Worker holding yellow construction hat

“U.S. Job Openings Fell, Layoffs Rose in January.”

“Layoffs Bad News for MBA Grads.”

“Here’s Your Comprehensive List of 2023 Layoffs.”

If you’re paying attention to the national media, these are the very headlines and sound bites you, and many more Americans, have been hearing.

Are they true?

Yes.

But does it reflect what Lee Group Search is seeing in the industries its serves the most?

No.

“A lot of the layoffs happening in tech are not happening in manufacturing,” said Wes Ashworth, Vice President of Executive Search for Lee Group Search.

What Ashworth is seeing, though, is the disconnect between what people are hearing and reading and reality.

“There are articles on LinkedIn, media headlines and people talking about all these layoffs, that bosses are back in charge, that the job market is shifting dramatically,” Ashworth said. “But the reality is that the shift hasn’t been fully realized in the candidate market, yet, and candidates are still scarce because there are still jobs.”

A lot of them, in fact.

“Manufacturing feels a little more protected than industries like tech,” Ashworth said.

Some reports even indicate that manufacturers are growing, especially U.S.-based operations, upwards of 37% this year.

Why?

Manufacturing is still recovering from COVID shutdowns and supply chain disruptions.

“There’s still a huge need for reshoring efforts,” Ashworth said. “The supply chain is still jacked up from the pandemic and as part of the recovery process we’re still missing a lot of products on our shelves. Where we have seen shelves restocked, what consumers don’t see is the extra effort that’s going in to get us there.”

That’s why you see more jobs in manufacturing.

“Importing is still incredibly difficult,” Ashworth said. “They are still behind, but working hard to catch up. And that takes talent.”

Admittedly, not every manufacturing company is taking the same proactive approach, Ashworth said.

“Some are being extra cautious, hearing the hype about a recession and holding off doing this or that,” Ashworth said. “But there are still plenty of companies that are pushing ahead and hiring and getting that top talent. Companies who aren’t doing that are going to miss out.”

That’s the best advice Ashworth can give both companies and candidates out there right now.

Don’t miss out.

“You have to look at yourself, your business, your market,” Ashworth said. “Now is the very time when you can take ownership and control and get the best jobs, the best talent, because those recession talks are out there and it will scare some people.”

Use that fear to get yourself in the best position.

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