Fully remote work is on the decline in the U.S.


 According to recent polling data from Morning Consult, there has been a decline in the number of workers primarily working from home. Although more Americans are still working remotely compared to before the pandemic, the percentage of those fully remote has been decreasing. The trend is shifting towards more hybrid work arrangements. Since February, there has been a decreasing trend in the share of workers who never work from home at all, as indicated by the Morning Consult data.  

Corporate well-being initiatives are becoming increasingly prevalent as employers recognize the significance of employee well-being. However, despite these efforts, individuals' unique well-being needs may not be adequately addressed. Taking proactive steps to enhance personal well-being can be empowering and impactful, not only for individual outcomes but also for overall energy, career, and future prospects.

Many organizations are prioritizing well-being initiatives due to the importance employees place on this aspect. According to a Gympass poll, 96% of candidates consider companies that prioritize employee well-being, and 93% view well-being as equally important as salary. Additionally, 87% of workers would consider leaving a company that neglects well-being.

Although the focus on well-being is commendable, there is room for improvement. Research indicates that a significant portion of employees feel that their workplace's well-being environment is overestimated by their employers. Furthermore, the fear of negative career implications impedes 43% of individuals from seeking well-being support.

Work-related stress is prevalent, with 95% of employees experiencing stress, and 30% reporting extreme or very high stress levels. This stress has profound effects, as evidenced by the 23% who express a desire to leave their jobs, the 20% experiencing reduced productivity, and the 18% feeling ineffective in their roles.

While employers have a responsibility to foster conducive working conditions, individuals hold the ultimate responsibility for their own well-being. It is crucial to think holistically about well-being, considering emotional, cognitive, physical, financial, and social aspects. These elements are interconnected, and improvements in one area can positively impact others.

Moreover, being proactive in addressing well-being is essential. Research shows that proactive individuals tend to thrive in their careers and are more likely to attain leadership roles and higher salaries. Taking ownership of personal well-being involves assessing areas that require improvement and taking proactive steps, such as prioritizing physical health habits and fostering quality connections with others.

In addition to individual efforts, designing the workday with well-being in mind can significantly impact overall well-being. Taking regular breaks, incorporating movement, and nurturing positive social connections at work can enhance mental and emotional health.

Furthermore, it is advisable to maximize available resources, such as employee well-being benefits, time off, and support programs offered by the employer. Communicating feedback to the employer regarding well-being needs and preferences is also important.

Ultimately, while employers should create conducive working conditions, individuals have the power to make choices that contribute to their well-being today and in the future.  

New data shows corporate America’s post-pandemic hiring push is coming to an end. U.S. job openings dropped by 617,000 in October to a 32-month low of 8.73 million, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Tuesday. 

The figure was well below consensus forecasts for 9.4 million job openings, but most economists and Wall Street leaders don’t seem worried. In fact, quite the opposite. “This report should bring abundant holiday cheer,” Indeed Hiring Lab’s director of economic research, Nick Bunker, said of the job openings data. 

Bunker and many of his economist peers are optimistic amid the cooling labor market because labor market cooling is exactly the Federal Reserve’s goal in its battle with inflation. Ever since the central bank’s officials began raising interest rates to fight rising consumer prices in March 2022, they’ve warned they would need to slow the labor market.

More specifically, this year, with inflation fading steadily, the Fed has pointed to the elevated ratio of job openings to unemployed workers as a sign of an overheated labor market that must be chilled with interest rate hikes. But in October, the job openings to unemployed workers ratio fell to just 1.3 to 1, down from 2 to 1 just a few months ago.

Now many experts believe the Fed can end its interest rate hiking campaign. “The Federal Reserve could well be finished raising interest rates this cycle,” Mark Hamrick, senior economic analyst at Bankrate, said Tuesday, noting that despite Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s hawkish tone in recent speeches, “many investors and other observers believe the beginning of easing, or rate cuts, could come in 2024.”

In a sign the bond market is expecting the Fed to pivot to interest rate cuts next year, the 10-year Treasury yield fell to just 4.18% Tuesday, its lowest level since early September. That’s great news for businesses and consumers, which have struggled with rising borrowing costs for years. And it could even be a sign that a “soft landing”—when inflation fades without a subsequent recession—is on the way.

The latest job openings data has given ammunition to more optimistic forecasters on Wall Street after more than two years of heated debates about the likelihood of a recession. Many experts are now convinced the latest job openings data is a sign that the economy will avoid a recession.

“The probability of a soft landing continues to rise,” Indeed’s Bunker said, noting that although job openings fell in October, corporate hiring and worker quit rates actually remained flat—“a sign that the labor market isn’t falling off a cliff.”

At the same time, although job openings have fallen sharply from their peak of 12 million in March 2022, they were still well above pre-pandemic levels in October at 8.73 million. In January 2020, for instance, there were only roughly 7 million job openings across the U.S. 

There are clear signs the labor market is cooling, however, with the unemployment rate rising from a low of 3.4% in April to 3.9% last month. Bankrate’s Hamrick also said Tuesday that “further cooling in the job market is expected.” But that doesn’t mean a recession is inevitable. “While there’s been talk about an imminent recession going back to early last year [2022], the U.S. economy has remained substantially more resilient than expected,” he said.

Hamrick argued that the latest job openings data indicates the most likely scenario for 2024 is a “soft landing,” but “a mild and short recession can’t totally be ruled out.”

The recent labor market slowdown may be a good sign for the Fed in the near term, but if it continues for too long, a recession could be on the menu. That’s an outcome Citi economists, led by Veronica Clark, said in a Tuesday note that they fear is likely in 2024. Clark predicts the current labor market rebalancing will shift to something far worse as the lagged impact of the Fed’s interest rate hikes hits the economy, arguing job openings will fall sharply next year.

“Labor market metrics will pass ‘soft landing’ levels on their way to ‘hard landing’ ones,” she warned, noting that the recent labor market rebalance evidenced by the job openings data has coincided with rising unemployment.

Clark also cautioned that the job openings data from the BLS is “somewhat ill-defined” in the modern era of online job postings, and should therefore be taken with a grain of salt. “Much lower survey response rates post-pandemic will likely also lead to greater month-to-month volatility in the data,” she added.

Nationwide’s financial market economist Oren Klachkin fears the labor market may continue to weaken in 2024 as well, even if he admitted the latest job openings data was precisely what the Fed was looking for.

Eventually, high-interest rates and tight credit conditions will force businesses to cut their workforces, hindering consumer spending, according to Klachkin. And because consumer spending makes up roughly 70% of U.S. economic growth, 2024 could be a challenging year.

“Some think the economy can avoid a recession, but we continue to envisage that restrictive Fed policy and tight credit will cause a hard landing in 2024,“ Klachkin said.

Consumers seem to be on the side of the bears, too. The Conference Board’s latest Consumer Confidence Report showed that although recession fears have dipped, roughly two-thirds of consumers still believe a recession is either “somewhat” or “very likely” to occur over the next 12 months.

The European Union is facing the prospect of a coffee shortage in 2025 as the market grapples with a lack of clarity around the implementation of deforestation regulations, according to the International Coffee Organization.

The EU agreed late last year to set mandatory rules for companies selling a raft of commodities including coffee, palm oil, and cocoa to ensure products do not come from deforested land. However, ICO Executive Director Vanúsia Nogueira says there are still “many doubts and questions without answers yet.”

The rules entered into force at the end of June and most companies will have until the end of 2024 to comply with the measures, which require sophisticated tracking systems and will be enforced using the threat of fines. Critics say the regulations will penalize millions of smaller farmers from Asia to Africa.

The “EU may not get enough coffee” in 2025 if answers on the implementation of rules aren’t properly provided, Nogueira said on the sidelines of a conference in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. “The new deforestation regulations are our biggest priority and a major challenge for next year.”

Nogueira says coffee producers in Africa and Central America could be most vulnerable to the deforestation regulations, with Europe accounting for as much as 80% of total shipments for some. The EU is the world’s biggest importer of beans, according to the US Department of Agriculture.

For companies seeking to send commodities to the EU, they must show that the products weren’t produced on land that was deforested or degraded since Dec. 31, 2020. Importers must collect data identifying the plots of land where commodities are grown, which will be checked off against historical land-use information.

The Indonesian Palm Oil Association said last month that the regulations were contributing to increased uncertainty in the market, while Vietnamese coffee exporter Simexco Dak Lak this week said the rules “are not clear at all.”

“We don’t know what type of map the EU will use,” said Le Duc Huy, general director of Simexco, Vietnam’s third-largest exporter. “We heard about geo-location requirements but we don’t know how to make declarations, how to do the traceability, and how they will check against our data.”

Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post