Unemployment Rate Drops to 50-Year Low

Posted by Michelle White on Oct. 8, 2018

We don’t mean to say “we told you so”… but it appears our crystal ball was spot on.

Over a year ago, our very own Andrew Graft predicted that unemployment rates were headed for historic lows in his “Best of 2017” TLNT article “The War for Talent is About to Go Nuclear.” 


And last month, the unemployment rate sank to 3.7% - the lowest it’s been since 1969.

Just to add a little perspective - that’s 1-2% below what the Federal Reserve considers to be the “natural rate” of unemployment. And the last time the general unemployment rate was this low, millions of men had been completely swept out of the labor force by the Vietnam War draft.

“Today, there are more job openings than unemployed people in this country, marking the first time that’s ever happened,” said Steven Rick, CUNA Mutual Group director and chief economist.

Don’t get me wrong, the strong economy has its upsides. But it also brings big-time challenges for employers.

It’s harder than ever to find and hire the right talent.

Employee retention has officially moved to a state of “all hands on deck.”

HR, leadership and management teams are tirelessly poring over solutions to ensure employees are engaged on the job and not sniffing around for other opportunities. Because the jobs are out there.

And according to economists, there is no indication the labor market will weaken in the near future.

So, if you haven’t already, it’s probably a good time to re-visit your plan to attract and retain top talent and add in some necessary reinforcements.

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Graft suggests a few strategies: invest in your employees’ career development, leverage technology and find ways to boost your total compensation package.

Many organizations are doing this through employee perks and benefits. One survey found that roughly one in five workers would leave their job for an organization that offers more nontraditional benefits. On top of that, 92% of full-time workers think companies offering nontraditional benefits are more likely to recruit top-tier talent.

Employee discount programs, tuition reimbursement and flexible work schedules are all popular approaches to investing in employee satisfaction.

For more details on what’s causing the employee drought and how you can stay in the game, be sure to check out Graft’s full TLNT article here.

Michelle White

Written by Michelle White

Michelle White has held a variety of roles with Access over the last 15 years that focus on both member and employee loyalty. She loves books, the piano and peach snow cones.