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The Job Market Upswing: How, Why, and What It Means

05 October
by Ed Weirauch
2 minute read

Confidence: a key in opening new doors

job market

 

Big news: we’re really happy about the job market!

More than two-thirds of respondents (69 percent) to a Rutgers University survey conducted this summer say they are either very confident or confident that they could find a new, good job.

That number is up from only one in five or 22 percent in 2010.

This is an annual survey conducted by Rutgers Center for Workforce Development in New Jersey.  Since the depth of the economic recession in 2008-09, the number of respondents who felt confident about finding a new job had remained fairly low, accortding to the Center’s Director, Carl Van Horn.

“Public attitudes are much more upbeat than they were even two years ago,” Van Horn told The Philadelphia Inquirer last month.  Pessimism had been deep-seated “because people had been so scarred by the recession,” he added.

 

Time heals all wounds?

By 2016, Van Horn points out that “millions more people were working, we’ve seen some wage recovery and therefore less fear in the face of a long but steady recovery.”

In prior recessions that were generally shorter, the level of confidence people felt about the job market tended to rebound faster.  Budget cutting, restructuring, bankruptcies, mergers and acquisitions were so widespread in 2008 and for the following year or two, that workers’ confidence did not rise.  A feeling of “I’m just lucky to be working” became a common mantra.

 

Impact

So what does this mean for both employers and workers today?  A penduluum shift.

Movement in the market is increasing.  As workers become more confident that they can succeed in finding new jobs that they like at a time when employers are open to hiring and investing in new equipment and projects, opportunities are created.  When a person leaves one job for another, there’s a new position opening up.

When national unemployment numbers drop down as they have to five percent, more workers feel better about looking and again, new opportunities open up.  This movement is multiplied throughout the entire economy.

In fact, with confidence levels on the upswing, the job search process could become even easier.

But now, employers may be the ones who roll their eyes more often than their workers.  As jobs become vacant and new opportunities in the job market open up, companies have to invest more to recruit, identify and hire new employees.  Instead of isolated job seekers staring into their computers opportunity-hunting, now human resource directors and hiring managers have to become more creative to find new, good staff members.

All this because workers are happier.  So the magic hand that unintentionally manipulates the economy is really just confidence… an intangible that is hard to quantify and maybe impossible to analyze on a graph?

To an extent… but surely we’re safe considering confidence a vital ingredient.

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