Recession Gloom Cloaks Hiring Boom, WSJ Finds

The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) published a seemingly surprising finding this week: Amidst pervasive coverage of a forthcoming recession, employers added 517,000 jobs to payrolls in January, with most industries posting gains.

“This number is a black eye for economists that we didn’t do a better job foreseeing this shift in January,” said Lawrence Werther, an economist at Daiwa Capital Markets America as quoted by the article. The latest data shows the labor market continues to be stronger than many thought, he said.

In January’s Hiring Boom Caught Economists by Surprise. Why Forecasts Often Miss the Mark, Reporter Austen Hufford explains that the media’s fixation on layoffs has conditioned economists and the public to discount generally favorable employment conditions. While U.S. employers shed 2.5 million jobs in January, there were 11 million vacant jobs at the end of December, enabling displaced workers to easily find jobs. In addition, the U.S. Labor Department often revises monthly estimates, as new jobs data comes in.

Manufacturing is among the verticals adding jobs, finds the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In January, the industry added 19,000 jobs, despite the challenging economy.

So how to avoid a black eye falling for much-touted forecasts? While it’s always reasonable to listen to gurus, one sure way to keep your operations going is focusing not on macroeconomics but on culture of continuous improvement (CI).

We at QAD Redzone believe that CI is born by pairing Lean production techniques with a mobile app frontline teams use for collaboration, real-time performance monitoring, compliance, reliability, learning, and more.

QAD Redzone can help manufacturers attract, hire, develop, and retain workers amidst continued competitive employment conditions. Here’s how:

  • Displaced technology and other workers will relish the opportunity to embrace the QAD Redzone Connected Workforce Solution and be a part of a successful digital transformation and continuous improvement story at their factory or network of sites.
  • Manufacturing leaders and teams will value the opportunity to unlock the creativity of frontline workforces and notch overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) gains of 14 points and productivity improvements of 29%.
  • Operational experts will enjoy working with customers, coaching teams on how to solve problems on the floor and provide value within 90 days after implementing QAD Redzone.
  • Human resource teams can point to their employers’ strong track record around motivating, engaging, and developing teams, making it easier to hire and retain workers.
  • Frontline workers will appreciate the opportunity to contribute ideas for improving processes, be celebrated for their accomplishments, and develop their skills using the QAD Redzone Learning module. Workers who master skills across functions can position themselves to take on supervisory roles, improving their pay and visibility at their companies.

The WSJ article shines a light on the frequent disconnect between media coverage and conditions on the ground. However, all the coverage on recession gloom may work to manufacturers’ benefit, as they can showcase their companies’ evergreen business models, commitment to digital transformation with QAD Redzone, and ability to deliver outstanding results.

Want to learn more about QAD Redzone and how your factory can boost OEE and productivity in just 90 days? Review compelling ROI metrics and gain a roadmap in the QAD Redzone 2023 Productivity Benchmark Report, which will be released in late February.

Find out how to reduce your staff turnover, overnight!

Discover how plants authentically transformed their level of frontline engagement.

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