April Jobs Report: Here’s What to Watch For
“We’re right in the midst of this crazy time of hiring,” Mr. Shacka said.
A Tight Labor Market
Businesses are wrestling with what has become a job-seeker’s market, according to Amy Glaser, a senior vice president at staffing company Adecco.
“The candidates are 100 percent in the driver’s seat,” she said. “If employers don’t respond to job applicants in 48 hours, they’re gone. Somebody else has called with a better offer. Or if you schedule an interview too far out, they ghost you.”
As a result, employers have been dangling some notable perks, she added. Among them are upgraded cafeterias, day care, and subsidies for essentials like gas and parking. Call-center managers are letting more employees work from home.
Candidates who might have otherwise been stuck on the sidelines for lack of experience are getting a second look, said Martha Gimbel, research director at Indeed, the job-search site. Fast-growing search terms include “anything full time,” “office jobs no experience” and “hiring immediately no experience.”
The labor-force participation rate, which measures the proportion of people 16 and older is employed or looking for a job, bottomed out at 62.4 percent in September 2015 and now stands at 63 percent. A further improvement would suggest that a strong economy is pulling more Americans back into the work force.
The Chance of a Surprise
February’s very modest gain of 33,000 jobs was a reminder that month-to-month employment reports are more akin to looking at the economy through a single Instagram post than through a time-lapse view.
The manufacturing sector lost 6,000 jobs in March, and analysts will look at whether that weakness persists, especially as tariffs imposed by the Trump administration bite. The housing sector has been sending mixed signals and construction jobs are down for the year. Watch this space for clues on demand for new homes.