Officials say they’re increasingly convinced that the U.S. can avoid the mass layoffs and high unemployment that typically go along with high interest rates.

2023 U.S. Workforce Trends Mid-Year Report

2023 U.S. Workforce Trends Mid-Year Report

As part of our commitment to keeping you informed about the latest news in the hiring market, we are excited to share our 2023 U.S. Workforce Trends Mid-Year Report. In this report, we have analyzed the latest jobs data across various industries so you are ready to face the months ahead with a stronger staffing strategy.

The first half of the year has seen slower hiring in many industries as businesses navigate economic uncertainty. However, there is a steady demand for workers in critical sectors such as retail, manufacturing and hospitality.

Our 2023 U.S. Workforce Trends Mid-Year Report includes:

  • National job numbers for the first half of 2023

  • Workforce and wage information for several major industries

  • A breakdown of jobs experiencing notable growth

At PeopleScout, we understand the importance of having the right workforce to support your success. That’s why our report goes beyond sharing workforce data — it also offers recommendations and strategies to help you attract and retain the right workers. These insights can help your company build a strong and flexible workforce that can adapt to changing demands, seize new opportunities and ultimately thrive in today’s business landscape.

PeopleScout Jobs Report Analysis – August 2023

U.S. employers added 187,000 jobs in August. This is slightly higher than analysts expected and shows that the Federal Reserve’s plan to slow growth may be working. The unemployment rate rose to 3.8%. Year-over-year wage growth fell slightly to 4.3%.

us jobs report infographic

The Numbers

187,000: U.S. employers added 187,000 jobs in August.

3.8%: The unemployment rate rose to 3.8%.

4.3%: Wages rose 4.3% over the past year.

The Good

While 187,000 jobs would have been a standard month of growth in 2019, in 2023, it shows signs that the labor market is slowing. As the Wall Street Journal reports, August’s report reflects a cooling job market in a strong economy, which is what the Federal Reserve has been hoping to see. Job growth was led by the education and health services sector, and leisure and hospitality saw continued strength. The increased unemployment rate was caused by more Americans looking for work, but the job market has remained tight, with more employers choosing to slow their hiring rather than opt for layoffs.

The Bad

Wage growth is slowing, but not as quickly as the Fed would like to see. Yearly wage growth fell to 4.3% in August, slightly lower than the previous month. However, wage growth has remained stubbornly higher than 4%. As the New York Times reports, Fed officials believe high wage growth could make it difficult to return to their long-term inflation goal of 2%.

The Unknown

The big question for analysts is whether or not the Fed will raise interest rates at its next meeting in September. According to MarketWatch, the latest report shows enough of a slowdown that could convince officials to hold the interest rates steady. Over the past year-and-a-half, the Fed has increased a key short-term interest rate from near zero to 5.5% in an attempt to slow inflation. At the same time, they want to avoid raising interest rates too high, which could trigger a recession.

August’s jobs report is also typically one of the trickiest of the year to interpret. Fewer businesses than usual respond timely to the monthly questionnaire as many people take summer vacations. Additionally, the strikes in Hollywood and the bankruptcy of a large trucking company could make hiring numbers appear to be artificially lower.

Attracting Older Workers to Retail and Hospitality Jobs

According to a global study by Bain & Company, workers aged 55 and older make up over 25% of the workforce in G7 countries by 2031, making older workers one of the most in-demand talent pools for employers today. In the UK, the government launched a “returnership” initiative to inspire those over the age of 50 to come back to work or to seek a career change. This scheme involves three programs that help older workers retrain and learn new skills, providing workers with a clear roadmap back into the workplace and encouraging organizations to hire them. In Western Australia, the Job Reconnect program provides grants to both employers and employees to cover costs related to licences, upskilling, and even work clothing, transport and childcare.

It’s crucial for retail and hospitality employers to know how to entice older workers back to work and to make the most of their valuable talent. Known as the ‘sandwich generation’—defined by caring for their elderly parents and also dependent children or grandchildren—older works have a strong work ethic. Customer facing and front of house roles enable them to fit work around caring for family and other responsibilities.

Keep reading for key insights from our panel discussion and get the latest research to understand exactly what older workers want and what retail and hospitality organizations can do attract this in-demand demographic.

What Do Older Workers Want?

What do over 50s want and need from an employer? Does your organization know how to attract and engage this older workforce and how to hire and retain them?

Flexibility

Unsurprisingly, monetary concerns are coaxing older workers back into the workplace due to the cost-of-living crisis. However, when it comes to choosing an employer, flexibility takes precedence over money.

Hospitality roles typically attract a younger demographic of workers. However, the flexibility offered by these jobs also appeals to the older working generation. Given that the over 50s are the largest age group with caring roles, flexible and part-time work is a powerful motivator for them to fit a job into their routine.  

As well as permanent roles, seasonal and flexible roles are available within the hospitality and retail industries, which can be more attractive to the older working community. Working harder in those seasonal months creates work-life balance, allowing older workers to take time off during quieter periods to recover and be with their friends and family.

Sense of Belonging

Workers in this age rage are still searching for rewarding work. Older workers wish to find a place where they can feel a part of their local community and give back. Over 50s enjoy creating social connections that a customer-facing job in a restaurant or supermarket can provide.

Customer-facing roles in hospitality and retail give individuals the chance to serve and connect with their community. For older customers, seeing employees in shops and restaurants that represent them can boost the customer experience. 

Myths About Older Workers

There are plenty of misconceptions out there from employers and colleagues about hiring and working with older workers. Consider these myths busted.

Myth 1: Older Workers are Resistant to Technology

Certain words can be viewed as a turn off for an over 50s audience, including “tech-savvy”, which some see as a way to ward off older candidates. There are older people who will feel excluded because others wrongly perceive that they’re less capable with technology, when in fact they are part of a generation that has seen huge advancements in technology. Bill Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft, is in his late 60s, and Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple is in his early 60s.

Recognise that all colleagues work differently with technology, so you must be thoughtful in your use of training. In hospitality and retail, workers are likely to be using tills and sales computer systems. Regardless of whether a person struggles with technology, an organization should have a strong program in place to support workers as they learn how to use these tools. For example, consider implementing a buddy system of workers and leaders who will happily help new employees in their first few weeks as they learn point-of-sale systems.

Myth 2: Absences are Higher Because of Health Issues

As people get older, their health can decline. However, this doesn’t mean that absenteeism is higher amongst older workers. In fact, older workers are more likely to have higher everyday attendance rates due to their strong work ethic. When you do see sickness or absence, it is typically in the form of long-term leave, rather than the odd day here and there.

Myth 3: Older Workers are Less Productive Than Younger Workers

A study demonstrated that there was no different between younger and older workers in terms of productivity. This study found that with their years of experience and memories, older people perhaps dismiss new information when they process things and instead use past information. It’s therefore important to acknowledge that older workers aren’t doing things worse, they just do these things differently through their years of experience.

What Can Organizations Do to Attract Older Workers?

So, how can retail and hospitality organization tap into this hard-working talent pool? Here are four questions to ask to ensure your talent acquisition program is over-50s friendly.

Are Your Candidate Attraction Materials Inclusive for Everyone?

To attract older workers, you must think more creatively and broadly.  Use community-based websites to engage with people who live close to your locations. Show how the job will fit into their lifestyle and what it would be like for an older person to work there, rather than a generic message. Create testimonials from your current employees to support this.

Make sure that your imagery is diverse, featuring people of all ages. Look at your marketing materials and ensure that it reflects the community so that over 50s can see that jobs in hospitality are here for them. Take advantage of local community-boards in community centers and supermarkets.

How is Your Candidate Experience?

Retention and attraction are very different. Employers can encourage people to apply for jobs through their advertisements, yet ultimately, it is down to the experience the candidate has during the recruitment process, induction and beyond. The candidate experience is what will make them accept the position and stay at the company. 

When younger workers leave education, they’re taught how to answer competency-based interview questions and how to write a resume. The older generation of workers likely won’t have a resume and may not have experience with this kind of interview. Is your interview process age inclusive and relevant to them?

Are You Giving Them What They Want?

Now that we’ve shared what older workers want, is your organization serious about flexible shift patterns? Over 40% of the part-time workforce is aged over 50. Not only does this part-time schedule work in hospitality, but also in retail, in which the holiday season creates a huge demand for workers.

Different shift patterns in retail can support individuals in their family commitments and lifestyle. Look at your employees’ caring responsibilities, for partners, for children, for elderly parents, and take this into account when creating your shift offerings.

But what else does this generation want from you? Everyone responds well to positive feedback. Both the retail and hospitality industries are great at celebrating successes, shown through brilliant behavior and examples across organizations.

Finally, show that your organization values them by offering benefit packages. Health is a priority for everyone as we get older, and health benefits can help to attract them to your organization.

Does Your Anti-Bias Training Include Age?

Ageism usually gets the least amount of focus across the DE&I plan. Train your leaders and hiring managers on unconscious bias particularly as it relates to age. Ensure there are no biases lurking in the recruitment process to open up talent pools instead of closing them down.

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