- Job growth is down to 134,000 from 201,000 in August and the unemployment rate dipped to 3.7% in September, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported — its lowest since 1969, by some estimates. Industries with the largest job gains were in professional and business services (54,000), healthcare (26,000), and transportation and warehousing (24,000).
- The labor force participation rate for September remained steady at 62.7%, and average hourly earnings rose by 8 cents, to $27.24. BLS noted that Hurricane Florence affected job numbers in some areas on the East Coast last month, the extent of which will be revealed Oct. 19.
- Richard Wahlquist, president and CEO of the American Staffing Association (ASA) summed up the significance of September's job numbers in an emailed statement: "Despite the apparent effect of Hurricane Florence on the overall jobs numbers, the September gains extended an eight-year streak of consecutive job growth, by far the longest ever recorded. As the labor market continues to tighten, businesses need to focus on new ways of attracting and upskilling candidates to help fill their talent pipelines."
With steady job growth comes fierce competition for talent. Employers are working to ramp up their recruiting efforts, with an emphasis on enhancing the candidate experience, offering in-demand benefits, providing career development opportunities, building and maintaining a positive brand, and, yes, potentially raising wages to more competitive levels.
The question of wages in this market, however, shines a light on the changing nature of talent. Economists typically expect wages to rise in accordance with a tightening job market, but wage growth has been unusually slow. Some of that slow growth could be attributed to the growth of the contingent and globalized workforces, experts told HR Dive, which have changed how employers hire and fill talent gaps. Pay scales differ widely for those talent pools and tend to trend lower than the employee market, experts said.
In a response to the BLS September jobs report, Rebecca Henderson, CEO at Randstad Sourceright, issued this statement with advice to employers: "To remain competitive, business leaders first need to have a complete picture of who they employ and how best to utilize the talent they have. Measuring employee satisfaction can help organizations anticipate where turnover may occur and improve retention." And even with contingent workers, a little communication can go a long way.