Businesses remain optimistic as strong labor market persists


Christy Skojec Taylor


Business Columnist

Monday, April 1, 2019

A strong labor market persists and recession fears remain low for 2019. Businesses must be willing to compete to recruit top talent.

To provide accurate and timely employment forecasts for business leaders, Express Employment Professionals International  conducts an ongoing job insights survey to track quarterly hiring trends across a wide range of industries.

Express Employment Professionals surveyed business owners, decision makers and human resource professionals about the overall hiring trends in their markets and how they impact their hiring decisions.

Optimism for a strong 2019 continues into the second quarter as recession concerns remain low for the year.

Forty-one percent of survey respondents said their employment markets are “trending up” in the second quarter of 2019, and only 11 percent forecast a downward trend in employment activity. Additionally, 95 percent of respondents reported that they do not currently live in an area in recession and do not expect the country to enter into a recession within the next year.

However, it is notable that nearly half — 48 percent — said they foresee a recession within the next two years.

The top segments hiring in the second quarter of 2019 include:

■ General Labor (industrial): 39 percent.

■ Skilled Labor (industrial): 33 percent.

■ Administrative/Office Clerical: 18 percent.

■ Accounting/Finance: 8 percent.

■ Engineering: 8 percent.

Segments creating the most new positions in the second quarter include:

■ Marketing: 52 percent.

■ Information Technology: 71 percent.

■ Engineering: 56 percent.

■ Accounting and Finance: 50 percent.

■ Skilled Labor: 45 percent.

■ Administrative/Office Clerical: 36 percent.

The labor shortage shows no signs of stopping. Businesses must be willing to compete on wages.

In what’s beginning to sound like a broken record, recruiting skilled talent continues to beleaguer businesses as 77% of survey respondents say it’s either “Somewhat Difficult” or “Very Difficult” to recruit for and fill open positions. Compensation factors represent some of the top reasons businesses say applicants turn down job offers, including lack of advancement opportunity, lack of benefits, and low pay. According to the survey, 35% of respondents expect wages to increase over the next three months.

Pay range for non-management, skilled positions:

■ Less than $50,000: 65 percent.

■ $51,000 – 75,000: 31 percent.

■ $76,000 – 100,000: 3 percent.

■ $101,000-plus: Less than 1 percent.

Pay range for non-management, unskilled positions:

■ Federal minimum wage, $7.25 per hour: 2 percent.

■ $7.26-$10 per hour: 10 percent.

■ $11-$15 per hour: 66 percent.

■ $16-$20 per hour: 14 percent.

■ $20-plus per hour: 3 percent.

Christy Skojec Taylor is co-owner of Express Employment Professionals in Rocky Mount.