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U.S. Job Reports Reveal Positive Outlook for Coworking Operators

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The global economic and employment outlook has seen historic disruption in the past 2+ years of workforce transformation brought about by the pandemic.

The labor market continued to be one bright spot in an otherwise murky larger picture, with 2022 going down in history as the second-best year for job development on record (the first being 2021, when hiring to backfill positions affected by shutdowns ramped up dramatically). 

Tracking the monthly jobs reports shared by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has become something of a national pastime, with major news outlets reporting the numbers like box scores. In December 2022, 223,000 jobs were added to the U.S. labor market, for a total of 4.5 million new jobs created in the past 12 months (there were 6.7 million added in 2021).

But what does that mean, especially amidst the constant barrage of information regarding high-profile layoffs, rising inflation rates, and growing recession fears? And, how can the flexible workplace industry play a role in helping companies navigate these uncharted waters in talent attraction and retention as well as in overall employee engagement?

Employment’s cooling off period

With all of the jobs lost during the pandemic now regained — plus more than a million additional roles created — the labor market has remained one of the most resilient aspects of today’s complicated economic perspective. When looking at continued job growth along with record low unemployment rates, rising wages, and an increasingly active labor force, the continuously strong pace of job creation should represent positive news for the economic and employment outlook. 

However, the situation is, of course, more nuanced than it appears. The October, November, and December jobs reports revealed one consistent throughline: a steady cooling off from the frenetic pace of hiring in 2021 and early 2022.

This is a good development for the economy as the Federal Reserve seeks increased participation from job seekers, better alignment between open positions and available workers, and reduced levels of wage growth in order to bring down interest rates. In other words: more available workers leads to more filled jobs and more competitive wages resulting in lower costs for consumers.

The Q4 jobs reports had a lot for the Fed to like: slower-but-still-solid job growth and improved labor force participation — the number of active workers and job seekers — which inched up to 62.3% from 62.2% in November. These aspects come together to create a more stable environment for employers and employees after the upheaval created in the Great Resignation, in which workers left jobs in record numbers, only to often sit on the sidelines waiting for their next opportunity to come along. 

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Forward-thinking employers are considering how to win today’s talent wars by keeping their current and prospective employees engaged, productive, and, perhaps most importantly, loyal. 

Embracing different ways of working in a remote/hybrid world

Studies have shown that adaptability is the #1 benefit that matters most to motivate employees today. The employers that feature freedom and flexibility as part of their organizational blueprint will keep their teams intact, leading to better productivity, enhanced innovation, and a competitive advantage. 

However, in the current U.S. job market, many employers are shortsightedly shifting away from remote-work arrangements. In an analysis of more than 60 million LinkedIn job postings since January 2021, researchers found that mentions for remote jobs peaked in March 2022, with more than 20% of all listings presenting the highly desirable benefit. That surge slumped in November 2022, with 14% of postings targeting remote applicants.

How do companies bridge the divide between wanting their employees to come together in person vs. the employee demand for more freedom and flexibility in their day-to-day? Both in-office and remote work have proven to be essential for fostering a healthy company culture and successful employee collaboration.

When dissecting the global economic and employment outlook for the future of work, it’s helpful to include the myriad advantages for employers to provide flexible workspaces that meet the requirements of an evolving workforce as a driving force for keeping employees engaged and the economy robust.

Flex is the future

The ways in which we work will never be the same. These momentous developments will continue to disrupt the global economy and employment outlook in 2023 and beyond.

Coworking industry professionals are at the forefront of this revolution, helping our clients design and deliver workplace solutions that help enterprises survive and thrive during these tumultuous and transformational times. 

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About Author

Michele Penaranda is responsible for the strategic growth and management of Preferred Office Network (PON), Carr Companies’ brokerage arm and brand that comprises of over 700 affiliated coworking locations that aim to provide flexible workspace solutions to corporate clients. Michele started her career with the company at Carr Workplaces in 2012 and has since held multiple roles in operations and program management – as well as having a focus in technology. In 2019, she took on her current leadership role as VP of Strategy, in which she aims to bring in new opportunities and foster the expansion of the products and benefits that are housed by PON.

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