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The Bayard Brief — May 2023

Labor Market InsightsLabor Market Insights

April’s Labor Market Delivers Unexpected Growth, Cooling Undercurrent

On the heels of March’s slowdown in growth, April’s report beat expectations with the addition of 253,000 jobs and a return to historically low unemployment. April’s results belie appreciable cooling under the surface. But payrolls and wages both saw unexpected surges that, once again, demonstrate the divergence between the market’s strength and the lingering impact of macroeconomic headwinds.

Job Seeker Traffic

April’s job traffic trends remained steady, continuing a cooling pattern off of January’s strength but hinting at an increase in jobseeker interest into May and early summer.

Click Trends

In April, clicks were down roughly 9% from last year (keeping in mind our caveat that 2021 and early 2022 are outliers after a more dramatic recovery for jobs and job seekers in those years after the initial pandemic crash). However, average clicks were flat from March to April, indicating jobseeker activity and interest also held steady into the second quarter.

What To Expect

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

The first quarter of 2023 indicated a shift, albeit minor, in the balance of power from workers back to employers. But even with April’s surprising surge in growth, additional signs of shifting to this effect should be expected by the end of the second quarter. With quit rates trending down and wages moderating, job switchers may not have the leverage they enjoyed the past two years.

Download the full Labor Market Insights report for May here.