In September, a series of tropical storms in the southern U.S. and Caribbean drove job numbers down, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics reporting a loss of 33,000 jobs. However, BLS has since revised the numbers to a gain of 18,000 jobs for the month, thus restoring the job market's long-running growth streak.
October was a more typical month, which should hearten job seekers who were dismayed by the previous month's low numbers.
How the numbers stack up
For October, BLS reported that that total nonfarm payroll employment grew by 261,000 positions, a marked improvement over the previous month but still less than analysts had predicted. However, this change is still good news for job hunters. After the devastating hurricanes in September, the economy in those areas is clearly getting back to normal.
Another bright spot in the report is the unemployment rate, which dropped to 4.1 percent in October. According to the Wall Street Journal, this is the lowest unemployment has been since December 2000.
Ryan Sweet, director of real-time economics at Moody's Analytics, told The New York Times that he expects this trend to continue.
"The trend is rock-solid," said Sweet. "The labor market just continues to chug along, and it's showing very little evidence of slowing."
That's a net-positive for job seekers who are currently employed. Fewer skilled workers in the job pool means talented candidates have a better negotiating position when vying for better pay and benefits. Low unemployment could also be good for unemployed individuals, who will face less competition for open positions.
"Although every local market is in some ways independent to national trends, the numbers still show that job seekers clearly have the advantage," says Pete Van Scoy, Division Manager of Beacon Hill's Financial Division in Dallas. "Despite the drop in overall unemployment percentages some companies still assume that they can be overly meticulous in their sourcing and qualifying of potential employees. This is where a quality staffing company can make a significant difference, as they can provide a realistic look at the hiring climate and shorten timeframes for companies that may unnecessarily belabor a decision."
These industries saw the most growth in October:
- Food services and drinking places: 89,000 jobs added.
- Professional and business services: 50,000 jobs added.
- Manufacturing: 24,000 jobs added.
- Health care: 22,000 jobs added.
In September, food services took the biggest hit, losing a significant number of positions due to the hurricanes. This month's growth is likely a representation of displaced workers returning to their positions.
A look at where job growth could lead in 2018
Although an unexciting month, October proved that September's low numbers were likely solely the result of hurricane damage. Now, job seekers can look to the future and a potentially busy holiday hiring season. Retail numbers almost always go up in November and December, thanks to seasonal hiring, and other industries may experience a bump in hiring.
For example, in November 2016, the professional and business services sector saw the largest growth, adding 63,000 positions in the month. And in December 2016, the health care sector was the biggest winner, adding 43,000 positions.
Job seekers may decide to scale back their job search during the holidays, assuming employers will be too busy - or on vacation - to do much hiring. This assumption would be a mistake, however, as past data clearly shows. Hiring doesn't stop for the holidays.
If you're ready to jumpstart your job search during the holiday season, consider contacting the expert recruiters at Beacon Hill Staffing Group today. A professional recruiter can help you find positions that aren't listed online and assist you during the interview process. A resume will get you only so far - as far as a stack of resumes that someone may not read. A recruiter, on the other hand, can help you stand out from the crowd.
This content is brought to you by the Marketing Team at Beacon Hill Staffing Group.