Power in the labor market returns to employers

Data: Indeed; Graphics: Axios Visuals

There are growing signs that workers’ power – a consequence of the hot economy of the COVID era – is leveling off or even crumbling in some sectors

Why it matters: The super-tight job market was great for working people, but a little too spicy for the Fed’s taste – chairman Jerome Powell called it a factor driving inflation. Now there are signs that his rate hikes are having the intended cooling effect.

What they say: “It’s not that workers have lost power, it’s just that they’re not getting it more and more,” said Nick Bunker, director of economic research at Indeed.

Details: There are still many more job openings on Indeed than there were before the pandemic started a clear sign of high demand for workers but the messages are coming back from last year’s highlights.

  • The technology sector, where we’ve seen the most layoffs in the past month, is showing some noticeable declines. Listings for “software developers” are down about 7% in the past four weeks, Bunker says.
  • The folks on the Layoffs tracker website recorded 109 layoffs so far in June, compared to 75 in the previous month and just 17 in March.

fear factor: You cannot ignore the role psychology plays in the power equation. Employers fearing a recession are withdrawing job openings, Bloomberg wrote earlier this week. At the same time, workers are starting to worry about job security, as we reported.

Still: Remember that the unemployment rate is still very low!

What to watch: Or the number of cessations will start to fall, Bunker says. So far it has been held relatively stable, a sign that workers are still feeling that leverage confident enough to risk a new job.

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