Despite recession fears, companies continue to hire

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Despite signs of an impending recession, businesses continue to hire and workers are still looking for better jobs. (Photo by Eric Prouzet via Unsplash)

More than half of U.S. businesses (57%) are continuing to hire despite forecasts of an impending recession, and 27% plan to continue hiring as expected in the event of a recession, according to a recent survey.

This contrasts sharply with the Great Recession of 2008, when nearly 9 million American workers lost their jobs, causing unemployment in the United States to peak at 10% at the end of 2009.

The Harris Poll commissioned by Express Employment Professionals shows that 51% of US CEOs believe a recession will occur within the next year, while 12% are optimistic there will be no recession.

“I feel like we’re in a recession right now, but nothing’s ‘official’ yet,” said New Jersey Express franchise owner Mike Nolfo.

“These next few months are going to be interesting because usually in a recession, companies lay off employees due to the economic downturn,” Nolfo said. “Direct hiring of staff would slow and contract staffing would increase due to uncertainty. However, right now the labor market is one of the reasons we are in a recession. Companies are already at reduced staffing levels, and you can’t lay off employees if you don’t have employees to lay off.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the unemployment rate in June was 3.6% nationally and 2.9% in Oklahoma.

Even as signs of a recession intensify, another new survey reveals that a third of workers are actively looking for a new job, while only 38% said they would like to stay at their current company.

“Despite fears of a recession – and the slowdown in hiring and layoffs that often result from a downturn – the labor market remains strong. And this robust job market continues to empower workers,” said Rebecca Ray, executive vice president of human capital at The Conference Board. “Our survey results show that they always want more flexibility and a higher salary, and that they will go elsewhere to obtain these advantages. But slowing economic growth makes the decision to jump ship more risky.

Survey respondents who voluntarily left a job in the past year cited flexibility among the top reasons they quit; 17% left for a flexible workplace, flexible work schedule or the ability to work remotely.

The other top reasons workers left their jobs were the usual job change factors, higher pay (22%) and career advancement (14%).

Greater flexibility, higher pay and career advancement were also the top factors that would encourage workers to stay with their company, according to the survey.

Dealing with financial insecurity is a good opportunity for job seekers and companies to consider a contingent workforce, said Stephanie Miller, international director of talent and acquisition at Express Employment.

“Using this flexible staffing option allows a business to control costs by adjusting staffing needs daily to their business demand,” Miller said. “While casual work has long been referred to as ‘temporary’, many companies and job seekers have established long-term employment relationships as a result of the initial arrangement.”

Navigating this time of uncertainty, Miller advises employees to assess their current employment situation at a macro level.

“Given the company culture, opportunities for growth, longevity and stability of the company are as important as salary and benefits,” she said. “Before a recession hits, job seekers need to position themselves with the right company. This will be the key to success in the right career opportunity.

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