June 18, 2024

Many employers are still struggling to find available workers, but the labor market is loosening. At the same time, companies are balancing cost concerns — especially as interest rates remain elevated — with the need to entice employees.

Overall, labor market churn has decreased. The share of employees quitting their jobs has trended down for 18 months, and the rate of layoffs has stayed relatively low.

“We are committed and continue to hire,” Karen S. Lynch, the president and chief executive of CVS Health, said this week in an earnings call. “It’s a tight labor market, but we’ve been having very good success in hiring.”

Demand remains high for skilled workers.

“The competition for talent, especially the best talent, remains very, very strong,” said David Solomon, the chief executive of Goldman Sachs, during its latest earnings call. He added that during a recent search at the bank, which has gone through multiple rounds of layoffs this year, the company had received 260,000 applications for 2,600 available positions.

Companies are also increasingly vigilant of their labor and wage expenses.

During S&P Global’s recent call with investors and analysts, the company’s chief financial officer, Ewout Steenbergen, said it expected margins to improve starting next quarter thanks in part to “tight management of head count and other expenses.”

For Meta, which has ended a hiring freeze, a significant amount of hiring planned for 2023 will now happen in 2024, said Susan Li, the company’s chief financial officer.

And during the latest earnings call for Southwest Airlines, Tammy Romo, the carrier’s chief financial officer, said it was expecting “increased headwinds” in 2024, largely because of higher labor costs.

Amid worries that the labor tightness is increasing skill mismatches, many companies are beefing up their artificial intelligence abilities.

“We want to make sure that we harness that opportunity and make the right level of investments in A.I.,” said Gary Swidler, chief financial officer of Match Group, the online dating company that owns Tinder, Hinge and other services, during its most recent earnings call. “We’re still trying to calibrate what that means in terms of hiring.”