Why America’s job market right now is just so weird


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Pandemic Ripples

COVID-19 had different impacts on different industries. For example, the technology sector experienced a boom thanks to the rise of stay-at-home orders. Companies like Zoom (ZM) and Peloton (PTON) saw their products become ubiquitous overnight. Comparatively, industries like hospitality, airlines, and food service were decimated as travel screeched to a halt.

This ripple effect is still playing out. Some companies are laying off thousands of workers, while others can’t seem to hire new employees quick enough.

Looking at Layoffs

Recent months have seen sweeping layoffs across the technology sector. Tech giants like Meta (META), Amazon (AMZN), Microsoft (MSFT), and many more have made significant reductions in headcount. These companies grew rapidly during the pandemic, and arguably overhired in an effort to meet demand. US employers cut almost 103,000 jobs in January 2023 alone.

On the other end of the spectrum, companies that were crushed by the pandemic like Boeing (BA) and Chipotle (CMG) are working to ramp up their workforces.

While the cuts may look grim, employers also added a total of 517,000 jobs last month — nearly triple what experts expected — and sent the unemployment rate to a 53-year low.

Looking Forward

A tight job market means you may be in a great position to negotiate a raise.

Asking for increased compensation is reliant on your position, your company, and how your role fits within the economy as a whole. But if your company is hiring rapidly for your role, you are likely in a strong position to ask for more pay. Or if other companies are hiring for roles you could fill, consider conducting a few interviews in order to leverage offers in your negotiations.

Meanwhile, if you were laid off recently, you may feel angry and ashamed. Acknowledge those feelings, and remind yourself that millions of others are navigating this situation. You are not alone. Also, taking action can foster feelings of control and personal agency. Updating your resume, networking, reworking your budget, and engaging in self-care rituals (like exercise) may also be positive steps.

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This article originally appeared on SoFi.com and was syndicated by MediaFeed.org.

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