- The labor market gained 157,000 nonfarm jobs in July, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, down from June's total gain of 213,000. As some economists predicted, the unemployment rate dropped back to 3.9%, after rising to 4.0% in June. Industries with the biggest job gains were professional and business services (51,000), manufacturing (37,000), and healthcare and social assistance (34,000).
- As the labor market tightened slightly, a CareerBuilder report showed that 63% of U.S. employers (up from 60% in last year) plan to increase staffing by hiring more full-time, permanent workers during the second half of 2018. CareerBuilder's "Midyear Job Forecast" also found that employers plan to raise salaries and offer such perks as extra paid time off, signing bonuses, remote work options and free lunches to attract and retain talent.
- In other key survey results, 69% of the 1,023 employers polled said they considered every job as essentially a tech job because every job today requires some technical skills and knowledge; 22% of the 1,014 employees polled said they plan to change jobs in the second half of 2018; and, although the number of employers who plan to hire contract or temporary workers this year dropped from 50% in 2017 to 41% this year, employers plan to hire contingent workers to fill the skills gap and recruit as permanent staff.
Job growth in July was lower than June's, but the latest figures are still a positive sign for the economy, said Hary Bottka, global concepts leader at Randstad Sourceright, a global human capital solutions provider:
"Another month of steady job growth and record-low unemployment is good news for the economy, but has some employers desperate to fill open positions. Some are even starting to abandon experience and educational requirements," said Bottka. "Rather than lowering standards, savvy employers should search for hidden pools of talent others may have overlooked."
The tight labor market is forcing employers to "go the extra mile" to be a workplace of choice for employees and job seekers. Wages, which have been stagnant for months, could rise as employers compete for workers. Companies may also continue to stay ahead of the competition by tapping freelance or contract workers, or by enticing individuals who may have dropped out of the labor market years ago with perks like flexible work arrangements, career development opportunities and bonus incentives, Bottka added.
In other polls, most workers, including those who are happily employed, said they're either passively or actively looking for better job opportunities elsewhere, placing employers under even more pressure to recruit, retain and engage workers. However, employers that prepare ahead of time can be successful contenders in the competition for talent.