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Job Market Forecast for Q1 of 2024: Experts Weigh In

During a recent webinar, a distinguished panel of experts took a close look at the current job market and employment landscape. The panel consisted of Evan Sohn, the CEO of Aura; Jesse Tinsley, the founder and CEO of JobMobz; Miles Jennings, the founder and CEO of; Julia Pollak, the Chief Economist at ZipRecruiter; and Matthew Chan, Product Economist at Aura.

Too long; didn’t watch? No problem - here are some highlights to chew on:

  • The Recruiter Index showed decreased demand, but don't let that get you down. As Jesse Tinsley said, "The demand for going to be much, much higher than the rate at which new graduates and qualified workers enter the workforce in tech."
  • Speaking of tech, there has been an 8% increase in recruiter activity in the tech field.
  • Healthcare held its own, staying steady throughout the year, while retail has experienced a slight decrease in recruiter activity.
  • AI-related jobs are making waves, especially in the financial services sector. As Miles Jennings put it, "You're going to see a lot of shifts in the types of roles they're looking at..."
  • The JOLTS report showed consistent hiring and quit rates throughout the year. But total job openings did see a small dip.
  • For Q1 of 2024, the labor market is expected to stay strong, with a focus on tech hiring and upskilling.
  • Big companies are catching on fast. They're investing in upskilling their workforce to keep up with tech advancements.
  • Remote work opportunities are holding steady despite a little pullback. Companies are still considering the best approach to remote, hybrid, and in-person work arrangements.
  • Did you hear about the Amazon tech people who left the company? They didn't go to traditional retailers but rather to other e-commerce companies. Check out Matthew Chan’s analysis of this fascinating trend here.

Delving into Job Trends: The Recruiter Index and Aura's Report

The conversation kicked off with an examination of the Recruiter Index, a tool that tracks hiring demand month over month. Interestingly, recruiters are exercising caution due to decreased demand. However, job seekers view the market optimistically, identifying increased opportunities, particularly in the tech sector. In contrast to other sectors, healthcare has remained stable, while retail has seen a slight dip in job openings.

Aura's Industry Hiring Trends Report for November 2023 provided additional insights. The report unveiled a decline of 8% in new job postings in North America and a 5% decrease in EMEA compared to the previous month.

Global Job Trends

However, not all news was gloomy. Even more impressive was the growth in AI-related jobs, especially within the financial services sector.

Job Postings Last Month

Assessing the Labor Market: The JOLTS Report

The JOLTS (Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey) report was another data source discussed during the webinar. Throughout 2023, the US has experienced a consistent decrease in job openings, raising concerns about a cooling labor market. But, the relatively stable numbers of hirings and exits indicate that the situation is not as dire as anticipated, particularly since they remain higher than the pre-pandemic levels of 2019. Some industries have been hit harder than others, witnessing a significant drop in job openings.

Understanding the Impact of AI: A Double-Edged Sword

The conversation took an intriguing turn when discussing the impact of AI on jobs. On the one hand, AI-related roles, such as AI content writers and data scientists, are on the rise. On the other hand, AI has led to the automation of certain jobs, such as cashier positions, resulting in a reduction in employment opportunities in these areas.

Looking Ahead: Predictions for Q1 2024

As the discussion drew to a close, the panelists offered their predictions for the first quarter of 2024. Most anticipate a strong labor market, particularly in the tech sector. Tech hiring is expected to continue its upward trajectory, and there's likely to be a shift in job roles as companies focus on upskilling their current workforce. With interest rates expected to ease and market conditions predicted to improve, there may be increased demand for workers in industries that have been slow to hire.

What Panelists Are Anticipating

Jesse Tinsley, for instance, is quite optimistic about the future. He's expecting a strong labor market in 2024 and beyond, especially due to the rapid evolution of tech and AI.

Miles Jennings also had some intriguing thoughts about how employers might adapt. He believes there will be a significant shift in the workplace, with large employers focusing more on upskilling their current workforce.

Julia Pollak, on the other hand, anticipates a slowdown in job growth in the first quarter. But she also sees potential for a surge in demand for workers across various industries once market rates ease up. She said, "Once the Fed does start cutting, I think you're going to see a surge of demand for workers across multiple industries that have been just very slow at treading water."

Matthew Chan agreed with Julia's sentiments, adding that any change in interest rates would likely quickly impact the job market due to pent-up demand for talent.

Finally, Evan Sohn shared his thoughts on how workers' attitudes are changing. He predicts that as demand for workers increases and interest rates go down, we'll see more workers quitting their jobs, leading to a "frothier recruiting market." According to Evan, "Candidates have now learned that they could leave jobs and find a new job whenever they want."

As these panelists discussed, the labor market is expected to remain robust, particularly within the tech industry, for Q1 of 2024. Companies are investing significantly in labor-saving technology, including AI, indicating a shift towards upskilling and restructuring the workforce. However, contraction may continue in the retail, trade, transportation, utilities, information, and manufacturing sectors. While these informed insights allow us to make strong predictions about what comes next, that’s what they are - informed, data-driven predictions. Stay tuned with Aura to see how these predictions play out and what’s next for the labor market in the new year.

Want to know more? Dive into the details yourself. Aura has crafted a November report that closely analyzes these trends and explores their implications. Find out more here.

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