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The Bayard Brief — January 2023

Labor Market InsightsLabor Market Insights

December Delivers Unexpected Gains with Cooler Wages & Inflation

December closed a turbulent 2022 on a high note with 223,000 new jobs, continued growth in several COVID-sensitive verticals, and a return to historically low unemployment.

Job Seeker Traffic

Overall, job traffic trends align with the typical decline in jobseeker activity around the holidays. Yet, a surprising uptick in the last week of the month alters that expected course. Generally, job seekers resume their search in January — but this head start in energized activity could be a potential early sign of shifting power between employers and job seekers.

Click Trends

In December, clickers were down more than 7% from last year (bearing in mind that 2021 was an outlier year, thanks to a more dramatic recovery for jobs and job seekers after the initial pandemic crash). Additionally, clicks are still up 3% compared to pre-pandemic levels (December 2019).

What To Expect

So, what does December’s performance mean for the state of hiring in 2023?

With 1.7 available workers per job opening, it’s clear that the labor market still favors job seekers, at least for now. Even as we move into a post-pandemic era, COVID has transformed workers’ expectations. Employers—particularly in high-turnover industries—must strike a balance between meeting business needs and responding to jobseeker wants.

To attract and retain talent, employers must offer competitive wages, hybrid or remote perks, and better benefits. The popularity of telework, for example, shows no signs of slowing. In late November, 50% of LinkedIn job applications were submitted for remote roles, although remote listings comprised just 15% of total job postings. Search volume for remote work was up more than 130% in 2022.

Meanwhile, the Bureau of Labor Statistics documented 20 major strikes in 2022, roughly 25% more than the annual average of 16 over the previous two decades. And employees at Starbucks, Amazon, Apple, and dozens of other corporations filed over 2,000 union petitions, the highest number since 2015. Ultimately, workers won 76% of those elections.

Needless to say, the cost of failing to meet workers’ expectations can be steep. And though early indicators suggest changes to the disequilibrium between employers and workers, employers can’t afford to ignore jobseekers’ expectations in the interim.

Download the full Labor Market Insights report for January here.