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Analysis of the jobs data and trends in the world of work

There’s more parsing of the jobs data released last week.

A Washington Post Analysis piece digs into the 2021 labor market data, which at first glance would be “the best year in labor-market history,” with 6.4 million new jobs and an hourly rise of wages of one dollar and forty-six cents.     Those top-line numbers are misleading.

Take the new jobs data, representing only a 4.5 percent increase in the workforce, making it the 11th best year since record-keeping began in 1939.     Or the hourly raise data shows workers have lost ground when accounting for inflation.

Automation is highlighted as a labor solution in that article and in analysis by Axios, which looks at retail using cashier-less checkouts.    Tech solutions like Amazon’s cashier-less Go offerings and ones by startups like Standard Cognition are being installed. 

Or another examination of the tightness of the labor market by Axios leads to a withdrawal of stimulus from the Fed.    With unemployment down to 3.9% and continued raising of wages, there is an expectation of changes to Federal Reserve policy, potentially impacting the economy with the removal of so-called “Cheap money.”    

How has the job market been reshaped?   The most recent Ladders Quarterly Remote Work Report, based on data on remote-working opportunities from 50,000 companies, found that 18% of all professional jobs are now remote, including nearly 156,000 roles paying $100,000 or more.   Ladders found that developers, software engineers, and professionals in highly technical fields are seeing the most remote work opportunities, as are roles that emphasize organizational skills.

And those figures from the US Labor Department show that workers quit in record numbers in November 2021, with 4.5 million leaving their employers – and that’s November when the typical time for resignations is the beginning of a new year.  

Why do we care?

I included the stories about automation because I immediately thought of those providers who deliver retail and how technology is changing that space so quickly.  This is an e-commerce story for sure, and too many providers are missing the story about helping their customers grow using technology versus just keeping the tech alive.

The more prominent theme, the value of keeping your existing team and investing in them due to the power shift.     Don’t bet on the shift back any time soon, particularly around workers forced into the office… because even if I’m wrong here, the safer bet for employers and managers is to plan for the more challenging terrain and be delightfully surprised if it’s easier to navigate.