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Make the labor market hot again

Mass layoffs + super low unemployment = ??

Happy Monday, friends! Just so you know what the vibes are like this week: Last night, I had a dream that a killer whale was chasing me. Not even going to bother looking up what that means. And before you reply and tell me…please don’t.

Monday mood: “Tumble out of bed and stumble to the kitchen. Pour myself a cup of ambition, and yawn and stretch and try to come to life.” Dolly Parton’s “9 to 5” still slaps.


So…What’s Going on With Today’s Job Market?

Even if you get your news from Instagram (guilty ✋), you’ve probably heard a ton lately about the job market. First, you read an article watched a TikTok about tons of layoffs in tech and media. Then you heard unemployment is the lowest it’s been since our grandparents were buying houses for $15,000 and a handshake. So what’s up?

When it comes to the state of the labor market today, no one’s describing it more eloquently than Queen Paris Hilton…

Today, the job market is broadly considered pretty…weird. On one hand, we’re squarely in a “hot” or “tight” labor market, meaning there are more job openings than job seekers. At 3.4% in April, unemployment is tied for the lowest level since 1969.

But what about all those layoffs? Over 160,000 people have been laid off from big tech alone in 2023…which kind of gives a “the labor market can’t possibly be hot right now, can it?” vibe. Well, just like Timothée Chalamet in Little Women, today’s labor market is hotter than you were expecting.

Here’s the sitch:

1. In 2021, interest rates (aka the rates the Federal Reserve sets that determine how expensive it is to borrow money) were near zero due to Covid-inspired fears our economy would spiral into what economists definitely, certainly called a “dumpster fire.” With interest rates so low, companies (*cough* tech *cough*) could borrow money on the cheap to fuel growth and bankroll hiring sprees.

2. But…like a Monday morning iPhone alarm, inflation came up way faster than we were ready for, so the Federal Reserve has been busy raising interest rates in an effort to give inflation a much-needed chill pill. As interest rates rise, economic growth has slowed. And that’s meant cost-cutting (read: layoffs) at some big companies.

There’s a bit of a tale of two job markets right now. Tech and media are doing some soul-searching while hospitality is booming. Remember when nearly 8 million hospitality jobs were lost during the first few months of Covid? Now the industry can’t hire fast enough as it bounces back from the initial pandemi-lovato blow.

But solid employees who won’t steal your clearly labeled lunch are tough to find. In fact, some would-be workers are simply saying “nah” to re-entering the labor force for reasons including…

  • Childcare: Nearly 700,000 parents of young kids left their jobs in 2020, many due to lack of childcare.

  • Health problems: 2 to 4 million people are out of the workforce because of long Covid.

  • Early retirement: During the pandemic, 3 million more people than usual retired.

So what does this mean for job seekers?

While the labor market remains pretty hot, experts say it’s beginning to cool off slightly. In March, the number of job openings was the lowest it’s been in two years, dropping from 10 million to 9.6 million.

Still: Experts say job seekers still have 1) the upper hand (we ❤️ negotiating for better benefits) and 2) tons of employment options. And to that I say…

Things to Slack your work besties

…while you peep LinkedIn Jobs after reading the above. 👀

I stopped and did this one-minute breathwork exercise before I sent a third “checking in on this” email. And let me tell you, my word choice would have been a lot different if I didn’t. 🙃 

I think my fear of going over the family plan’s shared data is the reason why I am who I am today.

I wonder if my neighbors know all of the lyrics to th new Jonas Brothers album The Album (lol) seeing as I’ve been blaring it on repeat since it came out. If you’ve listened, reply and let me know what your favorite song is. It’s between “Montana Sky” and “Sail Away” for me.

Framing this immediately.

Thanks for reading. Hope you have the best week ever! See you back here on Friday. 🫶



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