What You Should Know About the Job Market in 2024

Amid inflation and talk of a recession, it was easy to have a wary outlook entering the New Year. And yet 2024 is starting much stronger than expected. In January alone, the United States saw 353,000 jobs added to the market, blowing the predicted 185,000 clear out of the water. The unemployment rate is below 4%, the economy seems to be stable thus far, and wage growth saw a spike in January.  So, what does this all mean for job seekers? Here are a few things to know about the job market this year:

Unfortunately, layoffs in the tech industry are expected to continue. In the first month of 2024, major tech companies such as Google, Microsoft, and Amazon have laid off employees, citing a pandemic hiring binge, high inflation and weak consumer demand. Additionally, experts expect slow growth for employment in 2024, but growth nonetheless. The Manpower Group Employment outlook survey for 2024 shows that “42% of employers anticipate an increase in hiring,” versus 16% anticipating a decrease.

However, there are a few industries experiencing exceptional growth this year. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Education and Health, Business Services, and Retail all saw a boom to kick off the New Year. Education and health saw 112,000 new jobs added, while business services and retail saw 74,000 and 45,000 respectively. These fields, especially education and health, show no signs of stopping this expansion, as demand for these workers is still high.

Beyond the specifics, there are a few general trends to keep in mind. Firstly, the availability of remote work. While working online is not as popular as it was during the height of COVID-19, the option is still there. Many companies have adapted a hybrid workweek, where employees split their hours between in office and remote. This is not universal, but you should be prepared for the possibility.

Secondly, employers are looking for resilience and adaptability. So be a cockroach! (no, not really). With technology advancing everyday companies and organizations are constantly shifting their practices and strategies. They need employees who are able to adapt just as quickly. Being flexible, resilient, and willing to learn are crucial skills for job seekers in 2024. If you are searching for a new job this year, be prepared for a faster paced environment and expect frequent change.

One last trend to note is the prevalence of sustainable practices. Companies across the nation are showing an increased interest in their environmental impact. There’s an intense focus on green energy and sustainability. Implementing this can look like anything from reducing office waste to promoting mass transit as opposed to commuting. Jobs in this field should be growing relative to this newfound focus, and companies are looking for specialists in green energy specifically.

While, no one can know for certain what the future holds, these are just a few things to look for in the job market in 2024.

This article was written by Cameron Ballard.
Cameron Ballard is a student at Seton Hall University and Vice President of the English Honors Society. He has always had a passion for reading and writing, especially poetry. Beyond this, you can usually find him fishing or hiking in his home state of New Jersey. 

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