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February BLS Jobs Report: How to Prepare for What’s Next

The February Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Situation showed promising job resurgence following a month of slow growth. 379,000 jobs were added, the strongest gain since October, and the unemployment rate dropped to 6.2%. The majority of job gains were in the leisure and hospitality sectors, something that made February’s growth especially encouraging as they’ve greatly suffered throughout the pandemic. Healthcare jobs also rose by 46,000, a hopeful opposition to last month’s loss.

This was in large part due to the fact that over 54 million people have received one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and nearly 28 million individuals are fully vaccinated. A recent Pew Research survey shows that public intent to get vaccinated is on the rise, and with the emergency authorization for Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine, President Biden has pledged to have enough vaccine doses for every eligible adult by the end of May, two months sooner than his previous projection.

Things are also looking up in terms of the long-anticipated $1.9 trillion stimulus relief bill, which includes extended unemployment benefits, stimulus checks, rental, utility and mortgage assistance, and assistance for small businesses and live venues. The bill was approved by the Senate this past weekend, and the plan is to enact the legislation before March 14th in order to continue to provide additional unemployment benefits to those looking for jobs.

CNBC shared the following quote from Tony, Bedikian, head of global markets at Citizens Bank, on what’s ahead:

“Today’s jobs report sets an extremely positive tone as we move into warmer months and the pace of COVID-19 vaccinations accelerates. While the labor market still has a lot of ground to make up, we are in a different place than we were a year ago and the economy seems poised for a strong rebound.”

And Hireology customers continued to add new roles and employees to their businesses. 15,783 jobs were added through our platform, and 8,535 individuals were hired — yet another reason we are confident that 2021 is on an upward trajectory.

As we move closer to spring and (hopefully) closer to normalcy, here’s what should be prioritized at your business. 

Embrace a remote-friendly workplace

2020 showed companies that offering remote work and flexibility was a must. And once the pandemic is over, employees will still want the same freedom, and will seek out companies that offer remote work options.

For roles that make sense, continue to allow your employees to work from anywhere. You’re cutting your applicant pool way down by not considering employees outside of your business’s immediate vicinity, so to keep the best talent coming in, don’t eliminate work from home policies.

Additionally, you can reimagine what your local team’s office schedule looks like by opting for a few days in the office a week. This will give your nearby employees incentives to stick around, too.  

Prepare for a boom

Economists have long predicted that a period of strong growth will follow the complete reopening of businesses, but according to a New York Times article, now expect a “supercharged rebound that brings down unemployment, drives up wages and may foster years of stronger growth”. Some experts forecast the unemployment rate will drop to 4.1% by December, a rate that wasn’t reached for eight years following the last recession.

Whether a boom or a more moderate rate of job growth ensues, it’s important to be ready. Spruce up your job descriptions, refresh your career site, and make sure you have a system in place to make your hiring decisions as quickly as possible. The last thing your business needs is to lose out on the opportunity to compete for talent because of a slow hiring process, so make an investment in your hiring technology now.

Over communicate changes  

Keep your employees in the know as things pick up pace. Like many companies, Hireology’s office remains closed, and we’ve continued to address questions and concerns from our employees as they arise in our weekly all-company meetings. This helps ensure we’re all on the same page.

If your company falls under the essential business category and has remained open or reopened during the pandemic, continue to talk with your employees about how they are feeling and how government mandates and changes affect them. Continuing to prioritize your employees and their needs will keep your employees around longer, especially as more jobs begin to open in other industries. 

Rely on technology

Whether your tech stack is vast or you’ve been slow to incorporate technology into your daily processes, you should evaluate what advancements your company should make to make manual processes more efficient.

 In a McKinsey global survey of 800 senior executives, two-thirds said they were increasing their investment in technology. In a post-pandemic world, this reliance will only increase, due to what consumers and employees will expect from companies. Your organization should continue to build on your technology to give the best experience possible and remain competitive in a digital-first environment. From hiring employees to managing customer relationships, there’s a software that can help you. Evaluate what’s best for your team and make steps to invest so that you’re not behind the curve. 

It’s exciting to consider what the future has in store and how far we’ve come in a year. While it was very challenging at times, and we are by no means in the clear, there’s a lot to be hopeful for as 2021 continues to show significant strides in combating the COVID-19 pandemic. As always, we’re here to help and we want to make sure you’re ready for what’s next. Schedule a demo to see how Hireology can help you hire your best team.

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