BLS Analysis for Recruiters March 2021 – 9 articles

Bob Marshall’s March 2021 BLS Analysis for Recruiters; 4/2/21

The 9 March Articles…

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CIO Survey: 55% Plan to Increase Number of Full-Time IT Employees

Daily News, March 31, 2021

More than half of CIOs, 55%, plan to increase their total number of full-time employees in IT this year, according to a survey from Gartner Inc.

“The critical role IT played across most firms’ response to the pandemic appears to have had a positive impact on IT staffing plans,” said Matthew Charlet, research VP at Gartner.  “The initial pessimism around the 2021 talent situation that many CIOs expressed mid-2020 has since dwindled.”

Security operations ranked as a top area for adding full-time staff with 74% of CIOs surveyed planning to increase their staff by at least 2%.

Next highest were analytics platforms such as PowerBI and Tableau, where 73% plan to add staff.  Business workflow automation followed with 71% adding staff.

“While CIOs plan to hire more staff in several areas critical to meeting changed consumer and employee expectations, most will not be able to meet their planned talent strategy goals without also upskilling or refocusing their existing teams,” Charlet said.

Gartner’s survey took place between November and December 2020 and included 184 CIOs in North America, EMEA and APAC.

Government revises 4th quarter GDP up slightly to 4.3%

Martin Crutsinger, AP Economics Writer, March 25, 2021

The U.S. economy grew at an annual rate of 4.3% in the final three months of 2020, slightly faster than previously estimated, as recovery expectations for 2021 rise along with vaccinations as the U.S. unleashes nearly $2 trillion in government support

WASHINGTON — The U.S. economy grew at an annual rate of 4.3% in the final 3 months of 2020, slightly faster than previously estimated, as recovery expectations for 2021 rise along with vaccinations as the U.S. unleashes nearly $2 trillion in government support.

GDP in the October-December quarter rose from an estimate last month of an 4.1% rate.  The upward revision reflected stronger inventory restocking by businesses.

For the whole year, the GDP shrank by 3.5%, the largest annual decline since a plunge of 11.6% in 1946 when the U.S. demobilized after World War II.  The 3.5% drop was unchanged from the previous report.

Economists are looking for a huge rebound this year, helped by government support packages including a $1.9 trillion package signed by President Joe Biden on March 11 that is delivering $1,400 payments to individuals, extending emergency unemployment until early September and providing billions of dollars in relief to state and local governments.

Economists believe all the government relief measures will boost GDP in the current January-March quarter to 5% or higher.  They are forecasting growth for the entire year of around 6%, which would the strongest performance since 1984 when the economy was coming out of a deep recession during the Reagan administration.

“The economy is poised for robust growth,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics.  He pointed to what he called a “potpourri of help including substantial stimulus checks, more unemployment insurance, rental, childcare and food assistance and aid to small businesses, airlines, schools and state and local governments.”

US Leading Economic Index Rises in February, Signaling Recovery Should Pick Up Steam

Daily News, March 18, 2021

Economic recovery in the US should pick up steam, according to The Conference Board Leading Economic Index for the US.  The measure rose 0.2% in February to a level of 110.5.

“The US [Leading Economic Index] continued rising in February, suggesting economic growth should continue well into this year,” said Ataman Ozyildirim, senior director of economic research at The Conference Board.  “Indeed, the acceleration of the vaccination campaign and a new round of large fiscal supports are not yet fully reflected in the [Leading Economic Index].  With those developments, The Conference Board now expects the pace of growth to improve even further this year, with the US economy expanding by 5.5% in 2021.”

Ozyildirim noted some leading indicators showed signs of weakness amid impacts from bad weather and supply chain disruptions in February, but the effects may prove transitory.

In January, the index had risen by 0.5%; December’s increase was 0.4%.

UCLA Forecast Projects 6.1% Growth in 2021 After Worst Annual GDP Decline in 60 Years

Daily News, March 12, 2021

US real gross domestic product fell by 3.5% in 2020 amid the Covid-19 pandemic, the worst annual decline in 60 years, according to the quarterly University of California Los Angeles Anderson Forecast.  However, the forecast estimates 6.3% growth in real GDP in 2021.

In addition, it estimates GDP growth of 4.6% in 2022 and 2.7% in 2023.

“For the economy, a waning pandemic combined with fiscal relief means a strong year of growth in 2021 — one of the strongest years of growth in the last 60 years — followed by sustained higher growth rates in 2022 and 2023,” UCLA Anderson Senior Economist Leo Feler wrote in an essay.

The Anderson Forecast also projects the US unemployment rate will average 5.2% in the fourth quarter of this year.  Projected rates in future years are 4.1% in the fourth quarter of 2022 and 3.7% in the fourth quarter of 2023.

“Recovering labor force participation will slow the decline in the unemployment rate as workers who exited the labor force, including those who left for childcare and home-schooling responsibilities, reenter and begin looking for work,” according to the forecast.

The forecast noted the economic damage in 2020 could have been much worse without government action such as the Paycheck Protection Program, extended unemployment insurance and stimulus checks.

IT Jobs continue Rebound in February, Still Not Back to Pre-COVID levels

Daily News, March 12, 2021

IT employment continued its rebound in February, but remains down from pre-Covid levels, the TechServe Alliance reported Thursday.

“With 7 consecutive months of strong growth, IT employment is less than 1% below pre-Covid levels,” TechServe Alliance CEO Mark Roberts said.  “While the economic fallout from Covid-19 temporarily reduced demand in some skill sets, strong job growth over the last few months highlights our chronic long-term problem — a talent shortage in IT.”

IT jobs in the US rose by 0.43% in February to a total of nearly 5,300,000.  Still, they were down 0.9% since February 2020 — a decrease of 48,100 IT jobs.

The TechServe Alliance is a national trade association of the IT and engineering staffing and solutions industry.

It also reported that engineering employment rose by 0.12% to nearly 2,600,000 jobs in February.  It, too, was down year over year — engineering employment was down 3.01%, representing a loss of 80,200 jobs.

US Employers Optimistic, 52% Expect Pre-Pandemic Hiring Before End of Year: ManpowerGroup

Daily News, March 9, 2021

More than half of US employers, 52%, expect hiring will return to pre-pandemic levels before the end of 2021, according to the ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey released today by ManpowerGroup.

ManpowerGroup’s report, which looks ahead to the second quarter, also showed improved sentiment compared to the depths of the Covid crisis.

“The American workforce and labor market is resilient, and we have a silver lining in sight with the vaccine rollout boosting optimism for the months ahead,” said Becky Frankiewicz, president of ManpowerGroup North America.

ManpowerGroup’s survey asked more than 7,500 employers in the US “how do you anticipate total employment at your location to change in the three months to the end of June 2021 compared to the current quarter?”

23% said they plan to increase hiring, 4% plan to decrease, 70% reported no change and 3% didn’t know, which resulted in a net employment outlook of 19%.  It becomes a net employment outlook of 18% when adjusted for seasonality.  

That compares to 19% for the report looking to the second quarter of 2020, which was produced just before the crisis; amid the pandemic, the employment outlook had plummeted to a seasonally adjusted basis to 3% in the report for the third quarter of 2020.  It has improved since then.

By industry, the highest seasonally adjusted net employment outlooks were in leisure and hospitality at 27%; transportation and utilities at 23%; wholesale and retail trade at 22%; and manufacturing – nondurable goods at 20%.

“It’s encouraging to see positive outlooks reported in leisure and hospitality and retail, particularly as this week we mark International Women’s Day and roles in these industries are predominantly held by women,” Frankiewicz said.

Other findings in the report included:

  • The metro area with the highest seasonally adjusted net employment outlook was Madison, Wisconsin, at 38%
  • 48% of employers have no plans to mandate vaccinations, 17% will encourage by promoting the benefits, 4% plan to require employees to be vaccinated and 31% are undecided.

ManpowerGroup’s survey did not just include the US, it took place in 43 countries.

Canada had a seasonally adjusted net employment outlook of 8% while the reading for Mexico is 7%.

Employment Trends Index Pointing to Strong Jobs Growth

Daily News, March 8, 2021

The Conference Board Employment Trend Index now signals strong jobs growth ahead.  The index reading for February, released today, stands at 101.01, up from an upwardly revised reading of 99.69 in January.

Some 5,000,000 to 6,000,000 jobs could be added through the end of the year, and the unemployment rate will drop well below 5%, said Gad Levanon, head of The Conference Board Labor Markets Institute.

“The combination of declining new infections, lower pandemic-related restrictions, households flush with savings, and large government stimulus will all contribute to robust growth in economic activity and employment in 2021,” Levanon said.

Still, concerns remain.  Levanon cautioned that when the pandemic hit, a tight labor market appeared years away.  However, the current forecast is that it may reemerge as soon as 2022.

80% Satisfied with Remote Work Despite Higher Workloads, Lack of Social Interaction

Daily News, March 8, 2021

As Covid-19 nears the one-year mark, Infosys Ltd. reported a majority of US workers, 80%, said they are very or somewhat satisfied with remote work despite higher workloads and a lack of social interaction with colleagues.  The information comes from a survey of employees and managers at US-based companies by Infosys and the Milken Institute.

Women were slightly more satisfied with remote work than men; 93% of women said they were satisfied compared to 88% of men.

However, 82% of manager said their employees are working more than they were before the pandemic, with more than half saying that they work “a lot” more.

Income inequality also appears as an issue with remote work.  The survey found that 69% of those with an income below $50,000 per year said they saw increased remote work opportunities since Covid-19, compared to 86% of those making more than $75,000 per year.

With the ability to hire workers beyond where companies physically operate, some firms have used the opportunity to double down on diversity and inclusion.

The survey also found an increased focus on skills training with more than half of respondents citing training some form as a benefit of remote work.

54% Say Working from Home Boosts Mental Health, Few Favor Full-Time Return to Office: CHG

Daily News, February 24, 2021

Working from home during the pandemic has brought change — more than half say it improved their mental health — but returning to the office is raising questions as well.  Healthcare staffing firm CHG Healthcare surveyed more than 850 US workers to get their thoughts.  In addition to the mental health question, it found many are interested in hybrid office/work-from-home arrangements going forward and relatively few are interested in going back to the office on a full-time basis.

“CHG Healthcare is one of many US companies that chose to move all employees out of our offices and into their homes back in March of 2020,” said Kevin Ricklefs, chief culture officer at CHG Healthcare.  “We are still determining what returning to the office will look like for our organization and know other companies are in the same boat.”

Among the findings, 54% say working from home during the Covid-19 pandemic has improved their mental health.  This compares to 26% who say working from home has had a negative impact while 39% said working from home resulted in no change to their mental health.

Of those who say working from home negatively affected their mental health, 82% believe returning to the office will improve it.

The survey also found that when offices reopen, 54% of respondents indicated they are interested in a hybrid in-office/work-from-home schedule.  Nearly 32% have no interest in returning the office, and only 9% want to go back to the office full-time.

Safety measures are also important; 79% want employers to enforce extended time away from the office when an employee falls ill.  And 17% want other increased safety measures, including masks, spacing between employees and limited social gatherings.

In addition, 44% prefer their employer require employees to be vaccinated before returning to the office, while 33% don’t think the vaccination should be required before returning and 23% don’t have an opinion.