The Federal Reserve’s final Beige Book report of the year shows that while the demand for labor continued to ease in October and the first two weeks of November, some employers around the country are still having difficulty finding workers with the high level of skills they need.
The survey of local businesses in the 12 key banking districts paints a picture of a job market that still favors the job seeker.
Here is the Fed’s summary of the overall findings in the labor market:
“Demand for labor continued to ease, as most Districts reported flat to modest increases in overall employment. The majority of Districts reported that more applicants were available, and several noted that retention improved as well. Reductions in headcounts through layoffs or attrition were reported, and some employers felt comfortable letting go low performers.
“However, several Districts continued to describe labor markets as tight with skilled workers in short supply. Wage growth remained modest to moderate in most Districts, as many described easing in wage pressures and several reported declines in starting wages. Some wage pressures did persist, however, and there were some reports of continued difficulty attracting and retaining high performers and workers with specialized skills.”
Here’s what the report had to say about specific districts:
“Regional businesses overwhelmingly reported that the inability to find workers with the right skills was restraining hiring plans.”
“Some bankers and manufacturers also continued to increase pay to attract and retain skilled workers.”
“Nonprofit contacts noted that while demand for skilled tradespersons remained elevated, barriers to entry persisted for many lower-wage jobseekers. To meet the need for skilled labor and mitigate some of these barriers, one workforce-development contact described a construction apprenticeship program that recently opened an onsite childcare center and provided transportation to the job site. “
“Trucking firms noted that drivers were more readily available but that it remained very difficult to hire skilled mechanics.”
“A staffing firm noted there was still demand for high skilled workers and a slight increase in the candidate pool.”
“Some manufacturers continued to have difficulty finding workers, particularly higher skilled ones. However, there were also signs that the labor market was cooling.”
“Some contacts reported that availability of skilled workers remains a top issue, while others reported a more stable labor force for the first time in a few years.”
“Renewable energy activity in the Tenth District continued to expand at a moderate pace, driven by modest growth in wind generation and robust growth in solar installations. The outlook for renewable energy remained positive, but contacts noted skilled labor shortages and limitations on interregional electricity transmission as challenges.”
You can read the full report here: The Beige Book