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Job Stability Is Increasing; Fewer Search for Employment

April 16 — The Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Center for Microeconomic Data released its March 2018 SCE Labor Market Survey, which shows a decline in the proportion of individuals who searched for a job. The survey also found that despite expectations for higher expected wage offers (conditional on receiving one) increased, average full-time wage offers declined. The average reservation wage (the lowest wage at which respondents would be willing to accept a new job) increased to its highest level since 2016, and satisfaction with nonwage benefits and promotion opportunities both improved slightly.

For those who have been employed for at least the past four months, 97.4 percent are still employed, compared with 94.7 percent in the November survey. However, rates of transition from one employer to another continues to rise, up to 5.5 percent in the most recent survey from 5.1 percent in the November 2017 survey and 3.8 percent in the July 2017 survey. This is the highest level for this measure since July 2015.

Job searches are down, falling to 18.1 percent, the lowest level since the start of this survey series in March 2014, but the number of people receiving at least one job offers in the past four months decreased, falling to 14.9 percent from 19.4 percent in November. The distribution of the number of offers, conditional on receiving at least one offer, was little changed from the previous survey. For those that do receive an offer, the average full-time wage offer fell from $59,110 at the end of 2017 to $56,167 in the current survey.

Satisfaction with nonwage benefits did rise slightly, up to 67.6 percent from 67.1 previously. Satisfaction with wage compensation at their current jobs also rose from 59.9 percent in November to 63.5 percent. This increase was driven by older (over age 45) and less-educated (no college degree) respondents. Promotion opportunities also improved with 50 percent of those surveyed reporting satisfaction with possibilities for promotion at their current place of employment, up from 47.2 percent in the previous survey. This increase was also most notable among less-educated respondents.

Looking forward, the majority of respondents do not anticipate changing jobs in the next four months, which may be in keeping with the fact that the expectation of receiving at least one job offer in the next four months fell from 24.9 percent in November 2016 to to 19.8 percent currently. This measure was broad-based across all demographics.

If a new job was accepted, respondents are expecting a higher annual salary than then were in November, $52,141 compared to $49,856, respectively. this is higher than the 2017 average, and the increase was most notable for higher-income (household incomes of more than $60,000) respondents.

The lowest wage for which a respondent would accept a new job also rose, from $56,858 in November to $60,274 currently. This increase was most pronounced for older (aged over 45) and male respondents and marks the highest level for this measure since November 2016.

Regarding retirement, those expecting to work beyond age 62 increased from 51.1 percent in November to 52 percent currently, and those expecting to work beyond age 67 rose slightly from 33.3 percent in November to 33.8 percent.

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