If you’ve been thinking of looking for a new job, Friday’s job report is great news and confirms you should boldly move forward with confidence.
An incredibly upbeat job report was released today by U.S. Department of Labor, defying the negative sentiment that has pervaded the stock market. A grand total of 312,000 jobs were added in December, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics . That number far exceeded the consensus expectation of economists that called for a modest increase of only about 176,000 new jobs. Unemployment rose ever so slightly from an all-time low of 3.7% to 3.9%. Wages, which have stayed stubbornly stagnant, increased by 3.2% from a year ago. The lack of wage increase has confounded economists and market watchers in that if unemployment is low, it would make sense for salaries to increase to entice people to join a company or keep an employee from leaving. This hasn’t happened, but is now evidenced in today’s report.
The jobs report shows that in the U.S., as a society, we are watching two separate movies. Picture sitting in a theater, the same film plays, but you see one movie and someone else next to you views a completely different plot. This is what is happening: one group sees political turmoil and rancor, a bleak economic future due to trade wars and tariffs, rising interest rates and other negative factors, which, in part, contributed to the stock market declines erasing the enthusiasm of the last year and a half to end 2018 as the worst year’s performance since the financial crisis. The other viewers see a completely different picture, which is represented by today’s job report and contend that the future looks bright and promising.
If you are in the job market or concerned about the safety of your current role, this news should be reassuring. Unemployment is at a 50-plus year low point, job openings are at record highs and workers are quitting their jobs at a fast pace indicating confidence in the job market.
Things are not entirely perfect, though, as there is a record high underemployment rate, with eight million people working part-time jobs since they are not able to find appropriate, suitable and permanent full-time work. The amount of people who are classified as long-term unemployed is at 1.3 million. Employment in the food and beverage industry increased by 41,000 and, during the last year, this industry has added 235,000 jobs. This could be a negative, reflecting that people are working, but are forced into part-time jobs beneath their education and experience levels. There are also 375,000 discouraged workers—people who are not currently looking for a job because they feel that no jobs are available to them.
The stock market rocketed higher today on the overall good news. The S&P 500 is up 3.26%, Dow 30 jumped 3.15% and Nasdaq exploded higher at 4.25%. We should check our exuberance as we’ve witnessed sharp upside swings in the market to immediately be followed by vicious meltdowns.
All things considered, the report is overwhelming positive for job seekers and workers. This would represent a great time to seek out a new job or look internally for a promotion, as the market is on your side. Since the future is uncertain, I would suggest that you move quickly before things change.