Low unemployment is making the job search easier for employees
- A new TD AmeriTrade survey found that 70% of workers said jobs are easier to find now than five years ago. The report, Job Attitudes Survey, surveyed more than 1,100 American adult investors and analyzed the effects of low unemployment rates on the workplace. Low unemployment led 71% of baby boomers to feel optimistic about job outlook, while it prompted almost half of millennials to view this job market as an opportunity to find new employment.
- Two thirds of employees across the generations said low unemployment rates should result in higher wages, and millennials were the most likely group to ask for a raise. Slightly more women than men said they received a boost to their paychecks in the last 12 months, with 53% of women and 49% of men reporting as such.
- Survey results also showed that low unemployment affects benefits and perks, with more than 53% of workers expecting better benefits and perks. Only one in five surveyed said their employers improved their benefits in the last 12 months.
The unemployment rate for September hit 3.7%, the lowest in 49 years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). And the average hourly wage increased by 8 cents to $27.24. Job growth for the month declined, from 201,000 in August to 134,000, although growth overall has been on a steady, if sometimes erratic climb since the economy began recovering from the 2008 Great Recession.
Workers in the TD Ameritrade survey were onto something as they voiced their expectations. A tight labor market makes for fierce competition, and that competition often benefits workers. According to the Cielo Talent Acquisition 360 study, 70% of business leaders are changing up their recruiting processes to better entice a shrinking talent pool. Businesses are also beefing up their benefits, just like those surveyed guessed. In the 2018 Emerging Trends: Voluntary Benefits and Services Survey, employers said they will expand their slate of voluntary benefits to address workers' financial needs and well-being.
While some businesses, like Amazon, have plumped up paychecks in the name of retention and recruitment, wages have remained fairly stagnant overall. Projections for salary increases in 2019 remain around the 2.8-3.0% range, various sources have said.