October 2023 BLS Employment Situation – Job Market is Returning to Normal

Last Friday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released the Employment Situation for October 2023. The report showed that 150,000 new jobs were created last month. 

The unemployment rate increased 0.1% to 3.9%, a small change from last month. This metric is used to measure the number of workers who currently do not have a job but are looking for work. Employment as a whole decreased by 348,000 workers, for a variety of reasons including the ongoing strikes, child care crisis, and the retirement of Baby Boomers.

In October, healthcare led job creation with 58,000 jobs, closely aligned with the industry’s monthly gain of 53,000 for the last 12-month period. For the second month in a row, 8,000 of those new jobs were at nursing and residential care facilities in particular for the second month in a row. Second in job creation was the government with 51,000 new roles. Next was social assistance with 19,000 jobs, continuing this industry’s upward trend.

Employment Situation highlights:

  • Economists predicted 30,000 more jobs would be added in October
  • U.S. labor force shrank by 201,000 workers
  • The leisure & hospitality industry is 223,000 below February 2020 employment levels
  • 96,000 people indicated that they were out of work due to a strike or labor dispute, the most seen in the U.S. since 1997
  • Totals for September and August have been revised down 101,000 jobs collectively

Taking these metrics into consideration, it appears that the economy is experiencing a return to normalcy. While there were less jobs created and less people on the labor market looking for work, these numbers closely mirror what we saw in the market prior to the pandemic.

When comparing September’s employment situation to October’s, it doesn’t appear that hiring in skilled trades will become any easier as the economy cools. Employers continued to make hires last month, just at a slower pace than we’ve experienced this year. As the hiring market evens out, you will need to focus on remaining top of mind for your ideal candidates. Read on to learn how you can optimize your recruiting process to stand out to potential applicants and hire the talent you need at your organization.

Focus on candidate quality

There may be fewer workers on the market, but you can still focus on hiring top talent while moving quickly through the hiring process. By building intentional steps to your hiring process, you can quickly identify top talent in your applicant volume and move forward with best candidates for your business. If you want to hire workers who will stay once they’re onboard, start at the beginning with your hiring process.

You could use pre-screening surveys to automatically weed out unqualified talent with “knock out” questions. These tools are simple to configure and even easier to use if they integrate directly with your applicant tracking system; just note which questions must be answered in a particular way to advance in the process and let the survey sort out unqualified candidates for you. You could also automate reference checks to be sent to your candidate’s provided contacts so you can gain a well-rounded understanding of potential hires. 

Keep candidates engaged 

Hiring the best workers on the market will still largely depend on how well you can keep them engaged. The fastest (and easiest) way to instigate engagement is by embracing recruitment automation. When it comes to hiring, you want to err on the side of over communicating with candidates. In our 2023 State of Hiring Report, we found that the number one reason that candidates drop out of the hiring process suddenly is because they thought there was a lack of communication from the potential employer.

You could set up an email to be sent to applicants acknowledging the submission of their application, along with next steps in your process. Those two sentences outlining what candidates can expect from you can go a long way in building a relationship with talent that’s already interested in working with you — you just need to keep them where you want them. You could use automation in other ways to keep candidates engaged, such as sending out notifications reminding them of upcoming interviews or reminding them to submit important information to continue the process.

Reach candidates where they’re at

There are so many recruitment channels out there that it can be overwhelming to decide which to invest in to make the best hires at your company. In an ideal world, you already know whether you can source the talent you need through general job boards or if the candidates you’re seeking tend to use niche job boards to find their next roles. 

Your ideal candidates are out there — you just have to meet them where they’re at. You should start by looking at the HR metrics available to you to see which recruitment channels perform best for your organization. By looking at this data, you’ll be able to optimize your recruiting efforts and generate the best ROI for your hiring dollars. With this strategy, you’ll be able to focus on channels that consistently provide the best hires and results for your business. Plus, you’ll be empowered to optimize your recruitment process over time with this data so you can hire better talent faster.

Make your application mobile-friendly

Your application should be easy, short, and work on mobile devices. The types of employees you want to hire are not traditionally found behind a computer all day at work; you’ll be more likely to receive an application submitted from the phone they have tucked in their pockets than from a traditional keyboard. In fact, 58% of respondents to our annual survey said that they used a smartphone or a tablet in their most recent job search, while only 39% used a computer.

To make your online applications as effective as possible, consider asking for only the basics from candidates: their name, email address, and phone number. You can gather other details during the hiring process! Refrain from requiring resumes, as most applicants will not have these documents saved on their smartphones — and ditch the cover letters as these are deterrents as well.


The October Employment Situation displayed signs that the economy is returning to a pre-pandemic normal, but that doesn’t mean that hiring will get significantly easier. In order to find success hiring in the months ahead, owners and hiring managers will need to focus on hiring quality talent that will stay, methods to keep talent engaged in the hiring process, reaching candidates where they’re at, and making your applications mobile-friendly.

For more ways you can speed up your hiring process, download the recruitment automation guide today!



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