Hiring beginning to stabilize, worker confidence is mixed
April was a particularly challenging month, and it was the first full month we were able to see the impact of coronavirus across the globe. We saw unemployment claims rise to an unprecedented 36.5 million in the U.S., as many as 80 million still out of work in China, and 12.4 million furloughed workers in France.
And while May isn’t showing material signs of improvement just yet, we are seeing some promising trends on the horizon: hiring is beginning to stabilize, and the curve of infection is trending down. But a key indicator for where we’re heading is consumer confidence. When we look at how our members are feeling about their job stability, financial status, and career growth, we’re seeing pockets of the workforce feeling more uncertainty than before.
Hiring is showing signs of stabilizing
Globally, we’re seeing that hiring is beginning to stabilize. Hiring rates in the United States and Singapore over the past 6 weeks are leveling off relatively. In Australia, the United Kingdom, France, and Italy, we saw hiring spike up, then back down, from the Easter holiday -- but we’re not seeing any of the sharp declines that we did in early- to mid-March. We’re expecting that these countries will follow the trend of the U.S. and Singapore over the course of the next few weeks.
In China, which we’ve been following closely, we saw a spike up and sharp decline at the beginning of the month. This is likely due to the Labor Day holiday in China that took place May 1-5, so we’ll likely see its hiring rate level out over the course of the next month.
But in the U.S., workers are prepared for more remote work and tighter personal budgets
In the U.S., our latest survey reveals a shift in workers’ perceptions of how they’ll navigate the future of work: more than half (55%) of respondents think their industry can be effective when people are working remotely. This optimism is strongest in intensely digital fields, such as software, finance and media, where more than 75% of people endorse the idea that remote work and effective operations go hand in hand. In other sectors -- especially sectors like healthcare and manufacturing where in-person interaction is crucial -- remote work is a polarizing topic. Retail is most skeptical about remote work, with only 29% of respondents reporting they think their industry could thrive with remote work.
Almost half of the U.S. workforce anticipates they’ll experience further drops in personal spending in the next 6 months, and a quarter also expect they’ll also see further drops in personal savings.
When we look at the outlook by region, we’re seeing that the Southern part of the U.S. continues to lead the way in overall confidence and coastal regions are lagging behind. Some of the key drivers for these regional differences include:
Workers in the Southeast are more likely to think spending will level next 6 months than other parts of the country.
More than half of workers in the Far West anticipate further declines in the number of jobs available.
In New England, workers are most concerned with financial uncertainty. Just over a third are expecting further declines in personal savings.
We saw workers in the Rocky Mountain states are more pessimistic about their company’s one-year outlook, coinciding with a drop in confidence about their career progression.
Small businesses are also driving optimism in the market. Confidence is trending up among Americans who work for small- and medium-sized businesses, whereas we’re seeing confidence among workers in Enterprise & Mid-Market companies trending down. This follows across all regions of the country, though the difference is less pronounced in the West.