June 5, 2020

My Take - May's Job Numbers

Spark of better things to come? We’ll see…

Unemployment numbers for May were released this morning, and the reaction from the analyst community can be summed-up in one word: surprise. 2.5 million jobs were added in May and the unemployment rate fell to 13.3 percent.  Wall Street is responding positively, with the S&P 500 up over 2.5% at close.

The New York Times has a series of interesting articles on the topic – the one I found most useful: What to Make of the Rebound in the U.S. Jobs Report.”

While this new overall number is no-where near “normal,” the economy did see a modest increase in roles across Leisure + Hospitality and Construction – most likely from federal economic stimulus and sections of the country starting the process of “re-opening.”

However, the numbers for “Business + Professional Services” only saw a modest increase in May – a 0.7% increase over the previous month. I think this number is telling.

In my experience, companies (especially large corporations) are slower to react during times of potential economic recovery.  This certainly was the case in May – “business” organizations were slower to add new roles to the payroll as compared to other sectors hit hard over the past several months.

My prediction for the (near) future: June will be another month of slow hiring and uncertainty for companies, especially tech.  External hiring and internal transfer opportunities will mirror what we experienced in May (and the first week of June).  However, I do have optimism that this will start to change and I’m predicting an up-tick in roles/transfer opportunities in July.

Here’s a couple reasons for my thinking:

  • Assuming continued positivity in other sectors, organizations will start to FEEL less uncertainty w/ more data points (and therefore open roles)
  • July is the start to a new quarter for many organizations.I’m hearing that companies are taking things “quarter-by-quarter” and the start of a new three-months could ease hiring restrictions
  • July is also the start of a new fiscal year for a major tech corporation here in Seattle, and I’ve found that the beginning of a new fiscal year is often the time for new hiring to begin (and people to start looking for new opportunities)
  • All this uncertainty (and unrest) forces professionals to re-evaluate what they want in a job (and life) and I think action around this topic will start to happen very soon.

I’m keeping my fingers crossed and I’ll continue to monitor and report-back to you.

If you’re seeing anything interesting in the market and/or want to comment, feel free to send me a message.

Take care of yourself and here’s to your Engaged Pursuit!

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In our weekly podcast, Engaged Pursuit Founder Tom Perry highlights the most pressing issues for employees and managers across the tech sector. With his real-world, relatable style, Tom delivers quick, insightful, employee-centered career content to help tech pros, executives and teams address the issues common to a career in tech -- from job changes and workplace challenges, to bad bosses and feeling “stuck.” Available on Apple and Spotify, or wherever you get your podcast.

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