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Companies are still hiring, though there is a slight slowdown in the economy. Experts disagree on whether the U.S. is facing a recession, but some economic indicators are causing concern. Employers need to be prepared.

Despite a high inflation rate, the labor market remains strong. The economy added 315,000 jobs in August – representing 20 months of strong job growth – and unemployment rose slightly from 3.5 percent to 3.7 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Jerome Powell, chairman of the Federal Reserve, said Aug. 26 that the Fed will continue raising interest rates until inflation is under control. He cautioned that slowing the economy would “bring some pain to households and businesses,” but that allowing the inflation rate to continue rising would be worse. The labor market likely will be weakened, he said, and some economists agree.

Review your compensation packages

With mixed reports on the possibility of a recession, I advise employers to periodically review your compensation and benefit offerings by benchmarking them with similar businesses, job markets and positions. You need to make sure you’re in a good place to attract and retain talented employees.

Take a good look at what your company needs when it comes to skills and talent. Review the exit interviews of employees who have been leaving. Focus on the important roles that are needed and your current employees. Make sure your employees know you hear them, and you want to provide the benefits or work-life balance they’re seeking.

Companies need to know their competition in the market, which is where market data plays a role. Surveys and analysis are very important for determining this information.

Consider the options

Be prepared. If I’m having discussions with my clients about their business slowing down, losing work or not obtaining work and clients, I will bring options to the table to review with management. Such options could be a furlough, layoffs or “steady as it goes” with what we have. My experience in Human Resource management enables me to know what to look for, what to do, how to do it and when to communicate for transparency.

I have led several projects in which we had to downsize by furlough or layoffs, redeployment of staff or by freezing hiring, salary increases or bonuses.

Economic headwinds

One of the areas of concern is the gross domestic product (GDP). Two consecutive quarters of a negative GDP used to be a metric signaling the economy was in recession. The National Bureau of Economic Research defines recession as “a significant decline in economic activity that is spread across the economy and that lasts more than a few months.” Economic growth has decreased in the first two quarters of 2022.

Some tech and other companies had layoffs during the summer and more may be on the way. A recent survey of 700 employers by consultancy PwC found that 70 percent are either planning or considering layoffs or hiring freezes.

Another area economists watch is the labor-force participation rate, or the percentage of adults working or looking for a job, which increased slightly from 62.1 percent to 62.4 percent in August. Those numbers are still below the February 2020 figure, which means staffing continues to be difficult for employers.

Those who are unemployed shouldn’t be discouraged. Data continue to show there are more jobs available than there are people seeking work – by almost a 2-to-1 margin. In July, there were 11.24 million available jobs, nearly 1 million more than expected, according to the Job Openings and Labor Turnover survey. With a strategy plan and persistence, those looking for work can land a job.

We do live in unpredictable times. Some experts say if the economy is in recession, it would be different from any other recession the U.S. has experienced.

HR professionals work with employers to determine the needs and find resources for the business. If you need advice on preparing for a recession or determining what your business needs, contact me at melody@melodybeachconsulting.com.

50+ Job Seekers workshops

The 50+ Job Seekers Networking Group’s workshops are free and virtual on Zoom.

The program has announced that the registration process has changed. If you have previously registered, you will have a login for the website. Go to https://50plusjobseekers.org/password-reset/ to set your password. Your username is the email address karen.50plusjobseekers+gmail.com@ccsend.com. If you haven’t registered, you will be asked to complete the registration form.  You will now log on to the website at https://50plusjobseekers.org/login/ to register for workshops. Once you’re logged in, access the Master Calendar to sign up for as many workshops as you’d like. A link will be sent within 24 hours.

If you have questions about the process, contact 50plusjobseekersadmin@mcoaonline.com. For help logging in, contact lynn@mcoaonline.com.

Upcoming September workshops are:

  • Thursday, Sept. 15, 11 a.m. to noon: “Five Trends in the New World of Work” with Kerry Hannon, a workplace futurist and author of “In Control at 50+: How to Succeed in the New World of Work.”

The five trends are:

  • Remote work
  • Contract jobs
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Career transition
  • The explosion of virtual learning

Hannon will discuss what’s different about the workplace, the best ways to find a job, other forms of work to consider, how to play your strengths as an older worker and changes you can expect looking ahead.

Register through the Encore Boston Network at https://bit.ly/3QTlvRg.

  • Monday, Sept. 19, 10 to 11:30 a.m.: Interview Practice with Ed Lawrence, a career coach.
  • Do you have an interview coming up?
  • Do you know how to respond to behavioral questions?
  • Do you need suggestions on how to address gaps in employment?

Find answers to these questions and learn how to respond to questions that may be asked in an interview.

  • Thursday, Sept. 22, 11 a.m. to noon, Savvy Seeker Series: Introduction to Toastmasters with Barry Regan, Operations Quality Manager at Waters Corp., and a member of Toastmasters since 2008.

For most of the past 20 years, Regan worked at EMC/Dell as a Supplier Quality Engineer or a Commodity Manager. He credits Toastmasters with helping him obtain a managerial position at Waters Corp. last year.

  • Tuesday, Sept. 27, 6:30 to 8 p.m.: “Should I Stay or Should I Go?”

Yours truly will present this interactive workshop and guide you through the process of weighing all the factors – some you may not have considered – to help you decide whether it’s the right time to make a career change.

  • Are you currently employed, underemployed, unhappy with your current position or looking to pivot in a totally new career direction?
  • Are you unsure of whether you should start or continue searching for a new job?
  • Are you trying to decide whether to accept a job offer or stay where you are?

Join me Sept. 27!

The virtual doors open 15 minutes before each program starts.

Reach out to me

You can contact me by downloading my digital business card by texting HRPRO to 21000 or emailing me at melody@melodybeachconsulting.com.

AFFILIATED ORGANIZATIONS

Melody L. Beach Consulting Group
Proud Member of
Northeast Human Resources Association (NEHRA)
Northeast Human Resources Association (NEHRA)
Northeast Human Resources Association (NEHRA)
Webster Dudley Business Alliance (WDBA)
Webster Dudley Business Alliance (WDBA)
AARP (American Association of Retired Persons)
PARWCC The Professional Association of Resume Writers & Career Coaches Woman in Business (WIB)
Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce
BNI Referral Champions Worcester Chapter
Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM)
Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce
Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce
50+ Job Seekers
Massachusetts Councils on Aging (MCOA)
Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce
Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce
Human Resources Management Association (HRMA) of Central Massachusetts
Women's Information Network (WIN)
Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce
Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce
Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce

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Melody L. Beach Consulting Group, Human Resources, Southbridge, MA