While the availability of vaccines will speed the economy’s return to normal, employers remain wary about hiring, job recruiters say.
Job postings and hiring typically fall off at the end of December, and the trend after the latest holiday season has been more pronounced than usual. “Right now, employers are still cautious related to their work force strategy,” said Amy Glaser, senior vice president at the staffing firm Adecco USA.
The rebound has been bumpy, and employers have responded in kind, retaining flexibility to increase or reduce their staffing through the use of temporary workers, Ms. Glaser said. That could mean more people are cycling through jobs.
Julia Pollak, a labor economist at the online job site ZipRecruiter, has seen the same caution.
“Employers are being apprehensive, and job seekers are not yet flocking back to the market in droves, either,” Ms. Pollak said. “The virus is still spreading, hospitalizations have hit a new record, and there is a pullback in demand for certain services. A lot of stay-at-home orders and restrictions are causing a further decline.”
Some industries have managed to thrive. A key measure of manufacturing, for instance, rose this week to its highest level since 2018. Construction spending and employment have grown along with a surge in home buying. Staffing agencies say they have seen hiring in the automotive business and financial services. The demand for warehouse and delivery workers also remains strong.
One of the biggest trends has been the increase in customer service workers and call center representatives operating from home, Ms. Glaser of Adecco said. Those jobs require greater digital literacy than in the past, she said, because individuals must be able to set up their computers and solve problems themselves.
“There is no tech person sitting down the hallway,” she said.