According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, job gains slowed down a bit in December to 156,000, and the jobless rate is approaching 4.7% here in America. Many analysts and economists all over the world are now forecasting growth to decrease as the economy is beyond the natural rate of unemployment (which the federal reserve estimates to be 4.8% for America). This means barring a major industrial or economic breakthrough, growth is expected to begin leveling out – which is not necessarily bad news for your business (unless you are in the market to find additional employees) because maximum employment does means more people have steady income coming in to purchase your product or service. Additionally, wages are rebounding strongly indicating people will begin to have more disposable income, all else being equal.
It does arguably present a challenge for incoming President Donald Trump, as economists are predicting much lower gains than what he promised during his campaign. Additionally, according to traditional economic thought, as interest rates increase, investment into new business slows, so the Federal Reserve following through with its promise to gradually raise interest rates is not likely to provide the ideal environment for job growth to continue. However, if wages continue to rise, unemployment is at a healthy rate for an economy so the overall environment should remain favorable. According to Reuters, more employers, specifically in the construction sector, are reporting troubles in finding qualified applicants for available positions, indicating there may be mismatch in required skillsets for open jobs versus the skillsets of those seeking employment.
Sectors seeing job growth include over 17k manufacturing jobs (after four straight months of decline), 6.3k retail (after a 19.5k increase in November), 63.3k in healthcare and social assistance, 29.6k in restaurants and bars, and 12k in the public sector on government payroll. Construction jobs fell by 3k, likely in part because of the cold weather and difficulty finding qualified employees, after three months of consecutive growth. Department stores – facing significant competition from online rivals, such as Amazon – have suffered large a decline in temporary help; 15.5k, the largest drop in the sector since January.