- The U.S. labor market gained 304,000 nonfarm jobs in January, based on the U.S. Bureau of Statistics' (BLS) monthly jobs report. Job growth for December was revised from 312,000 to 222,000.
- The unemployment rate continued its climb from 3.9% last month to 4%, although BLS noted that the partial federal government shutdown accounts for some of that increase. The number of unemployed individuals grew to 6.5 million, and of those, 175,000 reported being temporarily laid off.
- Industries with the highest job growth were leisure and hospitality, construction, healthcare, and transportation and warehousing.
Taken month by month, jobs reports are snapshots of economic movement. When it comes to the overall economy, experts are are waffling, unsure whether a recession will appear in the coming years.
Still, it's clear that employees still have the upper hand. "The strong economy is creating a robust labor market. The latest job report revealed that it's a candidate's market — the need for businesses to retain and attract top talent has never been greater," Josh Wand, CEO of ForceBrands, said in a statement. "This, coupled with robust year-over-year wage growth makes this the strongest labor market in years."
And employees have shown that they are not afraid to take advantage of a market that favors them. A study by Adtaxi at the end of 2018 showed that 52% of U.S. workers plan to look for a new job in 2019, and of those searching, 54% landed their current job less than a year ago. To keep these workers around (and reduce the impacts of turnover, already at an all-time high), employers are going to have to get creative with their benefit offerings — and consider the power of competitive salaries, especially as wage rates stagnate. Money remains a top motivator for job seekers, Monster said in a report late last year.
But employers should also look inward as they step up retention efforts in this job market; workers that are unhappy with their managers are four times more likely to job hunt than their peers. In turn, employers should ensure they are holding managers accountable and training them to better handle their teams.