Job gains may continue over the coming months, but job losses may be on the horizon, data from The Conference Board Employment Trends Index suggests.

“The Employment Trends Index ticked down in August and has been on an overall declining trend since March 2022,” Selcuk Eren, senior economist at The Conference Board, said in a press statement. “The index is still elevated, so job gains may continue over the coming months, but the rate of growth may lessen and eventually will switch to job losses.”

Some industries are already shedding jobs, including information services, transportation, and warehousing, Eren noted. Temp jobs have also fallen.

“The number of employees working in temporary help services, an important early indicator for hiring in other industries, has declined steadily since it peaked in March 2022,” he said. “While still elevated compared to pre-pandemic levels, job openings — an indicator of opportunities available to workers — are declining rapidly.”

The Conference Board Employment Trends Index declined in August to a reading of 113.02 from a downwardly revised 114.71 in July.

Still, despite softening in the labor market, wage growth remains elevated compared to pre-pandemic levels and continues to stoke concerns about contributing to underlying consumer inflation, Eren said.

“Consequently, the Federal Reserve may raise interest rates at least one more time before the end of 2023. We expect the Fed’s monetary policy tightening will trigger job losses in early 2024 and increase the unemployment rate,” he said.

August’s decrease in the Employment Trends Index was driven by negative contributions from six of its eight components. The percentage of respondents who said they find “jobs hard to get” was the largest negative contributor, followed by the ratio of involuntarily part-time to all part-time workers, the percentage of firms with positions not able to fill right now, the number of employees hired by the temporary-help industry, initial claims for unemployment insurance, and real manufacturing and trade sales.

The Employment Trends Index aggregates eight leading indicators of employment; when the index increases, employment is likely to grow as well, and vice versa.

Only 13% of employees say they have received training in AI despite more than half, 53%, saying it will impact their industries and jobs and 33% saying they already use AI in their daily roles, according to a global survey by Randstad nv.

Workers in India led the way with 56% saying they already use AI in their roles. In the US, 29% said they already use AI.

Workers in India were also the most likely to say AI will impact their industry and role with 70% believing this to be the case. In the US, it was 51%.

“It is clear that more employers are seeking talent with AI skills — our own analysis of job ads shows a 2,000% uptick since Q1,” Randstad CEO Sander van ‘t Noordende said in a press release. “AI is increasingly an enabler and enhancer of skills, holding a profound impact on productivity and overall performance in the workplace. But the imbalance between skills demanded by businesses and desired by employees, on the one hand, and the training opportunities provided, on the other, has to be addressed.”

Randstad’s survey did find that 22% of employees would like to receive training in AI in the next 12 months.

“AI is here to stay, and the benefits of it are very clear — our data shows that employees stand ready to embrace it for their own gain too,” van ‘t Noordende said. “Successful organizations will be those that leverage this readiness and harness the opportunities of AI in their workforce.”

Randstad’s survey included responses from more than 7,000 employees worldwide. 

Temporary staffing hours worked in the US fell 10% year over year in the week ended Aug. 26, according to the latest SIA | Bullhorn Staffing Indicator report. Commercial staffing hours fell by 11% year over year, while professional staffing hours declined by 9%.

Since the start of 2023, hours worked in commercial occupations fell by an average of 11% year over year. Hours worked in professional occupations fell by an average of 7%.

Bullhorn Indicator chart data

Read the full SIA | Bullhorn Staffing Indicator

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