The 10 July Articles…
US Economic Growth Beats Expectations in Q2
Daily News, July 27, 2023
US real gross domestic product grew faster than anticipated, increasing at an annual rate of 2.4% in the second quarter of 2023, the US Bureau of Economic Analysis reported today. This is an advance estimate. Real GDP had grown 2.0% in the first quarter.
Economists surveyed by Bloomberg had forecast growth of only 1.8% in the second quarter, Yahoo Finance reported.
Despite the better-than-expected second-quarter growth, The Conference Board still foresees a mild recession, according to a post by Erik Lundh, principal economist at The Conference Board. Still, the organization pushed out the forecast date for the recession to the fourth quarter of this year.
“Consumption growth cooled for the quarter, but improvements in business investment growth more than offset this,” Lundh wrote in the post. “The prospects for a soft landing for the US economy are rising, but The Conference Board projects that a short and shallow recession beginning later this year is more likely.”
According to the US Bureau of Economic Analysts, the second-quarter increase in real GDP “reflected increases in consumer spending, nonresidential fixed investment, state and local government spending, private inventory investment and federal government spending that were partly offset by decreases in exports and residential fixed investment.”
Separately, the US initial jobless claims last week fell to their lowest level in five months, the US Department of Labor reported today.
Initial jobless claims fell by 7,000 in the week ended July 22 to a total of 221,000.
Meanwhile, the four-week moving average of initial claims fell by 3,750 to a level of 233,750.
In other economic news, the Federal Reserve raised its target range for its benchmark interest rate by on Wednesday to a range of 5.25% to 5.5%, CNBC reported.
51% of Hiring Managers Prefer In-person Interviews
Daily News, July 27, 2023
More than half of US hiring managers, 51%, prefer interviewing candidates face-to-face instead of through a screen or phone, according to a survey by Express Employment Professionals.
However, the effects of the pandemic are still visible as 8% only conduct interviews virtually, while 40% use a combination of in-person and virtual.
“Technology was such a wonderful asset to keep the workforce connected during the Covid-19 pandemic, but returning to in-person interviews or a virtual component at the start of the hiring process allows employers to assess soft skills that are hard to capture without meeting face-to-face,” Express Employment International CEO Bill Stoller said in a statement. “Looking at these survey results, it seems companies agree.”
The report found that while the methods for conducting job interviews depend on multiple factors, including the industry and the candidate’s skill level, the value of in-person interaction can set candidates up for success.
Express Employment Professionals’ survey was conducted online by The Harris Poll between June 13 and June 26 among 1,010 US hiring decision makers who are employed full time or self-employed.
Quarter of Workers Currently Searching for a New Job
Daily News, July 27, 2023
A quarter of US workers are currently looking for new roles, according to a report by Robert Half, and an additional 24% plan to start searching by the end of the year.
Top among those most likely to make a career move in the remainder of the year are Gen Z professionals, 74%; technology professionals, 64%; and working parents, 63%.
“The takeaway for employers, especially those facing recruiting challenges, is that skilled workers are willing to make a move for the right opportunity,” Dawn Fay, operational president of Robert Half, said in a press release
The report found that contract work has become a viable route for many professionals; 4 in 10 workers said they are open to pursuing contract roles. Workers exploring other employment opportunities are motivated by a higher salary, better benefits and perks and remote work options, according to the report.
The survey was developed by Robert Half and conducted by an independent research firm from May 4 to May 30. It included responses from more than 2,500 workers across the US.
150,000,000 Jobs Globally Will Shift to Older Workers
Daily News, July 19, 2023
Older workers are filling more jobs. Research from Bain & Co. found that 150 million jobs across the globe will shift to workers over the age of 55 by the year 2030.
The trend is most pronounced in high-income countries. In Japan, workers 55 and older will approach 40% of the workforce by the end of the decade. However, the shift will impact low- and middle-income countries as well. In Brazil, the proportion of workers over age 55 is rising to the mid-teens.
Bain noted fewer young people are entering the workforce and a long-term trend toward earlier retirement has reversed. It found 41% of American workers expect to work beyond age 65, while 30 years ago the percentage was 12%.
“There was an increase in retirements in some countries during the peak-Covid Great Resignation, but that moment is now looking more like the Great Sabbatical as those workers increasingly return to work,” said James Root, partner at Bain & Co. and co-chair of the firm’s think tank, Bain Futures. “People work longer into their lives, yet we’ve found it rare to see organizations put programs in place to fully integrate older workers into their talent system.”
However, Bain noted workers’ priorities evolve as they age, and the average worker over 60 is most focused on doing interesting work in a job where they have autonomy and flexibility. For the research, Bain interviewed 40,000 workers across 19 countries.
Still, older workers in the US are offered training less often than their younger counterparts. And 22% of workers globally between the ages of 55 and 64 say they need more tech skills.
“With the right tool kit, aging workers can help employers get ahead of their talent gaps and create high-quality jobs that turn older workers’ skills and experience into a competitive advantage,” said Andrew Schwedel, partner at Bain & Co. and co-chair of Bain Futures. “Companies that invest in recruiting, retaining, reskilling and respecting the strengths of this group will set themselves up for success as the demographics of the workforce continue to shift.”
ChatGPT Boosts Worker Productivity in some Writing Tasks (MIT News)
Daily News, July 14, 2023
Generative AI increased worker productivity for certain writing tasks, according to a report in MIT News published by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. It cited a new study by researchers at MIT. “What we can say for sure is generative AI is going to have a big effect on white collar work,” Shakked Noy told MIT News. Noy is a PhD student in MIT’s Department of Economics who co-authored the paper with fellow PhD student Whitney Zhang. “I think what our study shows is that this kind of technology has important applications in white collar work,” Noy said. “It’s a useful technology. But it’s still too early to tell if it will be good or bad, or how exactly it’s going to cause society to adjust.”
Majority of Graduates Prefer In-Person Work
Daily News, July 14, 2023
Despite the demand for remote and hybrid work arrangements, 51% of college graduates in the class of 2023 prefer to work in person, according to a report by the National Association of Colleges and Employers. The report’s survey also found 42% would prefer a hybrid arrangement, but only 7% want to work exclusively in a virtual environment.
“Coming off the pandemic, class of 2023 college graduates are keenly aware of the value of personal interaction, especially since operating virtually was the norm for a sustained period of time, and the need for work/life balance,” said Shawn VanDerziel, executive director at NACE.
The college class of 2023 also still prioritizes job security when considering opportunities, despite entering a labor market characterized by record-low levels of unemployment and robust hiring, according to the report.
“Job security is among the most important attributes new graduates consider,” VanDerziel said. “Their focus on this is likely the result of experiencing the impacts of the pandemic as well as more recent speculations about a recession.”
The report found that in addition to job security, new graduates also prize friendly co-workers, the opportunity to develop job-specific and applied skills, the ability to integrate work and family responsibilities, and key benefits.
NACE’s survey included 18,966 bachelor’s degree-level students of whom 2,307 identified as graduating seniors. The survey took place from March 15 to May 19.
Investing in Employee Benefits is a Priority for US Companies
Daily News, July 14, 2023
Investment in employee benefits remains a priority for most employers in the US as companies grapple with the challenge of attracting and retaining key talent, according to a report by WTW. Of the organizations surveyed, 80% said competition for talent is a top priority influencing their benefit strategies, while 67% cited rising costs.
“Employee benefits are significant differentiators in attracting and retaining key talent, and companies must prioritize in order to be an employer of choice,” Courtney Stubblefield, managing director and insights and commercialization leader at WTW, said in a press release. “Employers must focus on what their workforce needs by assessing the value of benefits and their impact on employees. This can be challenging given the complexity of benefit programs and the need to simplify operations.”
While competition for talent has been a priority for the past few years, WTW found it to be top of mind this year. Of the employers surveyed, 65% feel that their current benefit plan is effective or highly effective in attracting and retaining key talent, and 49% are focused on their benefit plans meeting needs across all employees. In addition, 43% of employers plan to improve their benefits position in financial well-being.
However, as 75% of organizations focus on managing plan costs in their strategy, balancing employee needs might prove more difficult, according to the report. Employers anticipate costs as a top challenge for benefit budgets in the next two years. While 46% of employers are concerned about the persistence of higher inflation on their benefits budget, 36% expect an impact from the weakening economy and current business environment.
According to the report, to manage costs and simplify offerings, 66% of employers have taken action to improve vendor contract terms; 83% are planning to do so. Meanwhile, for some employers, their only option is strategically evaluating the benefits they offer in response to rising costs.
WTW surveyed 595 organizations across a broad range of industries in the US between March and April for the report.
IT Employment Stabilizes in June after Posting Losses in Past Year
Daily News, July 13, 2023
IT employment was essentially flat in June when compared to May, falling by only 0.03%, the TechServe Alliance reported.
“After the better part of a year losing more than 10,000 jobs a month, IT employment has stabilized the last two months, coming in essentially flat in June,” TechServe Alliance CEO Mark Roberts said in a press release.
June’s month-over-month decline represents a decrease of just 1,500 jobs.
“As I have noted before, the drop through much of 2022 and the beginning of 2023 reflected both a correction of the over-hiring by some sectors and employers being generally more cautious amid economic uncertainty,” Roberts said.
IT employment also remains tight even though overall IT employment hasn’t yet returned to a growth trajectory. “After rising to 2.7% in Q1, the IT unemployment rate dropped to 2.4% in Q2 — well below the unemployment rate of 3.6% of the overall workforce and what is deemed full employment,” Roberts said. “While the data may appear to be sending mixed messages, the bottom line is it remains a sellers’ market in high-demand IT skill sets.”
In addition, data analyzed by the TechServe Alliance showed that tech jobs were down by 2.25% in June when measured on a year-over-year basis.
The organization also tracks engineering employment. Engineering jobs were up 0.17% in June compared to May and up 2.73% when compared to a year ago.
The TechServe Alliance is a trade association representing the technology staffing and solutions industry.
Generative AI Job Posts Surge; Firms Track Executive Interest: Tech Roundup
Daily News, July 11, 2023
Talent platform Upwork Inc. said job posts related to generative AI are up 230%. Meanwhile, IBM said nearly half of CEOs have hired additional workers because of AI, and a Capgemini report found that 74% of executives believe the benefits of AI outweigh the risks.
Job posts and more
Job posts related to generative AI surged on talent platform Upwork Inc., the company reported today. Posts calling for expertise in AI tools such as ChatGPT, Dall-E, Midjourney, Stable Diffusion, Jasper and others are up 230% in the second quarter compared to the fourth quarter of 2022. Upwork also noted its previous research that found that 49% of business leaders said they will hire more freelancers as a result of generative AI.
Upwork also said today it launched several generative AI-enhanced beta features powered by OpenAI technologies, including a job post generator to help clients create fully customizable job post drafts, an enhanced Upwork chat using AI, tips to help talent create proposals and other resources, such as guides to integrating generative AI into business.
Upwork isn’t the only ecosystem firm focusing on AI
Separately, Freelancer.com last month released research that found 75% of freelancers use generative AI in their work.
In addition, RecruitBot, an AI-powered hiring platform, announced an $8.2 million seed funding round led by Slow Ventures. The financing follows a previous $3 million funding round. RecruitBot provides a database of candidates, an outreach tool and recruiting CRM.
Hiring because of AI
Nearly half of CEOs, 46%, have hired additional workers because of generative AI, and 26% say they have plans for more hiring ahead, according to a report by IBM with results released June 27. However, only 28% of CEOs have assessed the potential impact of generative AI on their workforces, although 36% plan to do so in the next 12 months.
The report also found that 43% of CEOs have reduced or redeployed their workforce because of generative AI, and 28% plan to do so in the next 12 months.
For the report, IBM interviewed 3,000 CEOs from more than 30 countries in 24 industries. The report was carried out in cooperation with Oxford Economics.
AI benefits vs. concerns
Despite risks such as copyright infringement and cybersecurity, 74% of executives believe the benefits of generative AI outweigh the associated concerns, according to a survey by IT services provider Capgemini. It also found that 21% anticipate a disruption in their industries, 40% of organizations across industries have already established teams and budgets for generative AI and a further 49% are contemplating doing so within 12 months.
Generative AI will lead to the emergence of new roles such as AI auditors and AI ethicists, according to 69% of executives. And the integration of generative AI into the workforce will require significant investment in upskilling and cross-skilling of talent.
For the survey, Capgemini surveyed 1,000 organizations interested in exploring generative AI in the UK, US, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Singapore, Spain and Sweden. Ninety-nine percent of organizations surveyed had annual revenue of more than $1 billion, and 55% had revenue of more than $5 billion. Capgemini also conducted in-depth interviews with 10 industry executives.
Small Business Hiring Rises in June
Daily News, July 11, 2023
The Cbiz Small Business Employment Index rose 1.98% on a seasonally adjusted basis in June. The report noted seasonal trends of additional hiring in recreational activities contributed to the employment gains.
“June’s employment data for small businesses shows a robust labor market where employers are hiring at a healthy pace amid a skilled labor shortage,” said Anna Rathbun, chief investment officer at Cbiz Investment Advisory Services. “Part of the rise in hiring can be attributed to seasonal trends, as summer typically brings a demand for extra personnel in recreational sectors.”
Hiring increased in nearly all industries, according to the report. The most notable gains were seen in administration and support services, arts, entertainment and recreation, and rental and leasing services.
On the regional level, the report found the largest increase in hiring in the Central and Northeast regions at 2.67% and 2.45%, respectively. The Southeast region had a minor increase at 0.78%, while the West remained flat at 0.02%.
In addition, 28% of companies in the index increased staffing in June, 56% made no change to their headcounts and 16% reduced employment totals.
Rathbun noted June’s index reflects a competitive landscape for the small business market, where hiring talent is a priority amidst the labor shortage.
“Business owners are looking to hire first and manage their margins later,” Rathbun said.
The Cbiz Small Business Employment Index tracks payroll and hiring trends for over 3,200 companies that have 300 or fewer employees.