October 2023 | JOLTS, jobs, and java talk August and September labor numbers

Eightfold talent leaders talk about the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics latest jobs reports.

October 2023 | JOLTS, jobs, and java talk August and September labor numbers

Welcome to our monthly video series on the jobs reports featuring our Strategic Account Executive Colin Emerson (filling in for Chief Economist Sania Khan) and Senior Director, Product Marketing, Jason Cerrato. Every Friday morning after the reports are released, grab a cup of coffee and join them for the latest on the jobs numbers.

Stability, with some surprising gains in jobs. That’s the main takeaway from this week’s labor reports.

While private U.S. companies added only 89,000 jobs (ADP) in September, the lowest number since the beginning of 2021 and below expectations, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Employment Situation report showed that overall jobs rose by 336,000 jobs in September, with unemployment unchanged at 3.8%. 

The jobs number blew past forecasts — it was estimated that around 170,000 jobs would be added in September. The biggest gains occurred in leisure and hospitality; government; health care; professional, scientific, and technical services; and social assistance. 

Earlier this week, the BLS’ Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey report (JOLTS) reported little change in August. That report showed an increase in job openings to 9.6 million, with 5.9 million hires (rate unchanged at 3.7%) and 5.7 million total separations (rate unchanged at 3.6%) with quits and layoffs showing little change as well. 

Industries that gained the most job openings included professional and business services; finance and insurance; and state and local government education. Industries that had the highest number of quits included accommodation and food services; finance and insurance; and state and local government, excluding education. 

While job openings remain strong and hiring has been consistent, Cerrato and Emerson both noted that they’re seeing increased scrutiny over job descriptions and postings. Organizational leaders are reevaluating needs and finding more creative ways to add advanced skills to their workforces.

“We talk a lot about the four concepts of how people are addressing work these days with ‘recruit, retain, redeploy, and reengineer,’ ” Cerrato said. “I think we’re in the middle of people starting to get deeper in the water around that ‘reengineer’ part and truly starting to figure out what is the work that is in front of us to be done, what is the work to potentially automate, or get done through other means. And that’s where these openings that remain are getting very specific.” 

Today, talent acquisition professionals are seeing a greater number of candidates for open roles and have more options to find the best fits, especially for roles that demand more advanced skills, like working with generative AI.

While hiring is strong, workers are reluctant to switch jobs in large part due to a fear of a possible recession. “This is coming from both a candidate perspective and what I’m hearing from talent leaders in many industries, tech in particular,” Emerson said. “There were layoffs, and so people who have a job that they feel somewhat secure in are more reluctant to jump ship.” 

As a result, talent leaders are looking at the skills they already have with internal talent before jumping to a requisition. “They’re trying to maximize their existing talent and their existing employees to understand how they can be applied to whatever the next needs are,” Cerrato said. 

Related content: See the JOLTS and jobs reports from last month. 

Here are our expert’s key takeaways from the latest jobs reports:

  • Despite strong reports, there is more scrutiny over job listings: Organizations and talent acquisition leaders are re-examining business needs and what they are seeking from talent, resulting in fewer, more targeted postings — and more applicants per posting.
  • Employees are reluctant to switch jobs right now. Still recovering from layoff fallout and waiting to see what is happening with the economy, more people are staying put. [The Wall Street Journal]
  • Looking for skills internally is becoming more viable and important than ever. With skills demand outpacing supply, more organizations will look internally first to fill critical skills gaps before jumping to the requisition.
  • Even with these reports, talent professionals still need to monitor later updates because every jobs number has been revised each month over the past year.

Watch the entire conversation here:

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