With the spring semester quickly zooming by for many seniors as they anxiously await graduation, it seemed like an appropriate time to check in on the job market and see if there are any prominent trends. After high school, there are usually much clearer career paths and organizations to reach career goals: working, higher education, military, etc… For those finishing up their undergraduate degrees, that is not always the case. This flexibility and freedom makes the post-grad job or graduate school hunt stressful. As much as we’d like to think our dream jobs are out there, sometimes the economy cannot support them. While there are no guarantees that these conditions will last until the end of spring, circumstances look promising. After sampling a few articles about current labor market conditions, here are some general takeaways that I found:
Job Market Conditions:
-”Since the unemployment rate is only at about 3.6%, it’s an historically great time for job seekers”(Source 1).
-”This is by many measures the best environment for workers in years”(Source 2).
-“Not only is there demand for labor, there’s supply to fill that demand, and that’s a very positive narrative.”- Chief United States economist for Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Michelle Meyer(Source 2).
-”Historically disadvantaged groups are benefiting the most from today’s tight labor market. In 2019, the unemployment rates for African Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Asian Americans all hit record lows. Those without a highschool degree and people with disabilities also set record-low unemployment rates last year”(Source 4).
-“The challenge in 2020 is that after 10 years of uninterrupted growth, history dictates that there is always a regression to the mean. Growth doesn’t—and can’t always—go up forever without corrections (when the stock market drops 5% to 10%) along the way. There are usually corrections that bring back the economy and job market to lower levels. Usually the causes are not known at the time and come from left field. It seems reasonable that we are long overdue for one”(Source 1).
-”The so-called professionals promise that AI and related technology would only replace repetitive tasks for workers on the lower end of the job market and free people up for more meaningful work. What we are actually seeing is that AI is being aggressively deployed by investment banks, law and accounting firms, hospitals and major corporations to displace white-collar professionals. This is just the beginning stages of this dire trend. If your job can be replaced by AI, it will. You will then be forced into scrambling for a new career”(Source 1).
-AI technology has started to replace positions like fast-food cashiers, retail sales associates, factory workers and will continue to grow(Source 1).
-Longer life spans because medical advances can cause stress in other systems(primarily social security), however, it also increases the need for employees in the hospice, assisted living, and physical therapy industries(Source 1).
-More job creation in various sectors and industries due to the election year and warmer climate- primarily for political, construction, travel, and hospitality companies(Source 2).
-More employers are offering flexible working conditions(primarily working from home and self-set hours) so individuals with various constraints(such as stay-at-home parents or people with extreme commutes) can now enter the labor market(Source 2).
-Companies have cut production costs by using project based systems instead of permanent positions. Businesses will hire contractors to only work on specific projects when they are immediately needed. This will also prevent workers from receiving the benefits of full-time employment(primarily health care and office communities)(Source 1).
-Wage rates are increasing, however they are not increasing as quickly as they have been in the recent past(Source 2).
-“The sectors that saw the largest gains last month were education and health services (+72,000), construction (+44,000), and leisure and hospitality (+36,000)”(Source 4).
-Kathy Morris, a marketing manager at Zippia, predicts the following 5 jobs to have the most projected growth(Source 3):
Solar photovoltaic installers
Wind Turbine Service Technicians
Home Health Aides
Personal Care Aides
Occupational Therapy Assistants