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Jobs Snapshot: Low Unemployment, Ghosting, & Robots

Are you confident in the current labor market?

by Countable | 12.17.18

  • Employers added 155,000 jobs to the U.S. economy in November, according to the most recent jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  • The figures showed that the U.S. economy continues to expand, although they lagged economists’ projections that 198,000 new positions would be created. Wages also grew more slowly than expected.
  • Nevertheless, the Federal Reserve has identified a growing trend of workers "ghosting" their employers, in a novel if ill-mannered sign of a strong jobs market.

The details

Our partners at USAFacts, a non-partisan, not-for-profit civic initiative aimed at making government data accessible and understandable, have crunched the jobs numbers to provide a really interesting snapshot of U.S. employment today and how it has evolved since 1966.

  • At 3.7 percent, the unemployment rate is near historical lows.

Source: USAFacts

  • The proportion of people working part-time despite seeking full-time employment is also relatively low at 3 percent.
  • The strongest employment increase since last year has been in the mining and logging sector at 7.6 percent, followed by construction at 4 percent, according to USAFacts.
  • The strongest wage growth since last year has been in IT at 5.57 percent, followed by construction at 3.7 percent.
  • The year-on-year wage growth was the strongest it’s been in a decade, but when inflation is taken into account, it weakens considerably to just 0.6 percent.

Related trends

Meanwhile, reports of workers “ghosting” their employers — leaving without a word — are so high that the Federal Reserve took note of the phenomenon in its Beige Book. Analysts ascribe this in part to the increasingly tight labor market.

Companies like Amazon and Walmart are adding more robots to their operations. They say their automation efforts will create new jobs, but critics expect the opposite effect.

As the labor market tightens, more women are taking jobs in traditionally male-dominated fields. In the past two years, women’s employment grew by more than 10 percent in construction, mining, and transportation and utilities.

What do you think?

Are you confident in the current labor market? Why or why not? Tell your reps what you think, then share your thoughts below.

—Sara E. Murphy

(Photo Credit: iStock.com / Tempura

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