Job Outlook 2008: Good News, Bad News

The U.S. economy has been looking kind of iffy lately. What’s the job market outlook for 2008? Web workers want to know.

Good news: The U.S. economy continues to grow (albeit slowly). Last Friday, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released the latest job numbers, estimating that around 94,000 jobs were added to the U.S. economy in November. That sounds pretty good until you hear that a year prior, the economy was adding around 168,000 jobs a month.

Bad news: But workers are feeling pessimistic. A monthly survey of worker sentiment in the U.S. shows a downward trend as people increasingly worry about their job security, about employer hiring plans, and about the state of their finances.

Good news: New college grads could face a relatively strong market, as employers project double-digit increases in college hiring for the fifth straight year.

Bad news: Wage increases may hardly beat inflation next year, due to the weakening job market and general economic uncertainty. Doubts about future growth may lead employers to keep a tight rein on labor costs.

Good news: Many companies plan increased recruiting and staffing activities in 2008, according to a survey from JobFox, a web startup that allows you to create an online profile and find jobs that uniquely fit that profile. But the JobFox survey suffers from selection bias, covering only those HR and recruiting professionals interested enough in hiring to actually attend a JobFox seminar.

Bad news: The number of economists predicting recession keeps increasing. Why? The housing bust, related financial market misery, and higher energy prices are putting the kibosh on growth. And that could have painful consequences for the U.S. workforce.

What’s your job outlook for 2008? Are you with the pessimistic workforce? The more optimistic (but penny-pinching) employers? Or the hedging economists (“I see a 50% chance of recession”)?

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