Press Release

Labor Market Survey Reveals Greater Job Stability and that Fewer Labor Market Participants Searched for Jobs

April 16, 2018

NEW YORK—The Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Center for Microeconomic Data today released the March 2018 SCE Labor Market Survey, which shows a decline in the proportion of individuals who searched for a job, and in the average full-time offer wage.  Satisfaction with nonwage benefits and promotion opportunities both improved slightly. Regarding expectations, the average expected wage offer (conditional on receiving one) increased while expectations about the likelihood of receiving job offers continued to decline. The average reservation wage—the lowest wage at which respondents would be willing to accept a new job—jumped up, reaching its highest level since November 2016.

Experiences

  • Among those who were employed four months ago, 97.4% were still employed, compared to 94.7% in the November survey. The rate of transitioning to a different employer continued its rise from 3.8% in July 2017, to 5.1% in November 2017, to 5.5% this March, reaching the highest level since July 2015.
  • The proportion of individuals who reported searching for a job in the past four weeks declined from 21.8% in November to 18.1%, the lowest level since the start of the series in March 2014. The decline was broad-based across demographic groups.
  • 14.9% of individuals reported receiving at least one job offer in the past four months, down from 19.4% in November. This is the lowest level of the series since its start in November 2014. The distribution of the number of offers, conditional on receiving at least one offer, was little changed from the previous survey. The average full-time offer wage received in the past four months, on the other hand, declined from $59,110 in the November survey to $56,167.
  • Satisfaction with nonwage benefits at their current jobs increased slightly: 67.6% of the employed respondents reported being satisfied with the nonwage benefits at their jobs, up from 67.1% in November. Satisfaction reported by respondents with wage compensation at their current jobs edged up from 59.9% in November to 63.5%. This increase was driven by older (those aged 45 or more) and lower-educated workers (those without a college degree).  
  • Satisfaction reported by respondents with promotion opportunities at their current jobs also improved: increasing from 47.2% in November to 50.0%. The increase was most notable for lower-educated workers.

Expectations

  • Expectations regarding job transitions over the next four months among those currently employed were largely unchanged, with the average expected likelihood of remaining with the current employer at 86.4%. This was a slight increase from 86.1% in November.
  • The average expected likelihood of receiving at least one job offer in the next four months declined from 24.9% in November 2016, to 22.0% in July 2017, to 19.8%. This decline was broad-based across all demographic groups.
  • Conditional on expecting an offer, the average expected annual salary of job offers in the next four months increased from $49,856 in November to $52,141. This level is slightly higher than the 2017 average. The increase was most notable for higher-income (household income greater than $60,000) respondents.
  • The average reservation wage—the lowest wage respondents would be willing to accept for a new job—jumped up from $56,858 in November to $60,274, reaching the highest level since November 2016. This series had been trending downwards since November 2016. The increase was most pronounced for older (those older than 45 years) and male respondents.
  • The average expected likelihood of working beyond age 62 increased from 51.1% in November to 52.0%, staying close to its lowest reading since the series’ start in March 2014. The average expected likelihood of working beyond age 67 also moved up slightly from 33.3% in November to 33.8%.

Detailed results are available here.

About the SCE Labor Market Survey

The SCE Labor Market Survey, fielded as part of the Survey of Consumer Expectations (SCE), provides information on consumers' experiences and expectations regarding the labor market. Every four months, SCE panelists are asked details about their current (or most recent) job. Respondents are asked about job transitions, and about their job search effort and outcomes (number of job offers and offer wages), over the last four months. The currently employed are also asked about their level of satisfaction with wages, non-wage benefits, and their prospects for advancement at their current job. In addition, the survey elicits respondents’ expectations about job transitions over the next four months. Respondents are asked about the likelihood of receiving at least one job offer over the next four months, the expected number of offers, and the expected wages for these offers. The survey also elicits the respondents’ “reservation wage” and retirement expectations.  

More information about the SCE survey goals, design, and content can be found on the webpage for the Center for Microeconomic Data.

Contact
Betsy Bourassa
(212) 720-6885
betsy.bourassa@ny.frb.org