The Labor Department's report about December hiring added a heavy fog layer around the prevailing view that the economy has been on the mend.
ManpowerGroup Chairman and CEO Jeff Joerres says the rising tide in the job market is real. "We are seeing an improvement and it's across industry and it across geography. It's just the improvement is still very cautious and it's not as robust as we've seen in the past."
Payrolls grew by an average of 182,000 jobs a month in 2013, according to the government estimate. That's little changed from the previous year. Joerres says there are good reasons for firms to be more cautious than they were during past recoveries. Referring to the potential of a huge surge, he says, "We're not going to see a big 'V' recovery when it comes to the labor market."
Why the caution? Joerres says many firms are operating more efficiently than they were in the past. "Companies are not going to take the risk of anticipatory hiring because there's too many things that could six months from now or even two months from now get in the way of that and really hurt their profitability."
As for aspiring individuals, whether graduating from college or just looking for a better gig, Joerres says people have to be ready to move to where the jobs are. "There are opportunities -- they just don't exist in your backyard like they used to," he says. Although the December jobs report portrayed a shrinking labor force, with people giving up the job search, Joerres thinks more people may soon be ready to jump in. "There may be a willingness to be more confident in making that move than there has been in the past two to three years," he says.
Are you looking to make a career move in the coming months? Have you begun to look, or is anything holding you back from trying to make a move?
What's up with the job market?
Healing of the job market has been frustratingly slow. Here's why ManpowerGroup CEO Jeff Joerres says this recovery is different.
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