Help My Career: Is this the last-chance saloon for job switchers? If there’s a recession, the labor market may not be so rosy.


Should I stay or should I go?

It’s a song that could be running through the minds of workers who have remained with their job during the pandemic, watching others shuffle themselves into new spots, careers — and higher salaries.

That includes the people who filled the 315,000 jobs added to the economy in August, a number just shy of the 318,000 jobs expected by Wall Street analysts during the month.

“‘Could it be that if you hold off another six months, that you’ll have a better one in six months? Yes, that’s possible. It could be that it’s worse — and I think that is where it’s changed.’”

— Guy Berger, LinkedIn’s principal economist

This could be the last-chance saloon for job jumpers who want to make extra money before — as some economists predict — a looming recession.

On the one hand, jumping for a new job could be a good chance at a fatter paycheck when everything is so expensive.

Job changers had more than double the increase in median yearly pay (16.1%) versus job stayers who saw 7.6% increases, ADP said earlier this week. Data from the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta and polling from the Pew Research Center also show wider wage growth for people making a switch.

Average hourly earnings for all workers rose to $32.36, a 5.2% year-over-year increase, the August jobs report showed. That’s still shy of the 8.5% rate of inflation in July.

Will the music stop for the labor market?

On the other hand, recession talk keeps rumbling and the Federal Reserve sounds ready to inflict “some pain” in its interest rate-hiking bid to break inflation, which is at a 40-year high.

In fact, the fear of a potential economic slowdown is making 55% of people more likely to start a job search instead of waiting six more months, according to a survey released Thursday from Qualtrics and SAP.

Will the music stop for a labor market that, for now, is tilted towards job seekers? If that happens, how can people best navigate today’s labor landscape?

“In the summer of 2021, I think we were all pretty confident telling you, ‘You know what, you’re going to have an even better opportunity in six months.’ And I think it’s more uncertain,” said Guy Berger, LinkedIn’s principal economist.

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