Job market power is swinging back to employers

Data: Indeed; Chart: Axios Visuals

There are increasing signs that workers’ power — a consequence of the hot COVID-era economy — is leveling off or even eroding in some sectors.

Why it matters: The super-tight labor market has been great for working people but a little too spicy for the Fed’s taste — chair Jerome Powell has cited it as a factor driving inflation. Now there are signs his rate hikes are having the intended cooling-off effect.

What they’re saying: “It’s not that workers have lost power, it’s just that they’re not increasingly gaining it,” says Nick Bunker, economic research director at Indeed.

Details: There are still way more job listings on Indeed than there were before the pandemic started a clear sign of high demand for workers but postings are coming back down from the highs of last year.

  • The tech sector, where we’ve seen the most layoffs over the past month, is notching some noticeable declines. Listings for “software developers” fell about 7% over the past four weeks, Bunker says.
  • The folks at the Layoffs tracker website noted 109 layoff events so far in June, compared to 75 the prior month and just 17 in March.

Fear-factor: You can’t discount the role psychology is playing in the power equation. Employers fearing a recession are pulling back postings, Bloomberg wrote earlier this week. At the same time, workers are starting to worry about job security, as we reported.

And yet: Remember, the unemployment rate is still really low!

What to watch: Whether the quits rate starts to ebb, Bunker says. So far it’s held relatively steady, a sign that workers are still feeling that leverage confident enough to risk a new job.

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