Put on the right lenses to view the job numbers

Put on the right lenses to view the job numbers

Why do analysts reach for the wrong pair of glasses the minute that the monthly job numbers are released? Maybe they have a rare form of myopia that prevents them from seeing that the greatest part of our labor force works in the service industry and focusing their attention on those implications.  

I have been pouring over the statistics, articles, and analyses since Friday’s job numbers were released. Such excitement that a warm January led to gains in the Construction sector! Construction only makes up 5% of the U.S. workforce. Now, compare that percentage with the 11% of the workforce that jobs in Leisure and Hospitality comprises. Of course, analysts also singled out Manufacturing, concerned that this industry lost 12,000 jobs during the month. This trend is hardly surprising; it is one that started before the Great Recession of 2008 and continues; yet today manufacturing only employs about 8% of America’s workforce.

What catches our eye? In order to stay competitive, companies need to ignore the 3.1% the press plays up and instead pay attention to what type of employees, in what industries, with what skills, are demanding wage increases between 3.7% and 14%. 

Charts that put the picture into focus: 

  • The number of candidates per job opening, broken out by industry.  The JOLTS report, the most recent released yesterday by the BLS. Read More Here
  • Individual Wage Growth between the median and the 75th percentile analysis per the Atlanta Fed.  Read More Here

Perhaps the analysts drinking their cappuccinos need to get a little less excited about who is manufacturing the fancy espresso machine and pay a little more attention to the talents and current wage demands of the barista who foamed their milk. Read More Here