How Strong is the U.S. Job Market?

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U.S. Job Market: Current State

With growth forecast at modest levels, the U.S. isn't expected to match post-WWII historical averages anytime soon. Credit: Bureau of Economic Analysis

With growth forecast at modest levels, the U.S. isn’t expected to match post-WWII historical averages anytime soon. Credit: Bureau of Economic Analysis

Although all of the above definitions are in play at one point or another of every economic cycle, the slowly-improving U.S. economy can be credited for the 4.5 year high in voluntary terminations.

Given that cyclical unemployment is slowly improving, the labor market has a higher degree of confidence that workers can obtain new jobs more quickly and easily than during the Great Recession and its immediate aftermath. In other words, people are increasingly willing to quit, since they feel more confident that they’ll be able to find a new job soon.

Having said that, the market is far from back to where it was during its peak, as evidenced by today’s still-elevated unemployment rate. In addition, although net jobs have increased by approximately 180,000 per month, a large portion of that figure is represented by fewer layoffs than actual job creation. Lastly, employers appear to be very selective when filling positions, as available jobs have increased by 58% since 2009, yet new hiring has risen by just 22%.

Improving U.S. Job Market

It would appear that the U.S. job market is indeed improving, perhaps even poised to take off if only the economic engines behind sustainable growth would allow it to do so. Alas, with long-term GDP growth estimated at between 2-3% over the next dozen years, it would seem unlikely that full employment can be achieved in the foreseeable future. Ronald Reagan might suggest we tackle this problem where he believed all great change initiatives began: At the dinner table.

Resources

Trading Economics. United States Unemployment Rate(2013). Accessed on June 16, 2013.

Benen, Steve. U.S. job creation improves, unemployment drops. (2013). MSNBC. Accessed on June 16, 2013.

Rugaber, Christopher. More Americans quit jobs, a sign of confidence. (2013). The Telegraph. Accessed on June 16, 2013.

Investopedia. Frictional unemploymentStructural unemploymentCyclical unemployment. (2013). Accessed on June 16, 2013.

Business Dictionary. Seasonal unemployment(2013). Accessed on June 16, 2013.

Finance-Lib. Institutionally Induced Unemployment(2013). Accessed on June 16, 2013.

The Confidence Board. Global Economic Outlook 2013, May 2013 update(2013). Accessed on June 16, 2013.

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