Unemployment could fall even further, Conference Board projects
- The Conference Board's Employment Trends Index (ETI) increased yet again in April, and the index now stands at 108.08, indicating solid employment growth, the organization said in a press release.
- The group also predicted a continued downward trend for the U.S. unemployment rate, forecasting a 3.5% unemployment rate for May 2019. It noted that growth of the working-age population has stalled, further tightening the labor market and the squeeze on employers to fill jobs.
- Out of the eight indicators aggregated to compute the ETI, seven made "positive contributions," according to the organization. Those seven indicators included: job openings; industrial production; and real manufacturing and trade sales, among others.
The May 4 announcement by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which revealed the lowest recorded unemployment rate in 18 years, confirmed both the joys and concerns of talent-hungry employers. It is telling that, even as economists warn of coming job losses due to automation and outsourcing, employers still have millions of openings to fill.
Despite this, business growth continues to increase at a healthy clip, which some say is in part due to a Congressional tax bill that has freed up funds for employers. In the quest to acquire skilled talent, many have reinvested those savings in the form of bonuses, wage increases and benefits. But the current labor market will also likely force employers to look for more cost-efficient ways to attract candidates, such as flexible work schedules and more efficient talent management processes.
To ensure that their workforces are staying ahead of changing processes and technology, employers may also need to turn to employee training programs, perhaps in partnership with community organizations including educational institutions and nonprofits. The bottom line for HR is that the strategies for surviving talent shortages do exist, but will require both planning and data analysis chops to implement in a cost-effective way.
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