Friday’s closely watched jobs report is expected to show a slowdown in November, with just 200,000 positions added, according to economists polled by Refinitiv.
But while the recent wave of layoffs hitting the tech sector has dominated news cycles and triggered concerns that a larger reckoning may be on the horizon, labor economists say those concerns are overblown.
“All these announcements that you hear: 10,000 [layoffs] here and 10,000 there, are basically a very, very small fraction of the total employment,” said Daniil Manaenkov, an economic forecaster at the University of Michigan.
Despite a slew of deep cutbacks — primarily at tech companies and other firms that scaled up during the pandemic — and fears that this is the calm before the storm, the broader labor market has barely flinched.
“We’ve just not seen those plans bear out to the degree that we expected,” said Julia Pollak, labor economist at employment marketplace ZipRecruiter. “Companies seem to be preparing an escape route, they’re working on their disaster response plans, but they’re preparing for a downturn that hasn’t happened.”