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Filling Jobs Is Going to Get Even Harder This Year

January 31st, 2020

With fears of a recession ebbing, job growth this year is expected to be a repeat of last year.

The non-profit business research group The Conference Board says that though cautious, employers will continue adding jobs in 2020. "We expect job growth to remain solid and the labor market to continue tightening,” said Gad Levanon, head of The Conference Board Labor Markets Institute.

JOLTS quits and hires 2010-2019.jpg

The Conference Board's Employment Trends Index, flat since mid-2018, tells us the pace of hiring hasn't changed over the last 18 months. However, the nation's readily available labor pool, reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in its U-6 rate is at a historic low 6.7%. U6 includes the officially unemployed, those working part-time who want full-time work and those who are out of work, but not included in the official unemployed count.

What this means for employers, even those who are dialing back job growth, is that filling openings is not going to be any easier in 2020 than it was last year. If anything, it's likely to be even more difficult.

We've pulled the hiring and voluntary quit rates from the Bureau of Labor Statistics to illustrate the hiring difficulty. At a glance, the chart tells the story of what's been happening. As hiring increased after the recession ended, the rate at which workers quit increased. At the pace workers voluntary quit during the first 11 months of 2019, the rate for the whole year will be about 31%. On average, almost a third of the nation's workforce quit, most to take another job.

That gap you see between the quits rate and the hires rate explains why employers are having such difficulty filling vacancies. Up to now, the slack has been filled by hiring new workers, the unemployed and those who had been on the employment sidelines, not looking for a job, maybe not even wanting one, but now deciding to accept one.

But that has still not been enough to fill all the jobs, which is why the number of openings is at near historic highs and the time to fill is creeping up.

Consider yourself lucky if your turnover is low and filling openings hasn't been especially difficult. Every industry is different. The numbers here are national averages.

The bottom line, however, is that retaining workers and filling jobs is not going to get any easier this year, and is likely to get even more difficult. Now would be a good time to give us a call here at Green Key Resources to discuss your hiring needs. You may not have an opening today, but it pays to be prepared. Because our recruiters are specialists, we know where the best people are. So when you are ready to hire, we can move fast.

Give us a call at 212.683.1988 and be prepared.

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