The labor market continues to be unpredictable and driven by new challenges. As such, economists have signaled that the labor market is moving into another phase. Previously, there have been trends labeled as the Great Resignation and the Great Reshuffle. The Great Resignation referred to a mass movement of workers leaving the workforce. In contrast, the Great Reshuffle illustrated workers quitting one job they are unsatisfied with to take another—which has been a more accurate assessment. There has not been a mass exodus from work itself, as the term the Great Resignation suggested. While these terms still hold some truth to the current state of the market, some economists have even used a new term to describe the current worker sentiment: the Great Reconsideration. Instead, workers are seizing the unprecedented opportunity to reconsider and change their work experiences. They’ve had time to reflect on their jobs and consider opportunities with a fresh perspective.
This article examines the current labor market, highlights driving trends and offers tips for employers navigating the market.
The most recent U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) report revealed that the number of job openings rose to 11.2 million in July. This number was well above the estimate and still outnumbered unemployed workers by about 5.5 million. The July BLS numbers reinforced that there is still a considerable shortage of workers for available positions, with openings outnumbering available workers by a nearly 2-to-1 margin.
Employee quits, a top worker confidence metric, dropped from a record-high 4.53 million in March to 4.18 million at the end of July. The report also revealed that the employee quit rate declined onetenth of a percentage point to 2.7%. Nonetheless, this number is still relatively high by historical standards.
Additionally, the unemployment rate has not yet reached pre-pandemic levels. In July, the rate sat at 3.7%. In a regular labor market, this could be a troubling sign; however, it indicates that the job market could be on its way to normalizing. From a retention and attraction perspective, these numbers further illustrate that it’s a worker-friendly market.