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Hiring Challenges Persist as Job Openings Outnumber Job Seekers

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report, U.S. employers added over 303,000 jobs in March as job creation continues to move forward. Employment rose by 303,000 in March as the U.S. unemployment rate fell to 3.8 percent. The number of unemployed was 6.4 million in March. The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more), at 1.2 million, barely changed in March. The long-term unemployed accounted for 19.5 percent of all unemployed people.

Job gains occurred in healthcare, government, and construction. The 303,000 increase in non-farm payrolls in March may mean the Fed will continue to take its time with rate cuts.

Several categories showed very little change in March: the number of people employed part-time for economic reasons (4.3 million), the number of people not in the labor force who currently want a job (5.4 million), the number of people marginally attached to the labor force (1.6 million), and the number of discouraged workers, a subset of the marginally attached who believed that no jobs were available for them (337k).

Where Job Growth Occurred

  • Healthcare added 72,000 jobs in March, above the average monthly gain of 60,000 over the prior 12 months.

  • Employment in government increased by 71,000, higher than the average monthly gain of 54,000 over the prior 12 months.

  • Construction added 39,000 jobs in March, about double the average monthly gain of 19,000 over the prior 12 months.

  • Employment in leisure and hospitality trended up in March (+49,000) and returned to its pre-pandemic level in February 2020.

  • Employment in the other services industry continued its upward trend in March (+16,000) but remains below its February 2020 level by 40,000

  • Employment in social assistance continued to trend up in March (+9,000), below the average monthly gain of 22,000 over the prior 12 months.

  • Retail trade showed little change (+18,000).

  • A job gain in general merchandise retailers (+20,000) was partially offset by job losses in building material and garden equipment/supplies dealers (-10,000) and in automotive parts, accessories, and tire retailers (-3,000).

  • Employment showed little or no change over the month in other major industries, including mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction; manufacturing; wholesale trade; transportation and warehousing; information; financial activities; and professional and business services.

In the last quarter of 2023, KRESS saw most employers only backfilling positions, but now we are starting to see some real job growth with new contract and permanent positions across many industries. The HR managers we’ve talked to are increasing their hiring due to company growth and new projects that may have been put on hold last year. While we are seeing increased hiring, finding the right talent remains challenging for most employers because job openings exceed the number of people looking for work. Simply finding a candidate that aligns with the position and company culture is half the battle, with the remaining challenges including meeting candidates’ salary expectations and competing with remote work opportunities.


Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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