Job Trends: A Better Job Outlook for the Months Ahead

Cautious optimism should be your takeaway from the surge of job growth in October. It’s a good sign, for sure. It means that the job outlook likely will be better in the months ahead. But it likely won’t stay as strong as we saw in October.

That’s because the October pickup likely occurred because companies had held back on some projects in August and September as a stock market falloff created worries. As those worries have subsided, companies moved forward in October with the hiring related to those delayed projects.

That’s the big-picture takeaway from the latest U.S. jobs data through October, as summarized in the table below. Here is what these trends mean in terms of their impact @work and @home:

Impact @Work: Capitalize on the sales opportunity created among households by the October job surge, but recognize that the opportunity will moderate and remain uneven.

  • The weak spots will remain focused in the energy markets where job losses are concentrated. Texas may see moderating growth, but the weakness is focused so far in energy/mining-dependent states such as Alaska, Louisiana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
  • The hot spots will remain focused in certain states—e.g., California, Florida, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington—benefiting from job growth in construction, technology, and business/professional jobs.

Impact @Home: If you are looking for work, recognize that the weakest prospects are in energy and manufacturing jobs…

While the latest prospects look best in:

  • Construction (especially specialty trades),
  • Health care (especially doctors’ offices and home health),
  • Restaurants/food service (among the leisture and hospitality trades),
  • Various professional and business fields: accounting/bookkeeping, architectural/engineering firms, computer systems, management consulting, administrative support, employment/temporary help services;

And there also are opportunities in places that otherwise are not growing very fast:

  • In retail: auto dealers, home improvement stores, apparel specialty stores, online retailers,
  • In durable goods manufacturing: automobile and furniture manufacturers;

But remember that the job opportunities and threats often are focused in certain state and local markets: See this post for more.

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