October U.S. job market update: New jobs numbers outpace expectations

Horizontal Talent headquarters in Minneapolis, Minnesota
TrendsBusiness + strategyInformation technologyMarketing + creative
Article by Kevin Erickson
Oct 11, 2023
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As we approach the end of the year, companies are evaluating budgets and preparing for 2024. With the still uncertain U.S. labor market providing new data monthly, the numbers can be confusing to those preparing for the new year. To shed some light on the current market and the future of U.S. labor, our Regional VP Kevin Erickson has some updates and takeaways for you. 

Just when it felt like we would see sequential declines in the number of monthly open jobs and new jobs created, the August JOLTs and September Jobs Report brought us robust labor market data that underscores the resiliency of the U.S. economy and labor market. Experts were surprised to see the following data: 

  • August’s number of open jobs was 9.61 million, up from 8.92 million in July. This is a significant increase in what appeared to be a slowing economy and decrease in demand for talent.  
  • The August quits rate remained flat at 3.64 million voluntary resignations. Worker confidence has come down noticeably from the peak quit rates in 2022 and remained in line with July’s numbers.
  • The September jobs report showed 336k new jobs added. This beat estimates of 170,000. Leisure and hospitality, government and healthcare were the industries that led the uptick in hiring.

What does this mean?

One month doesn’t make a trend, and the only thing that remains the same is most, if not all, companies remain unclear on the long-term direction of the economy. As one company enacts cost containment measures, another rolls back those same restrictions and begins to hire, and the result is a foggy view on where we’re at and where we’re going as a larger economy. With all that said, demand for skilled IT, digital & creative and business strategy talent continues to be meaningful. Uncertainty persists, but it’s important to have a well-planned and concise hiring process to ensure you don’t lose talent to companies willing to move faster than you. For candidates, the labor market has cooled considerably from the boom hiring periods in 2021 and 2022 – the more flexible you can be in what you want or need in your next role, the more options you’ll have to consider.  

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