Five Signs That Economic Uncertainty Is Affecting Job Search Behavior

 U.S. job seeker confidence is sliding as the Fed’s interest rate hikes start to bite, employed Americans start to worry about their job security, and unemployed Americans start to find that jobs are becoming less plentiful. 

Here are five ways we are seeing the impacts of high interest rates, the increased cost of living, and economic uncertainty affect the labor market and cause some power to tilt back in favor of employers.

  1. Recruiting intensity appears to be falling. 

As fears of a possible recession rise, businesses appear to be putting less effort into proactively recruiting candidates. The share of job seekers who say that an employer has reached out to them during their current job search fell to 29% in October, down from 35% in May. 

  1. Job search intensity appears to be rising. 

As the number of available jobs declines, job seekers are searching more frequently, realizing that they may no longer have the luxury to take their time. The share of job seekers who are actively looking for an opportunity every day rose to 41% in October, up from 36% in June.

  1. Employed job seekers are feeling less secure in their current jobs. 

In October, the share of employed job seekers who said they feel less secure about their current jobs rose to 26%, from 23% in September. At the same time, job seekers across the board are prioritizing job security more highly as a key job characteristic. The share of job seekers who say job security is one of the most important things they are looking for in their next job rose to 37% in October from 32% in January. 

  1. Job seekers are getting nervous about quitting their jobs since they are less sure of their chance of landing another soon. 

Employed job seekers are not as bold as they were 2 months ago when the number of available jobs in the economy was still over 11 million. The share of employed job seekers who said they would quit their jobs without having another lined up went down to 21% in October, from 25% in September and August. 

  1. Employed job seekers feel less confident that their employers will counter outside offers. 

The share of employed job seekers who believe that their current employer would not counter an outside offer if they resign rose to 26% in October, from 20% in May.

Written by

Sinem Buber is an economist at ZipRecruiter with a focus on US labor market insights and trends. Previously, she worked at ADP Research Institute where she published the ADP National Employment Report. She holds a PhD in Economics from The Graduate Center, CUNY.

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