November’s snapshot of the American economy revealed 228,000 jobs were added, with the unemployment rate unchanged at 4.1%. According to The New York Times, the United States has added jobs for 86 consecutive months.
The November report also revealed insights into the holiday hiring season. CNBC reported that preliminary data shows online shoppers spent 18% more this year on Black Friday than in 2016, which businesses were prepared to support with job gains in industries like manufacturing (31,000,) warehousing and storage (8,100,) and most notably, retail trade (18,700,) which has seen near-steady job loss each month up until November of this year.
If businesses were not able to support consumer demand this year due to a shortage of talent, economists say it can be blamed on the hot topic of 2017 – low wage growth. Wages rose by 5 cents in November, after falling by a single cent in October, bringing the annual wage growth to 2.5%. While still below average for the health of our economy – and barely enough to keep up with inflation – the 5 cent gain signals businesses are accepting that they have to raise pay rates in order to attract the talent they need.
Here are 4 Other Things you need to know about November’s job report:
- Talent Scarcity – Employment growth has averaged 174,000 per month in 2017, compared with an average of 187,000 in 2016. According to ABC, this is typical when unemployment falls to this low of a level, making available talent scarce.
- Tax Cut Plan – Economists are unclear how the current $1.5 trillion tax cut plan, which President Trump could sign this month, could affect the economy, according to The New York Times. While some expect the tax breaks to provide a lift to the economy, others fear the lift will crash just as fast: if the economy overheats, inflation could be pushed up.
- Professional and Business Services Boom – The industry include jobs such as legal services, bookkeeping, accounting, and management – added 46,000 jobs in November, and nearly 550,000 total this year.
- Healthcare In Demand – The industry added 30,000 jobs in November, with ambulatory health care making up more than 80% of that number. These numbers include the offices of physicians and outpatient care centers.
- Stabilizing Food Services – Food services and drinking places, which saw massive job increases in October due to businesses re-opening following Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma, rose by a modest 19,000 in November. Leisure and hospitality, which also rose significantly in October following the hurricanes, saw slightly fewer job gains at just 14,000.
Consumer holiday spending, as predicted, was high this year – and some companies can’t meet their demand due to not being able to find enough workers. The Wall Street Journal reported UPS, for example, is overwhelmed by online orders, asking push drivers to work extra hours, and warning customers about potential delays in delivery.
This same issue could carry into 2018, as the health of the economy will continue driving consumer spending and demand. And with certain generations in the workforce aging-out, talent could become increasingly harder to find.