October Jobs Report

Our team at Bull City Talent Group closely watches the monthly jobs reports to gather insights to help our clients and talent communities plan their hiring and career strategies.

October Jobs Report

While hurricanes Irma and Harvey are still muddying the waters a bit in relation to October's job report, most of the numbers are still leaving economists and analysts slightly optimistic. These two storms kept approximately 1.5 million employees off the books, most of whom returned to the job market during October's rebuilding efforts.

Even still, the bounce-back from the effects of September's hurricanes did not quite come in as expected. An additional 261,000 jobs were added, 64,000 less than the predicted 325,000. Nevertheless, if the last three months are averaged out, there are about 162,000 new jobs a month coming in, showing a fairly good job growth despite the challenges nature brought.

October's job growth showed the greatest increase in over a year. Most of these were derived from the private sector which showed an increase of 252,000. The industries that contributed the most to this number, other than leisure and hospitality, were professional and business services with 50,000 more jobs and manufacturing with 24,000. In the markets served by Bull City Talent Group, this is evident in growing job orders for software developers, project managers, and roles throughout clinical research phases.

Jobless Rate

The jobless rate fell to the lowest since 2000 with the unemployment rate falling to 4.1 percent. It's interesting to note that 5 percent is considered full employment by many economists, and yet the U.S. is also experiencing the lowest participation rate in 30 years.

The underemployment rate, known as U-6, shows the percentage of people working part-time jobs because of lack of full-time opportunities, and people who would like to work but are not actively engaged in the pursuit of a job. This number fell to 7.9 percent and is the lowest since December 2006. This metric continues to surprise us as we see more professionals opting for part-time roles – does that skew the data while the workforce transitions to new working habits and preferences?

Labor Pool

The workforce continues to shrink, going from 63.1 percent to 62.7 percent participation rate. In addition, the labor force fell by 765,000. There are several trends that have contributed to the decline which is at a 30-year low.

  • Women's participation rate has been on a decline.
  • Baby boomers are retiring in large numbers. Approximately 10,000 people are reaching the retirement age of 65 every day.
  • Young people are choosing to go to school instead of starting with companies from the "ground-up."
  • The lack of technically skilled workforce is apparent. According to a survey conducted by the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), 49 percent of those small businesses that are trying to hire report "few or no qualified applicants for the positions they were trying to fill."

Considerations when Hiring

A skills-training opportunity within a business's current labor pool not only creates committed and loyal employees, it fills in the gap created by a sluggish labor force. In addition to training and promoting from within the ranks, businesses can reach out to their community's high schools, organizations and local colleges in order to create training programs that will help young people fill the jobs that are in high-demand. Longer term efforts aim to solve this problem through investments in technology training as early as elementary school. This was the primary focus of a recent tech leadership panel in Raleigh, highlights of which can be found here.