As 2018 comes to a close, businesses are reporting a positive outlook for the job market in the first quarter of 2019, according to a new survey fielded by Express Employment Professionals. Even with the latest jobs report showing fewer new jobs than expected and increased media chatter about a recession in the next two years, businesses expect steady hiring in the short term.
In the survey of 445 businesses, 53 percent of respondents expect the job market to stay the same in the first quarter, 38 percent see it trending up and only 9 percent see it trending down.
A year ago, businesses predicted a similar outlook for the first quarter of 2018, with 49 percent saying the job market would stay the same, 42 percent saying it would trend up and 9 percent saying it would trend down.
“Employers will continue to hire,” said Janis Petrini, an Express franchise owner in Grand Rapids, Michigan. “In our market, the demand for employees remains high, but there is no supply. Employers will continue to struggle to find workers in our market, and demand remains high with two to three job openings for every one person unemployed.”
Petrini also noted in her area “people aren't slowing down in hiring due to predictions of a recession.”
Lee Wenninger, an Express franchise owner on the north side of Indianapolis, sees a similar trend. While employers do have trouble finding workers, he has a simple answer when asked if employers will keep hiring: “All indicators are yes.”
There is some uncertainty, though. Compared to 2018, hiring trends in 2019 are “hard to predict,” he said, “because while the economy is doing well, there are some concerns regarding trade policy and tariffs. If wages continue to increase, we should see candidates who are on the sidelines in government programs re-enter the workforce, so that is another unknown factor at this time.”
The survey results also revealed which professions can expect to see hiring in the first quarter of 2019. More businesses are looking to hire workers for general labor than for any other profession.
“If you’re looking for a job at the start of the new year, you will be in a strong position,” said Bill Stoller, the CEO of Express. “It’s clear that employers are hiring, and if you have the skills—or are willing to acquire the skills—the odds are in your favor.”
The survey of 445 businesses, which are current and former clients of Express Employment Professionals, was conducted in December 2018 to gauge respondents' expectations for the first quarter of 2019.